Joan LubyJoan Luby, MD

Early Emotional Development Program Director
Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry

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.

Chad SylvesterChad M. Sylvester, MD, PhD

Assistant 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.

Diana WhalenDiana Whalen, PhD


Dr. Whalen is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine under the co-mentorship of Joan Luby, M.D., and Deanna Barch, Ph.D. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical-Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. Dr. Whalen’s research focuses on the development and maintenance of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in children and adolescents, specifically the roles of emotion dysregulation and parenting practices.

Kirsten GilbertKirsten Gilbert, PhD


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.

Becky TillmanBecky Tillman, MA

Senior Statistical Data Analyst

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.

Jenny Huang

Senior Statistical Data Analyst

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.


photo-JDP2Jennifer Pautsch, MA, LPC

PCIT-ED Trainer and Therapist

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.

effingeremMary Grace Effinger, MA, LPC

PCIT-ED Therapist

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.

Laura Hennefield, PhD

Post Doctoral Research Scholar

Laura Hennefield is a post doctoral research scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, under the mentorship of Joan Luby, M.D, and co-advised by Lori Markson, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. 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.

Dr. Alecia Vogel-Hammen, MD, PhD

Clinical Instructor and Post-Doctoral Research Scholar

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.

Beth HegerBeth Brunworth, MSW

Research Study Coordinator

Beth received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Beth has experience facilitating individual, group, and family therapy with kids, adolescents, and adults in school, residential, and agency-based settings. She has particularly focused on children and teens undergoing difficult transitions and adults suffering from eating disorders in combination with other mental health diagnoses. Beth also received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently serving as the Clinical Coordinator for the PCIT-ED study. She conducts parent and child assessments and also serves as the Student Coordinator, managing undergraduate and graduate student interns assisting in the EEDP.

Kathy PopeKatherine Pope, M.Ed.

Research Assistant

Kathy completed her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with an emphasis on Family and Couples counseling and also received her B.S. degree from Purdue University. Kathy’s prior experience includes working in pediatric hospice, advocacy work with various area agencies, and working with families affected by domestic violence. Kathy conducts parent interviews for the PCIT study at the EEDP.

Danielle KellyDanielle Kelly

Senior Data Control Coordinator

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.

Jennifer Harper

Research Staff

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.

Qiongru Yu, M.Ed

Research Staff 

Qiongru received a Master’s degree in Quantitative Methods from Vanderbilt University in 2017. While at Vanderbilt, she worked on data analysis for educational and mental health studies in Peabody Research Institute and Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. In the EEDP, she conducts fMRI and data processing for Dr. Sylvester’s Anxiety study.

Gemma Baugh

Research Staff

Gemma graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology with minors in Computer Science and Writing. As an undergraduate, Gemma worked in several psychology labs on the Danforth Campus and also began volunteering for Crisis Text Line, a national support service for people in crisis. She now works in the EEDP as a coordinator for the eDOC study, administers eDOC parent interviews, assists with EEGs and fMRIs in the PDS study, and serves as the student coordinator for the EEDP undergraduate team.

Elizabeth Taaffe

Research Staff

Elizabeth Taaffe graduated from Fontbonne University with a Bachelors in Psychology in 2016. Elizabeth completed an internship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Services Department. Her time at SLCH focused on the therapeutic use of art in helping children cope with long term hospital stays.  Elizabeth has previously worked on research studies involving preschool MRI’s, EEG’s, and infant/ toddler eye tracking. Currently she is working on the eLABE study with infants and toddlers 0-3, conducting developmental assessments as well as MRI scans and eye tracking.

Mary Haman

Research Staff

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.

 Shannon O’Hara

Research Staff

Shannon graduated from Albright College with a B.S. in Molecular Psychobiology and a minor in Evolutionary Studies. During her time as an undergraduate Shannon was involved in research projects spanning a wide range of areas in psychology. In the EEDP she conducts EEGs for the PDS, eDOC, and eLABE studies and eye tracking for the eLABE study as well as assists with MRIs for the PDS study and prosocial tasks for the eLABE study.

ImageTaylor Bardsley, MSW

Research Staff

Taylor Bardsley is a recent graduate of The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, where she obtained her Master of Social Work with a concentration in mental health. She completed her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology at Wheaton College (MA) in 2016. She has experience working with youth in clinical settings and community programs, and enjoys working on initiatives to further positive emotional and social development in children and adolescents.

Cristal Giorio Jackson

Research Staff

Cristal is a Salem College alumna, receiving her Bachelors in Biology, Psychology, and Spanish Literature. While at Salem, she assessed ERNs and cognitive control relating to the topic of multilingualism. Her research interests revolve around topics pertaining to psycholinguistics and developmental cognitive neuroscience, alongside neuroimaging techniques. In the EEDP, she works in Dr. Hennefield’s Optimism lab where she conducts EEGs and assists in lab processing.

Hannah Myers

Research Staff