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Current Personnel

Director

Michael Zvolensky, Ph.D.

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Dr. Zvolensky is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Houston and Director of the Research on Emotion, Substance Use Treatment Outcomes, and Racial Equity (RESTORE) Laboratory and Substance Use Treatment Clinic. He has published over 800 peer-reviewed articles and books/book chapters on the co-occurrence of anxiety and stress-related psychopathology with substance use disorders, health behavior problems, and physical illness (e.g., chronic pain). His work is globally aimed at eliminating inequalities in psychopathology, addictive, and other health risk behaviors through translational research. He has utilized a variety of methodological tactics in his research program, including community-based participatory research (CBPR), laboratory studies, epidemiologic-field (cross-national and prospective), Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), and randomized clinical trials. He has been involved in over 70 NIH grants as PI, Co-PI, or co-investigator. His research program has received awards from numerous organizations, including the American Psychological Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Association for Advancement of Cognitive and Behavior Therapy, and Association of Academic Health Centers.

A major contribution of Dr. Zvolensky’s laboratory has been to elucidate why people who experience anxiety/depressive-related vulnerabilities are more prone to substance use disorders; and why people with substance use disorders are more prone to anxiety/depressive-related disturbances. His team has led efforts to develop integrative theoretical models of anxiety-substance use disorder comorbidity that identify (malleable) cognitive-affective mechanisms underlying their association. This work is important for designing targeted assessment batteries that can be used to identify high-risk individuals most in need of (specialized) intervention; elucidating mechanisms underlying anxiety/depressive-substance use disorder comorbidity; and developing 'next generation' treatments for these conditions that target the most etiologically potent facets. Within this context, Dr. Zvolensky’s work collectively falls in three, interrelated streams that deal with (a) transdiagnostic processes underlying emotional disorder-substance use disorder comorbidity; (b) mediating and moderating factors involved in the expression, onset, and maintenance of anxiety/depression psychopathology for groups subject to health inequalities; and (c) theoretically-driven and process-based treatment development work that is community-friendly. (Google Scholar)

 

Co-Directors

Lorra Garey, Ph.D.

Lorra Garey

Dr. Lorra Garey is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston. Her primary research interests focus on elucidating and attenuating health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations by examining the interplay between substance use and psychological vulnerabilities and addressing malleable risk factors, including tobacco use, in the context of transdiagnostic interventions. Within this model, Lorra is particularly interested in the efficacy of brief, personalized feedback interventions to reduce tobacco use, alcohol use, and symptoms related to anxiety and depression among smokers with co-occurring psychopathology and tobacco dependence. (Google Scholar)

 

Brooke Redmond, Ph.D.

Brooke Kauffman

Dr. Brooke Redmond is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston. Her research interests focus on innovative and integrative treatment methodologies aimed at improving health behaviors (e.g., emotional eating, physical inactivity). Specifically, she is interested in transdiagnostic vulnerabilities (e.g., anxiety sensitivity, distress intolerance) that may underlie these problematic health behaviors. (Google Scholar)

 

 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Luke Heggeness, Ph.D.

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Dr. Luke Heggeness is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Houston. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University. Dr. Heggeness' research broadly focuses on mental health difficulties related to substance misuse, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. His research predominantly examines drug and alcohol use, and modifiable transdiagnostic vulnerabilities (e.g., rumination, distress tolerance), within an emotion regulation framework. In particular, Dr. Heggeness aims to elucidate clinically relevant correlates, consequences, and explanatory mechanisms of affect-driven substance use behaviors to help address mental and physical health disparities often observed among underserved populations. (Google Scholar)

 

Laboratory Coordinator

Andre Bizier, B.S.

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Andre Bizier graduated with a B.S. in Psychological Sciences and a minor in English from the College of William & Mary, where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Stress & Emotion Laboratory. His primary research interests include anxiety and executive function. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the near future. (Google scholar)

 

 

 

Pre-Doctoral Graduate Students

 

Angelina Mayorga, M.A.

Angelina Mayorga, B.S.

Ms. Nubia Angelina Mayorga, M.A., is currently in her sixth year as doctoral student within the UH Clinical Psychology program. Ms. Mayorga recieved her B.S. in psychology from the University of Houston with a minor in Spanish in 2017. Her research interests include exploring underlying transdiagnostic factors within the context of mental health, substance use, and physical health among ethnic minority populations, in particular among Latinx individuals. Ms. Mayorga is also interested in improving the integration of culturally tailored treatments among minority populations and examining predictors of treatment outcome. (Google Scholar)

 

Michael F. Orr, M.A.

Michael F. Orr, B.A., B.S.

Mr. Michael Orr is a sixth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. He completed his B.A. in psychology and his B.S. in human physiology at Gonzaga University in 2015. His research interests focus on innovative and integrative treatments methodologies aimed at comorbidity of anxiety, depression and legal(ish) substance such as alcohol, tobacco, opioids, and cannabis.(Google Scholar)

 

 

Justin M. Shepherd, M.S.

Justin M. Shepherd, M.S.

Mr. Justin Shepherd is a sixth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2013 with a B.A. in psychology, received his M.S in clinical psychology from Rivier University in 2015, and completed his M.A. in clinical psychology at the University of Houston in 2019. He has charted a line of work focused on identifying risk and protective factors for addictive behavior in an effort to mitigate health-related disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations. In particular, his work aims to elucidate and target malleable psychological mechanisms, such as pain-related anxiety, that underlie relations between nicotine and tobacco use and mental and physical health outcomes. Mr. Shepherd is the recipient of a pre-doctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (Google Scholar)

Tanya Smit, M.A.

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Ms. Tanya Smit is a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Psychology in 2018, and her M.A. in Psychology in 2020, both at the University of Houston. Her line of research is broadly focused on identifying factors that contribute to substance misuse and dependence (including alcohol, opioids, and tobacco) among chronic pain populations. Within this area, she is particularly interested in addressing health-related disparities among underserved subsets of the chronic pain population. Tanya is the recipient of a pre-doctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (Google Scholar)

 

Brienna Fogle, M.A.

Brienna Fogle

Ms. Brienna (Meffert) Fogle is a fourth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky in May 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology, a B.A. in English, and a minor in Biology. She completed her M.A. in Psychology in May 2023. Her research interests primarily focus on the comorbidity of trauma and substance use. She is also interested in understanding the impact of transdiagnostic risk and maintenance factors on the development and maintenance of co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, and related disorders. (Google Scholar)

 

Pamella Nizio, B.S.

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Ms. Pam Nizio is a second-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Houston with a minor in Human Resource Management. Her research interests focus on transdiagnostic mechanisms relevant to the onset, persistence, and resolution of substance use and mental illness, and the development of integrated treatment methods for addiction and psychopathology that are both highly accessible and use methodology that allows for personalization (e.g., mobile phone-based, computer-based, ecological momentary assessment [EMA]). (Google Scholar)

 

 

Study Coordinators

Bryce Clausen, B.S.

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Bryce Clausen obtained his B.S. in psychology with a minor in Medicine and Society from the University of Houston. He is interested in researching suicidality and the etiology of co-occuring substance use disorders. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the near future. (Google Scholar)

 

 

Ava Jones, B.A.

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Ava graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Global Health. Her research interests include culture-based psychological variables underlying the barriers minority populations experience when attempting to access mental health resources. She is also interested in the role these variables play in anxiety treatment engagement. In the future, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. 

 

 

Cameron Matoska, B.S.

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Cameron graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Statistics. His research interests primarily focus on the relationship between transdiagnostic vulnerabilities such as anxiety sensitivity & discomfort intolerance, and substance use disorders (namely, tobacco and alcohol use disorders). He is also interested in the development of both computerized and mobile interventions aimed at combating tobacco use in adolescents and young adults. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the near future. (Google Scholar)

 

Aniqua Salwa, B.A.

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Aniqua graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Medicine in Society. Her research interests include the effects of trauma and the maintenance and treatment of trauma-related disorders on minority populations. She hopes to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and focus on improving trauma-focused treatment outcomes among trauma-exposed minority populations, specifically those suffering from sexual trauma and interpersonal violence.

 

 

Jessica Thai, B.S.

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Jessica graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Health. She is interested in investigating transdiagnostic vulnerabilities, comorbidities, predictive factors, and maintenance factors of tobacco use. She is also interested in developing accessible and culturally tailored smoking cessation and mental health interventions for individuals with sensory impairments and minority populations. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the future.

 

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Maryam Al-Mallah

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Maryam is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Quantitive Social Science. Her research interests include anxiety disorders and depression. Upon graduation, Maryam plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Bevers

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Lindsay is a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Human Nutrition and Food Sciences. Her research interests include the comorbidity of addictive behaviors, as well as anxiety and depression. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 

Katherine Bonilla

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Katherine Bonilla is a sophomore at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of science in psychology. Her interest includes the effects of anxiety and depression amongst the Latinx population and the effects of weight-related psychological effects within the minority community. After graduation, she plans to pursue a medical degree.

 

 

 

 

 

Cielo Carranza

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Cielo Remiso-Carranza is a Junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of science in psychology.  Her research interests include substance use disorders, depression, autism, ADHD, and PTSD. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate training inCounseling or Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Chavez

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Ashley is currently a student at the University of Houston set to graduate in 2024. After completing her B.A in psychology, she aims to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on forensics to pursue a career in forensic psychology. Her interests are mood and anxiety disorders in minority groups.

 

 

 

 

Chiazam Chibuogwu

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Chiazam is a senior at the University of Houston Pursuing a B.S. in psychology.  Her research interests include anxiety disorders and Mood disorders. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and obtain her PsyD or Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.

 

  

 

 

Linh Dinh

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Linh Dinh is a junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. His research interests include environmental influences on the development of anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological conditions and disorders. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

Briena Dudley

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Briena is currently a senior at the University of Houston majoring in Psychology with a minor in HR Management. Her research interests include anxiety and substance use disorders. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 Ileana Dragoi

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Ileana Dragoi is a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Medicine & Society and Health. Her research interests include the neural basis of human behavior, mood disorders, and treatment outcomes. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 

 

Samma Elhammady

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Samma Elhammady is a Junior at the University of Houston pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her research interests include mood and anxiety disorders.

 

 

Ana García Legorreta

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Ana is currently a student at the University of Houston pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Her research interests include women’s issues, specifically with stress, anxiety, and trauma. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Mental Health Counseling or Social Work.

 

 

 

Catalina Gracia

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Catalina is currently in her senior year at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health. Her research interests include substance abuse treatments for adults, anxiety disorders in minority women, and public health. Upon graduation, Catalina plans to pursue a PsyD in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer LeClair

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Jenny is a student at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology.  Her research interests include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and abnormal psychology. After graduation, she intends to pursue a Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology. 

 

 

 

Abdullah Loya

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Abdullah is a student at Houston Christian University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  After graduation, he intends to attend medical school. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edwin Marquez

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Edwin Marquez is a Junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Medicine and Society. He is interested in researching interventions for individuals with addiction and mental health disorders, with a focus on public health. Upon Graduation, Edwin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie Morales

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Leslie is currently a sophomore student at the University of Houston pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Law, Values and Policy. She plans to obtain a Ph.D in Psychology with a focus in forensics due to her interest in law and psychology. Her research interests in psychology include mental illness, the effect of environment on human behavior, trauma, and emotions. 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeley Randle

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Keeley Randle is currently a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S in Health and a minor in Biology. Her research interests include anxiety, substance abuse, health disparities, and mental health disparities. Upon graduation, she plans to attend medical school.

 

 

 

 

 

Erika Grey Reyes

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Erika Grey Reyes graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a B.S. in Biology. She is interested in researching ADHD/ADD, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and the impact of nicotine and alcohol abuse on mental health and interpersonal relationships. In the future, she plans to obtain a graduate degree in Neuroscience or Neuropsychology.

 

 

Ana Paola Rivera

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Ana Paola Rivera is a junior at University of Houston, pursuing a B.S in psychology and a minor in Chemistry. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and study neurosurgery. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea Rodriguez

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Andrea is currently a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Biology. Her interests include mental health disparities among underserved populations, the effects of trauma on Latina women, and neurological disorders. In the near future, she plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialty in Neuropsychology. 

 

 

 

Samantha Rothkop

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Samantha is currently a junior at the University of Houston and is set to graduate in Spring 2024. After completing her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, she plans to pursue a Phd in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include anxiety, PTSD, trauma, and the comorbid conditions that often accompany these conditions such as substance abuse. The populations that Samantha is most interested in studying are adult women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Faiza Sachwani

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Faiza is a sophomore at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Human Foods and Nutrition and a minor in Biology. Her research interests include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, women's health,  and other psychological disorders. After Graduation, she plans on attending medical school. 

 

 


Aly Skiddle

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Aly Skiddle is a sophomore at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Her research interests include mental health disparities among Asian-Americans, personality disorders, and anxiety disorders among adolescents. Upon graduation, she hopes to go to medical school.

 

 

Raushana Tajudeen

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Raushana Tajudeen is a Senior at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and minoring in Psychology. Her research interests include Women’s Health, health disparities, depression, and other psychological disorders. After graduation, she plans to obtain a Master’s in Public Health before attending medical school.

 

 

Rishitaa Tamminana

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Rishitaa Tamminana is currently a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology. Her research interests include mental health and its impact on the management of chronic diseases. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. 

 

 

Vivian Vu

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Vivian Vu is currently a senior at the University of Houston, pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Her research interests include anxiety, PTSD, families and children, emotions, and interpersonal processes. After graduation, Vivian plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

Elisabeth Walla

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Elisabeth Walla is a junior Psychology major pursuing a Bachelor of the Arts degree and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Her research interests include the stigmatization of abortion and how this affects ethnic minority communities, and abortion’s relation to the development of PTSD and worse mental health outcomes among minority women. After graduation, Elisabeth plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and research various facets of abortion and womens’ mental health, particularly among underserved ethnic minorites.

 

 

Walli Zaman

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Wali Zaman is currently a junior at University of Houston, pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in English. His research interests include anxiety and depression. Upon graduation, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.