Joan Luby, MD
Early Emotional Development Program Director
Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry
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Dr. Luby is the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry at Washington University. She is founder and director of the Washington University School of Medicine Early Emotional Development Program, which focuses on the study and treatment of mood disorders in preschool-aged children. Dr. Luby’s clinical work and research also focuses on the emotional development of young children and how deviations in this trajectory relate to risk for early onset mood disorders and predict their longitudinal course. Dr. Luby and colleagues have conducted the first large-scale empirical studies to establish the criteria for identifying and validating the characteristics of depression in preschoolers. Dr. Luby and colleagues are currently investigating the role of experience and more specifically early relationships on brain development and risk for mood disorders as well as the effects of early onset depression on brain change. Related to this, early psychotherapeutic intervention that focuses on the parent child relationship in the hopes of changing the trajectory of this early onset disorder is a key aim of the program. Dr. Luby earned her medical degree from Wayne State University and completed her residency in psychiatry and fellowship in child psychiatry at Stanford University. She was honored with NARSAD’s Gerald L. Klerman Award for Outstanding Clinical Research in 2004 and the Washington University Faculty Achievement Award in 2015. She serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Psychiatry and The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Director of Neuroscience
Deanna Barch, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry
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Dr. Barch is a clinical scientist whose research focuses on understanding normative patterns cognitive function and brain connectivity and the mechanisms that give rise to the challenges in behavior and cognition found in illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, utilizing psychological, neuroimaging and computational approaches. She is Chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University and has been at the University since 1998. She is also a Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology. She was the inaugural Dean of Faculty Development for the School of Arts and Sciences. She is Deputy Editor at Biological Psychiatry e. She is also the incoming President-elect of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Barch is on the scientific boards of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the One Mind Foundation, and the Stanley Foundation and a member of the NIMH Research Diagnostic Criteria Committee. Dr. Barch was on the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychological Science and the Scientific Council of the NIMH. She is a Fellow of both the Association for Psychological Science and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a member of the Society for Experimental Psychology. She serves on a number of national society committees, including the Women’s Task Force for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Instructor in Psychiatry
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Dr. Donohue (Meghan Rose) is a clinical psychologist and Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry. She completed her undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Georgia State University and her clinical internship/residency at Northwestern University (Lurie Children’s Hospital). Dr. Donohue’s research focuses on the development of moral emotions (empathy, guilt) and prosocial behaviors in early childhood, and how disruptions in these emotions and behaviors contribute to the development of psychopathology. She uses in vivo observational paradigms, parent-child interactions and EEG/ERP techniques in her research.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
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Kirsten Gilbert is a licensed clinical psychologist. She completed her undergraduate at Stanford University, her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Yale University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Gilbert’s research examines how ‘too much self-control,’ in the form of heightened performance monitoring and ‘overcontrol’ develop in young children. She is interested in understanding when overcontrol may be adaptive or may contribute to psychopathology, (e.g., anxiety) in young children and adolescents. Kirsten also studies the development of reward processing/positive emotional functioning in young children exhibiting overcontrolled tendencies. Kirsten uses behavioral, EEG/ERP techniques, and parent-child observational data in her research.
Instructor in Psychiatry
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Laura Hennefield is an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her Ph.D. in Psychology at Washington University in St Louis in 2015. Dr. Hennefield’s research focuses on knowledge acquisition in preschool-aged children, with an emphasis on social and cognitive constraints that affect the learning process. Her current projects focus on the development of optimism in preschoolers, including how optimism affects how children learn from and about the world around them, and how a lack of optimism may contribute to psychopathology in early childhood.
Instructor in Psychiatry
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Dr. Hoyniak is a clinical psychologist and Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her Ph.D. at Indiana University and her clinical internship/residency at Western Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Hoyniak’s research focuses on the development of sleep problems in early childhood, exploring how early sleep problems contribute to later risk for both internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. She uses a combination of psychophysiological (e.g., actigraphy, EEG/ERP) and observational (both in-lab and in-home) data collection in her research.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Sylvester is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine. He completed M.D. and Ph.D. (neuroscience) degrees in 2009, a general residency in psychiatry in 2012, and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry in 2014, all at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Sylvester uses computer games and neuroimaging to study attention in youth with anxiety disorders.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
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Dr. Vogel is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine. She completed both her M.D. and Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience in 2013 at Washington University School of Medicine. She then completed a general psychiatry residency in 2016 and a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship in 2018, also both at Washington University School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Vogel studies the development of emotion dysregulation, reward, and how these influence clinical outcomes using behavioral and neuroimaging methods.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
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Dr. Whalen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014 and a T32 Postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University under the mentorship of Drs. Joan Luby and Deanna Barch. Dr. Whalen’s research broadly examines the complex relationships between physical and mental health in young children. Specifically, she is interested in identifying factors that contribute to the cooccurrence of mental and physical health problems in young children. She utilizes ecological momentary assessment, actigraphy, and ERPs in her work.
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Uchechukwu is a recent graduate of Harris-Stowe State University, where they earned their B.S. in Biology. As an undergraduate, through BP ENDURE, they worked in Dr. Rogers’ WUNDER lab. They also work with children teaching after-school STEM enrichment programs. In the EEDP, Uchechukwu will be assisting with NOA, Big Doors conducting recruitment and EEGs.
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Christina recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned her B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology with minors in Music and Biology. As an undergraduate, she has worked as a research assistant on several studies in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Emergency Department and Dr. English’s Emotion and Relationships Lab. In the EEDP, she will be assisting with the STARK study and Peer Experiences in Puberty study, conducting clinical interviews.
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Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A in psychology in 2017. She works in Dr. Deanna Barch’s labs: EEDP and Cognitive Control and Psychopathology. She had a stroke with aphasia. In addition to her interest in stroke recovery, Laura has a longtime interest in children with autism.
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Sarah Engle was born and raised here in St. Louis. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Truman State University and is currently working towards her Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from UMSL. With many years of experience working with children with emotional dysregulation and other special needs, Sarah has a passion for helping children develop and express their emotions in a healthy way. In the EEDP, Sarah does EEGs and assessments with children who are involved in the ‘Early Development of Overcontrol (eDOC)’ and ‘Mood, Emotion, and Stress in Youth’ studies. Sarah hopes to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and do parent-child interaction therapy, play therapy, or preventative/intervention work with children and adolescents who are at risk for substance abuse.
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Ethan joined the EEDP team after completing his Master of Arts degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Specializing in children’s cognitive development and learning, he is interested in working with kids to further the behavioral sciences and spread enthusiasm for STEM research in general. Prior experience has had him conducting research with children in schools, museums, and academic psychology labs. Currently, Ethan handles EEG administration and helping to coordinate and manage data collection and processing.
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Berklea grew up in St. Louis before graduating from Indiana University with a BA in Theatre, with minors in Dance and Psychology. After moving to New York City and performing in many professional musical theatre productions over several years, Berklea completed her Master of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health from King’s College London, while simultaneously performing in the ensemble and as a “Princess Anna” understudy on the tour of “Frozen the Musical”. She is excited to be returning home to St. Louis to work with the EEDP and explore her passion for psychology. In the EEDP, she will assist with the Sleep Study as well as the ‘Neurodevelopment of Overcontrol and Anxiety’ (NOA) study.
Clinical Research Supervisor
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Mary graduated from the University of Iowa and was a Research Assistant for Marsha Rosner, PhD. at The University of Chicago Ben May Institute for Cancer Research. She then was a Research Biologist for Monsanto/Searle and later with Baxter and Abbot Laboratories where projects focused on both basic and product-oriented research in Immunology and Infectious Disease. Mary is an avid runner, mother of five and has her Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society/Maryville University. She taught Montessori preschool and kindergarten and also adults in an accredited teacher education program (UMSL, Webster University). Currently, Mary is working on eLABE studies with infants and toddlers conducting developmental assessments, fMRIS, EEGs, and eye tracking.
Clinical Research Coordinator
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Jennifer graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) with a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Biological Sciences and Chemistry. While at Mizzou, she worked in the Family and Child Development Lab by assisting with EEG scans and participating in the strange situation procedure. Jennifer also has experience working in the Solution-Focused Emotion & Behavior Assessment Lab where she conducted child observations. In the EEDP, she will be assisting with Dr. Sylvester’s Anxiety study by conducting eye tracking games and MRIs.
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Katie joined the EEDP upon returning home to St. Louis after graduating from Penn State University in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in French. While there, she was a part of the Newman Lab for Anxiety and Depression Research working on various studies relating to social anxiety, mood disorders, and an online therapy program. In the EEDP, she will be working on recruitment, scheduling, and conducting EEGs on the NOA study and the PED-SI study.
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Morgan recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2021, where she earned her B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences and her B.A. in Anthropology: Global Health and the Environment. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in several labs including Dr. White’s Developmental Neuropsychology Lab and more recently Dr. Thompson’s Emotion and Mental Health Lab. In the EEDP, Morgan will be assisting with the MESY study, where she will help coordinate the Effortless Assessment of Risk States (EARS) component of the study. She will also be conducting EEGs and fMRIs.
Post Doctoral Research Scholar
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Max Herzberg is a post-doctoral research scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and is co-mentored by Joan Luby, M.D., and Deanna Barch, Ph.D. He completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at Grinnell College and received a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Herzberg’s research is focused on the neural mediators of the relationship between early adversity and the development of psychopathology during two developmental periods of rapid change: infancy and adolescence. Max uses structural and functional MRI, stress physiology, and behavioral data in his research.
Senior Statistical Data Analyst
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Jenny received a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Missouri – Rolla in 2004. She has worked in the Washington University psychiatry department as a statistical data analyst since 2009. She is responsible for database management in the EEDP.
Senior Data Control Coordinator
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Danielle Kelly received a B.A. in Psychology from University of Missouri – St. Louis. She currently conducts EEGs and MRIs with preschoolers for the PCIT-ED study. Danielle also works in Deanna Barch’s lab doing recruitment and data entry for adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She has prior experience working at UMSL’s Center for Trauma Recovery.
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Emmet recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned his B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences with a double major in Classics. As an undergraduate, he worked in the Emotion and Relationships Lab under Dr. Tammy English, studying emotion regulation and cognition in younger and older adults as well as in romantic couples. He conducted his Honors Thesis on the relationship between emotion regulation strategy use and depressive symptoms in adolescents. In the EEDP, Emmet will work on the eLABE Sleep Study, Affiliative Tenor Coding, and the sLePT/Sleep and Brain Study.
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Elena grew up in Beijing, China before coming to Wisconsin for high school. She graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A in psychology and a concentration in neuroscience in 2023. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant at Dr. Ann Ellis’s lab at Grinnell College and as a summer research intern at Dr. Kathryn Humphreys’ Stress and Early Adversity Lab at Vanderbilt University. In the EEDP, Elena will be working on participant scheduling, administering interviews, and conducting MRIs on the SLEEP study and the NeuCORE studies.
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Melinda graduated from Valparaiso University with a B.S. in biology and chemistry and from Washington University with a Masters in Social Work. Melinda has worked as a therapist with children and families in a variety of settings including a family preservation model, foster care and at an adolescent group home. She has also worked as a parent educator for Parents as Teachers and as an early childhood educator. In the EEDP, Melinda administers parent interviews for the Neurodevelopment of Over Control and Anxiety (NOA) and PED-SI studies.
Post Doctoral Research Scholar
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Dr. Luking is a post-doctoral research scholar working under the co-mentorship of Joan Luby, M.D. and Deanna Barch, Ph.D. She completed a B.S. in psychobiology and financial economics at Centre College in 2008 and her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Washington University in 2015. Dr. Luking’s research focuses on understanding neural and behavioral mechanisms of risk for affective disorders with a particular focus on how these vulnerabilities emerge or change with puberty and differ between females and males. She uses behavioral, fMRI, and EEG/ERP techniques in her research.
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Caroline graduated from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2022, where she earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, she worked in the Social Minds Lab under Dr. Felix Warneken, studying the development of cognition, reward processing, and altruism in adolescents. She completed her honors thesis on the development of ritual learning in adolescents. In the EEDP, Caroline will work on the Development of Reward study (Big Doors), conducting EEGs and recruitment.
PCIT-ED Trainer and Therapist, Senior Research Clinical Coordinator
Jennifer is responsible for the training and supervision of all PCIT-ED therapists. She also functions as a therapist for families participating in the Parent Child Interaction Therapy – Emotion Development Study. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned a Master’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to her work at the Early Emotional Development Program she worked for an agency providing mental health services for homeless women with children. She has also worked with adults in a private practice setting. Jennifer joined the EEDP in October of 2004 and has enjoyed many roles since that time including a parent interviewer for Dr. Luby’s longitudinal study of preschool depression, co-author of the PCIT-ED manual, and a coordinator and therapist for an earlier phase of PCIT-ED.
Clinical Research Coordinator
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Teresa graduated from Fontbonne University, earning a B.A. in Human Services with a minor in Sociology. As an undergraduate, she worked on Dr. Luby’s Preschool Depression Study. She then worked as a Parent As Teachers parent educator and focused on crisis intervention with immigrant and refugee families for the Head Start program. Since rejoining the EEDP she works on the Families First study and the MESY study, administering interviews and assisting with EEGs.
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Katherine Pope is a Licensed Professional Counselor and earned her Master’s Degree from The University of Missouri – St. Louis. At the EEDP, she currently works on the continuation of the PCIT-ED Therapy study and the Early Development of Over-Control Study. She also is a volunteer group therapist for grief programs in the St. Louis area and has worked with families in pediatric hospice in the past.
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Mary Grace is a therapist for families participating in the Parent Child Interaction Therapy – Emotion Development Study. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned a Master’s degree in Counseling and Family Therapy from Saint Louis University. Mary Grace has over 8 years of clinical experience working with children and families in both a research and private practice setting. Her previous research experience includes substance abuse and its prevalence in families. Mary Grace joined the EEDP in February 2008 and has served many roles, including study coordinator for the Preschool Depression Study and as a therapist in earlier phases of PCIT-ED. She also collaborated with Dr. Luby and colleagues in the development of the Parent Child Interaction Therapy-Emotion Development treatment.
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
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Rebecca Schwarzlose is a cognitive neuroscientist at the Washington University School of Medicine. She received a BA in Psychology from Northwestern University and a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT. Since graduation, she has served as the editor of Trends in Cognitive Sciences, written a trade book called Brainscapes about neural organization, and carried out postdoctoral research on topics related to mental health and child development. Her current research investigates the neural bases for atypical sensory processing and prediction in childhood and their relations to psychopathology.
Clinical Research Coordinator
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Maddie graduated from Missouri State University, earning a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a focus in Vocal Music. In addition, she earned an Instrumental Music Certification. She then spent 6 years as an elementary school music educator working with children in Kindergarten through 5th grade and served as the choral music director for 6th grade students. Maddie then began working for WashU in the Department of Oncology before transferring to the EEDP where she uses her experience in education to assist with clinical research involving children. She works on the NOA team under Kirsten Gilbert, where she also coordinates for other pilot studies and projects.
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Jaime Stephenson graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2019, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Education and Child, Youth, and Family Studies. Jaime is currently working toward her Master of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Webster University. She has worked with children and parents in a variety of contexts and is passionate about helping them develop a sense of well-being through acceptance, mindfulness, and psychoeducation. In the EEDP, Jaime will be conducting parent and child assessments for several studies, as well as sleep assessments.
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Julia graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Olivet Nazarene University in 2019 before completing a Master of Social Work with a focus in Mental Health from Washington University in St. Louis in 2020. During her graduate work, Julia completed a practicum at St. Louis Play Therapy Institute and was a Research Assistant for the Center for Mental Health Services Research. Julia has experience in clinical work with children and families effected by serious mental illness, trauma, and adverse life events. At the EEDP, Julia works on the THRIVE project with Dr. Luby and NOA project with Dr. Gilbert. During her free time, Julia can be found with family and friends at a park, getting coffee, or catching up on the latest book club read!
Senior Statistical Data Analyst
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Becky received a Masters degree in statistics from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign in 2002. She has worked in the Washington University psychiatry department as a statistical data analyst since 2002. She is responsible for data management and statistical analysis for several of the research studies being conducted in the EEDP.