It was great to see the whole group gathered together for the first time over burgers (tofu or beef), beers, hummus sandwiches, steaks and grilled veggies. Special thanks also to Phaedra Bell, Alissa Bernstein, Andy Kayser and Dan Dohan for coming out to join us. In addition to kicking off the new lab name, we were also happy to introduce and start getting to know our new lab members:

Cailin Lechner joins the lab after graduating from UCLA where, quite appropriately for our group, she pursued a novel interdisciplinary degree in Human Biology and Society. Her undergraduate research addressed neurobiological, historical, and policy aspects of environmental exposure in local communities of color; at the same time she directed a sizable nonprofit organization addressing educational disparities by providing individualized tutoring and mentorship in under-resourced schools.

Heather Romero-Kornblum will soon be joining the lab after a very productive undergrad career at Foothill College and UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). At Berkeley she conducted a highly ambitious senior thesis utilizing both online and in-lab methods to investigate links between income inequality and regulatory focus in the Self, Identity, and Relationships Lab with Professor Serena Chen; for this and other work she received the Warner Brown Memorial Prize for Great Promise in Psychological Research.

And, Madhumitha Manivannan will be joining us after receiving her BA from NYU. In her undergraduate research with Professor Emily Balcetis, she independently integrated concepts from behavioral economics with the lab’s existing focus on social cognition in order to study how the framing of health messages influences individuals’ motivation to exercise. Madhu also comes to the MAC with a strong clinical background, including work with at-risk youth and older adults with chronic medical conditions, which will inform her work with our patients.

So: we’re not only excited about our new team members as individuals, but also about the great diversity of perspectives and insights they will bring to our work together.