Sleep and Anxiety
Center for Kids
University of Houston
4505 Cullen Blvd.
Houston, TX 77204
Dr. Alfano is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston (UH). She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2005 and completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Prior to joining the department of psychology at UH, she founded and directed the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Program at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Alfano's research and clinical interests include anxiety and sleep disorders in children and adolescents, the role of inadequate sleep in the development of affective problems and disorders, and behavioral interventions. She has published over 50 empirical papers, articles, books chapters, and books on these topics. Dr. Alfano’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the Department of Defense (DoD). She serves on the scientific council for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the board of directors for the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM), and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Dr. Patriquin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Sleep and Anxiety Center for Kids. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech in May 2013. She completed her pre-doctoral internship in clinical child and pediatric psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research interests focus on the impact of biobehavioral processes on social and emotional development. She is interested in the use of multi-method approaches (e.g., EEG, fMRI, heart rate variability, clinical interview, self-report) for understanding the intersection of physiology and typical/atypical socio-emotional functioning. Ultimately, Dr. Patriquin is interested in the translation of this research to inform interventions that not only improve socio-emotional development, but also improve symptoms of childhood psychopathology.
Cara A. Palmer
Dr. Palmer is a postdoctoral fellow in the SACK lab. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from West Virginia University in Life-Span Developmental Psychology. Her research interests broadly encompass the development of emotion regulation and reactivity, and her previous work has primarily focused on the regulation of positive affect and responses to positive experiences. Her research uses multiple methods (e.g., behavior, heart rate variability, subjective reports) to examine how people regulate their emotions, what predicts maladaptive affective processes, and how emotional experiences and regulatory strategies impact overall well-being and mental health.
Jennifer Cowie is a graduate student in the lab. Prior to joining SACK, she worked for two years as a clinical specialist in the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Ga. Jennifer's research interests broadly include examining the factors contributing to the development of internalizing disorders in children and adolescents, particularly those affecting the course and treatment of anxiety and compulsive disorders. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Smith College in 2009
Michelle is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Following undergrad, Michelle worked at the National Institute of Mental Health studying child anxiety disorders and attention biases. Her research interests focus on treatment development and the role of parenting in child anxiety disorders.
Katie received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Vassar College in 2009 and is currently working toward a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Broadly, her interests include development and treatment of child internalizing disorders, environmental stressors experienced in childhood, and the impact of these factors on sleep and development. More specifically, Katie is interested in the impact of sleep quality on the development and course of child anxiety disorders, especially in children with generalized anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Radhika Reddy is in her fifth year of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. Her current research interests include anxiety disorders, the effects of sleep on affect and emotion regulation, and cross-cultural mental health. Radhika is working on her pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Radhika graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley with B.A.’s in Psychology and South & Southeast Asian Studies.
David Talavera is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. His research interests include examining the effects of sleep quality on the development of internalizing disorders, specifically generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. His broader interests involve developing culturally specific clinical interventions for those suffering from sleep disturbance and co-morbid psychopathology. David graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology.
Jessica Balderas serves as project coordinator for an NIMH-funded study examining the sleep patterns and behaviors of anxious and non-anxious children. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in December 2011 at the University of Houston and plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. She is interested in the course of development and treatment of internalizing disorders, specifically trauma, anxiety, and depression.
Simon Lau serves as projector coordinator for a DoD-funded study examining the impact of military deployment on children and families. He previously served in the U.S. Army under the Joint Special Operations Command deploying multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, earning him numerous awards to include the Bronze Star Medal and Army Commendation Medal (V). Honorably discharged from the Army in 2010, Simon attended and graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2013. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Simon hopes to use his experiences from his military career to help improve military research on post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, depression, and fear.
Cassie received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston in 2012, Magna Cum Laude. At SACK, she assists with a study examining sleep patterns and behaviors in both anxious and non-anxious children, as well as a study evaluating the effect of sleep restriction on emotion regulation in teens. Cassie plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in the near future and is interested in anxiety related to traumatic experiences, specifically sexual trauma and anxiety sensitivity.
Christine Jackson is an undergraduate student at the University of Houston. She will graduate in May with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. At SACK she is involved in a study investigating sleep and emotions in adolescents. Her research interests include examining the contributions of family systems to the development of children's internalizing disorders and post traumatic growth. After graduation she plans to pursue a graduate degree in psychology and to continue working with children.
Sahar received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston in 2013, Cum Laude. At SACK, she assists with the collection of clinical research data and data entry. Sahar will begin her masters degree this fall and plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology soon after completing her masters. She hopes to use her degrees to aid adolescents and adults who struggle with anxiety and depression associated with their cancer diagnoses.