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Developmental Psychopathology Lab



In our lab, we examine the social-cognitive basis of psychiatric disorders in youth, with a special focus on personality pathology and disorders of attachment. Our research falls most clearly under the domain of “social systems and processes” in the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative and focus on constructs such as understanding others, understanding self, and attachment. We work in Houston and in South Africa. Our research also includes a translational focus as we work towards the development of constructs and measures at multiple levels of analyses to facilitate the early identification and treatment of personality pathology and other problems related to attachment disruption. We use a variety of methods in our research, including behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging and survey methods. Our overall goal is to help strengthen relationships, thereby strengthening communities.

The lab is run by Dr. Carla Sharp. Funding sources have included the NICHD, NIMH, NIAAA, the NIH Centers for AIDS Research, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NARSAD, the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, the American Psychoanalytic Association, UH Small Grants Program, UH GEAR program, and the McNair Family Foundation.

Lab News

    • March 2020: Congratulations to Madeleine Allman, who will be joining our lab in the fall as a first-year graduate student!
    • February 2020: Congratulations to Francesca, who matched for internship at University of Mississippi Medical Center!
    • February 2020: Eric successfully proposed his Master's thesis!
    • January 2020: Congratulations to Kiana, who was nominated as Social Media/Relations Chair to the student Section Committee of the ISSPD.
    • November 2019: Ronnie successfully proposed her Master's thesis!
    • October 2019: Eric's poster, entitled "The Effect of Ethnic Minority Status in the Relationship between Borderline Personality Features, Thwarted Belongingness, and Suicidal Ideation" was awarded Best Poster at the the ISSPD 2019 Congress!
    • November 2019: Congratulations to Dr. Sharp who received the 2018 Award for Achievement in the Field of Severe Personality Disorders!
    • October 2019: Francesca successfully proposed her dissertation!
    • September 2019: Congratulations to Kiana for passing comprehensive exams!
    • September 2019: Congratulations to Francesca for passing EPPP and the jurisprudence exam at the doctoral level!
    • June 2019: Congratulations to Kiana who successfully defended her Master's thesis!
    • June 2019: Francesca received an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Routh Research and Dissertation award from the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (APA Division 53).
    • May 2019: Dr. Sharp elected as an Association for Psychological Science Fellow
    • March 2019: Congratulations to Jessica Hernandez and Sophie Kerr who will be joining our lab in the fall as first-year graduate students!
    • February 2019: Dr. Sharp receives Award for Achievement in the Field of Severe Personality Disorders, Personality Disorders Institute and Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center (2018)
    • February 2019: Congratulations to Salome for matching for internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (University of Pittsburgh)!
    • January 2019: Dr. Sharp was featured in the La Vangarida, a Spanish Newspaper based in Spain, to discuss personality disorders.
    • September 2018: Kiana proposed her Master’s thesis!
    • September 2018: Congratulations to Francesca for passing comprehensive exams!
    • August 2018: Francesca was awarded an APA Student Travel Award to present at the 2018 APA Convention in San Francisco!
    • May 2018: Salome was one of the 2018 winners of the Routh Research and Dissertation award from the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (APA Division 53) for her dissertation project.
    • May 2018: Congratulations to Claire, who has received her PhD from the University of Houston!
    • April 2018: Congrats to both Salome and Jake for awards won at this year's North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorder (NASSPD) conference!! Salome was awarded the Gunderson Young Investigator Award and Jake was awarded the best "speed-data" talk award.
    • April 2018: Congratulations to Salome, who received an International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS) from the UH Learning Abroad Office in the amount of $2150 to be used toward her 6-month visiting studentship at University of Ghent in Belgium, starting in June!
    • March 2018: Congrats to Eric Sumlin and Ronnie McLaren who will be continuing on in the lab as graduate students in the 2018-2019 class!
    • February 2018: Congratulations to Claire, who has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan!!
    • December 2017: Congrats to former lab manager, Jasmine Gaw, for her admission to the Masters in Counseling program at UH-Clear Lake! We are all so excited for you and wish you the best of luck!
    • December 2017: Congratulations to undergraduate RA, Jenna Jones, for receiving the Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS) award for the Spring 2018 semester!
    • December 2017: Congrats to Salome for successfully proposing her dissertation!
    • November 2017: Congrats to Salome for her first-place finish at UH’s “Graduate Research and Scholarship Projects (GRaSP) Day” in the Publications category!!
    • October 2017: Congratulations to Salome, who passed both the TSBEP jurisprudence exam and the EPPP!!
    • August 2017: Congratulations to Allison who successfully defended her dissertation and graduated from the program!!
    • August 2017: Congrats to Salome on receiving a pre-doctoral fellowship from the NIMH for her dissertation project, "The Development and Validation of an Observational Coding System for Real-Time Parent-Adolescent Mentalizing"!!
    • May 2017: Congratulations to Will on his graduation!!
    • April 2017: Congratulations to both Will and Claire for successfully defending their dissertations!!
    • April 2017: Congratulations to Kristin for defending her Master’s Thesis!
    • March 2017: Congrats to Kiana and Jake Leavitt who will be joining the lab as graduate students in the 2017-2018 class!
    • February 2017: Congratulations to 4th year student, Claire, who matched successfully for internship with UC Davis!
    • February 2017: Congratulations to Salome for passing comprehensive exams!
    • January 2017: Congratulations to clinical graduate student, Salome Vanwoerden, who has been selected as a recipient of an American Psychological Foundation’s 2016 Division 49 Group Psychotherapy Grant! This award of $1,000 is for her lab’s project entitled “Group-based Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) to Address Problems in Emotion Regulations in Adolescents.”
    • October 2016: Congrats Claire, who passed the TSBEP Jurisprudence exam at the doctoral level.
    • September 2016: Congrats Claire, who passed the EPPP at the doctoral level.
    • September 2016: Congratulations Salome, who was nominated as the Secretary to the ISSPD. 
    • September 2016: Tyson opened a practice, Psychology Houston, PC, with other practicing psychologists in Houston, TX! This practice specializes in cognitive behavioral interventions. Congratulations!
    • August 2016: Congrats Carolyn, who accepted a position at UTHealth.
    • July 2016: Allison and Will began their clinical internships at Yale and MUSC!
    • June 2016: Congrats to Kristin for proposing her Master's thesis.
    • June 2016: Congrats to Salome for defending her Master's thesis.
    • April 2016: Carolyn successfully defended her dissertation entitled The effects of intranasal oxytocin on social cognitive functioning in adolescents with borderline personality disorder compared to a sample of non-clinical adolescents. A wonderful achievement indeed, soon-to-be Dr. Ha!
    • April 2016: Carla was awarded the NASSPD Mid-Career Investigator Award at this year's NASSPD conference!
    • April 2016: Salome was awarded the James Leslie McCary Award at the first annual clinical psychology research showcase at UH, congrats!
    • April 2016: Congratulations to Julia for being awarded the Laurie T. Callicutt Scholarship!
    • March 2016: Congratulations to Tanveer who accepted her offer to attend the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of North Texas!
    • March 2016: A warm welcome to Francesca Penner who will be joining the lab as a member of the 2016-2017 class!
    • March 2016: Tessa accepted her offer to attend Sam Houston State University's clinical psychology doctoral program. Well done, Tessa!
    • February 2016: Congrats to Claire for passing comprehensive exams!
    • February 2016: Congrats to our 4th year students on their fantastic internship matches! Allison is going to Yale and Will is going to Charleston Consortium (MUSC).

Books Co-authored by Dr. Sharp

BPD Handbook
Social Congnition
Midbrain Mutiny