Joan 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.
Andy Belden, PhD
Dr. Belden is an Assistant Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in the Child Psychiatry Division. He received a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Saint Louis University in 2006. From 2006 to 2009 Dr. Belden was a NIMH postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Joan Luby, M.D. Dr. Belden’s research examines atypical neural functioning associated with emotion regulation in healthy versus mood disordered children. More specifically, Dr. Belden is using fMRI to examine neural circuits in brain regions that subserve children’s use of cognitive strategies (e.g., looking on the bright side) while attempting to regulate their experiences and expressions of sadness. Dr. Belden’s research is currently funded by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience (McDCSN). Building upon 5 years of support, collaborations, and mentoring from Dr. Luby and more recently Dr. Barch, Dr. Belden is currently seeking NIMH funding to begin establishing a career as an independent scientist in the field of translational developmental neuroscience with a program of research investigating neurobehavioral development and early onset mood disorders.
Michael Gaffrey, PhD
Dr. Gaffrey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine. In 2009, he completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and joined the EEDP shortly thereafter. Dr. Gaffrey’s research focuses on integrating behavioral, molecular genetics, and neuroimaging methodologies to better understand biological pathways underlying risk and resilience in childhood mood disorders.
Chad M. Sylvester, MD, PhD
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 Whalen PhD
Post Doctoral Research Associate
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.
Becky 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.
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.
Jennifer 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.
Mary Grace Effinger, MA, LPC
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 Rayhawk, MA, LPC
Laura 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 from Saint Louis University with concentrations in Human Development Counseling and School Counseling. Prior to her work at the Early Emotional Development Program she provided therapy to children, adults and families in a private practice setting. Laura joined the EEDP in March 2009 and has served many roles on Dr. Luby’s long-term, mental health follow-up and neuroimaging studies. During earlier phases of PCIT-ED, Laura worked as a co-therapist on the treatment team. She also collaborated with Dr. Luby and colleagues to redevelop the Emotion Development module for the current PCIT-ED treatment.
Caroline received a B.A. in Business from Stephens College. Prior to coming to the EEDP she worked for the State Department of Mental Health as well as in the non-profit sector serving consumers with Developmental Disabilities. In the EEDP she is the recruiter for the PCIT-ED treatment study. Please contact Caroline if you are interested in participating in the PCIT-ED Study.
Kirsten Gilbert, PhD
Post Doctoral Research Associate
Kirsten Gilbert 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 Psychology at Yale University in 2014, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University prior to joining the EEDP lab. Dr. Gilbert’s research examines positive emotion and emotion regulation in relation to the onset and maintenance of mood disorders, specifically the healthy development of positive emotional functioning as well as how positive emotion dysregulation may contribute to psychopathology in young children and adolescents.
Haoxin Sun, PhD
Post Doctoral Research Associate
Haoxin Sun 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 Biomedical Engineering here at Washington University in St. Louis. Her graduate research mainly focused on using fMRI to study the activation as well as interactions of executive control systems of the brain in healthy young adults. Here, she will focus on utilizing ERP data along with fMRI to study cognitive control during emotion regulation.
Beth Heger, 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.
Katherine Pope, M.Ed.
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 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.
Victoria Day, LMSW
Victoria Day graduated with a Master’s of Social Work in 2014 from the University of Missouri; during her undergraduate career, she majored in psychology and minored in sociology and women’s and gender studies. Victoria has had experience advocating for homeless youth, and she has worked with women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Victoria has also provided group, family, and individual therapy for children and adolescents who experience mental illness. At the EEDP, Victoria administers interviews for adolescents and parents in the PDS study.
Samantha Karlow earned a B.A. in Psychology and Dance from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015. She worked as a student in the EEDP during her undergraduate career and was delighted to join the lab full-time directly after graduation. Samantha also has experience in dance therapy. She has worked on dance therapy programs focused on Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Neurofibromatosis Type I. At the EEDP, Samantha coordinates EEGs for the PCIT-ED, PDS, and BBP studies. She also conducts fMRI scans for those three studies.
Shana Sanchez earned a B.A. in Psychology and Children’s Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. While an undergrad, she worked in the Washington University Neonatal and Development Research Lab. Shana also has experience working with children with severe behavioral issues due to a variety of mental illnesses. At the EEDP, she works on the PCIT-ED study, conducting Child Assessment Interviews. She also studies attention in youth with anxiety disorders, by administering computer games and MRI scans.
Claire graduated in 2014 from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Environmental Biology and minors in Psychology and Public Health. She worked at the EEDP as an undergraduate research assistant and was excited to join the staff a year after graduation. Claire conducts child assessments for the PCIT-ED study and assists with ERPs and MRIs. She also coordinates the EEDP’s undergraduate and graduate research assistants.
Grace joined the EEDP after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and minors in Biology and Spanish. She had previously worked in the EEDP as an undergraduate research assistant during her junior and senior years of college. Now, Grace leads the Brain and Behavior in Preschoolers study and assists with EEGs and fMRI scans.
Megan earned her Master’s of Social Work from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. During her undergraduate career at Eastern Illinois University, she completed a B.A. in Psychology and studied nightmares and anxiety traits in school aged children. Megan has experience working with children and adolescents with behavior concerns and mental illness, as well as working with adults diagnosed with chronic and severe mental illness. At the EEDP, Megan assists with the PDS and PCIT-ED studies.
Skylar Swindle earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science at Mississippi State University. She previously worked in cognitive neuroscience research at the Problem Solving and Learning Laboratory. She currently provides crisis intervention services and has experience with youth involved in the juvenile justice system. At the EEDP, Skylar assists with EEGs and fMRI scans for the PCIT-ED and PDS studies.
Becca attended the University of Texas at Arlington where she received a B.A. in Psychology. She recently received her Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL). At UMSL, Becca worked in the Neural Substrates of Language Lab where she conducted research with adults and children using electroencephalography (EEG). She also has prior teaching experience with children of various ages, a lot of which has come from her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. At the EEDP, Becca works on the PCIT – ED study, conducting Child Assessment Interviews and assists with EEGs and fMRI scans.