Joseph Beeney, M.S. is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at The Pennsylvania State University. His research centers on social cognitive factors influencing interpersonal disturbance in borderline personality disorder (BPD). His ongoing research focuses on difficulties like rejection sensitivity, aggression, attachment disturbance, abnormalities in empathic function and identity disturbance in BPD, as well as the contribution of such constructs to disturbed social functioning. Much of this research utilizes neuroscience and physiological methods such as fMRI, EEG, heart rate variables and skin conductance. Related neuroscience work in non-clinical populations aims to understand empathy within close relationships, and the ways in which empathic function is affected by insecure attachment. In the long term, he aims to uncover mechanisms of disturbed relatedness in BPD as a means to help improve treatment for the disorder, starting with the often difficult relationships present between therapists and individuals with the disorder. Clinically, his particular empathsis is on the treatment of personality disorders.
Kristy Benoit, M.S. is a Ph.D. candidate in the clinical psychology program at Virginia Tech. Her primary research interests are in the etiology and treatment of childhood anxiety disorders. She examines the interaction of developmental (e.g., temperament, attachment), family (e.g., parental psychopathology, parent-child interactions) and cognitive (e.g., information processing biases in parents and children) risk factors. She is also interested in cultural influences on child anxiety and the psychophysiology of these disorders. In terms of treatment research, she is interested in the development and investigation of cognitive bias modification paradigms for both parents and children. The ultimate goal of these lines of research is to improve the assessment and treatment of childhood anxiety disorders, as well as to enhance prevention strategies for children at risk for the development of these disorders.
James J. Li, M.A. is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a concentration in quantitative psychology. He uses a developmental psychopathology approach to better understand the pathways to risk and resilience in youth at risk for disruptive behavior disorders. His research combines advanced quantitative modeling techniques, molecular genetics and environmental factors to (1) improve diagnostic and phenotypic models of disruptive behavior disorders, (2) advance understanding of gene-environment interplay by prioritizing the measurement of negative and positive environmental exposures (i.e., adversity vs. enrichment) and (3) translate integrative biological models of psychopathology into more effective intervention paradigms. His recent work has examined associations between risk genotypes and natural variations in family environmental factors on childhood ADHD and adolescent antisocial behaviors, depression and suicide. His clinical work focuses on the assessment and treatment of child and adolescent disorders, including mood and behavior disorders.
Sarah Racine, M.A. is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on understanding the etiology of eating disorders and, in particular, binge eating. She is interested in the role of biological influences (e.g., genes, hormones) as well as interactions between biological and psychological factors. In particular, she hopes to better understand why only some individuals who possess psychological features that place them at risk for binge eating (e.g., high levels of impulsivity) develop these behaviors, and whether genetic and biological factors may help in predicting these individual differences. Ultimately, she hopes that findings from her research program will contribute to the development of tailored prevention and intervention programs for eating disorders that consider individual differences in risk.
Sarah E. Romens, M.A. is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Sarah’s research focuses primarily on elucidating neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the pathway from stress to development of depression. She focuses on examining individual differences in cognition, physiology, genetics, and epigenetics that are involved in how people respond to stressors in their environment. Much of this research examines these putative mechanisms in early adolescence, a particularly vulnerable time for first onset of depression. Her recent projects have examined the relationships among depression-relevant cogntive styles (e.g., negative cognitive style and rumination), attention processes, and biological responses to stress in the context of early environmental stress and acute laboratory stressors. The aim of her research program is to improve understanding of etiology of depression among adolescents exposed to environmental stress, with the long-term goal of developing novel approaches to intervention.