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LAB DIRECTOR

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Benjamin A. Tabak, Ph.D. is the Director of the Social and Clinical Neuroscience Lab and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at SMU. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the UCLA Department of Psychology where he worked in the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab, the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab, and the Anxiety and Depression Research Center.

btabak@smu.edu

CV

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Talha Alvi, M.A. is a third year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at SMU. He received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas and his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Teacher's College, Columbia University. Prior to joining the SCN lab, he held research positions at the UTD Center for BrainHealth, the National Institutes of Heath, and Columbia University School of Social Work. His research interests broadly include the neuropsychological and psychosocial aspects of mental health and their influence on psychopathology, particularly mood disorders. In the future, Talha hopes to practice as a clinician, while continuing research in these fields.

talvi@smu.edu

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Cecile (Cici) Sunahara, M.Sc. is a first-year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program at SMU. Prior to joining the SCN lab at SMU, she completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Psychology at McGill University, investigating the neurobiological and social cognitive underpinnings of human affiliation and prosociality. In the SCN lab, she aims to continue exploring the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms which support our ability to connect with others (e.g., the ability to accurately perceive and vicariously experience the emotions of others, the tendency to trust and to forgive others, as well as the capacity to regulate one’s emotions during interactions with others). She is particularly interested in examining the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in socioemotional processes relevant to psychopathology.

csunahara@mail.smu.edu

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

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Taylor Rients was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is currently a Senior at Southern Methodist University. She is on the Pre-Med track, pursuing degrees in Biology and Psychology with a minors in Chemistry and Photography. Rients has research experience in Costa Rica regarding indigenous wildlife and bioinformatics. She wants to continue her research in the SCN lab because she is curious about the correlation of Biology and Psychology in interpersonal relationships.

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Pranjal Chokshi was born and raised in Plano, TX. She is currently a Junior at SMU and is double majoring in Biology and Health & Society with a minor in Psychology. She joined the SCN lab to strengthen her research skills and better understand the connections between the brain, mental health, and interpersonal relationships. She hopes to attend medical school and eventually become a doctor.

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Preston Cobb was born in Texas and raised all around. He is currently a Senior at SMU pursuing a Computer Science B.A. His goal is to become a software engineer and eventually transition to software development management. He joined the SCN Lab to both strengthen his research skills and organization/management abilities.

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Erin Kerwin is a junior at SMU from Dallas, TX. She is pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Statistical Science. Erin joined the SCN lab as a way to strengthen her research skills as well as learn more about the field of neuroscience, something she has always been interested in. In the future, Erin intends to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and hopes to work primarily with children.

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Drishtant Gupta is a Sophomore at SMU from Coppell, TX. He is on the Pre-Med track, majoring in Biology with a minor in Cognitive Science. He joined the Social and Clinical Neuroscience Lab to strengthen his research skills and better understand social cognition and behavior. His research interests include neurological bases for behavior and disease as well as implementation of artificial neural networks in medical diagnoses. In the future, Drishtant hopes to practice as a physician while continuing research in these fields.

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Hannah Sheard is a sophomore from Hallsville, TX. She is on the pre-med track, pursuing majors in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. She joined the SCN Lab to strengthen her research skills and learn more about the intersections between biology, psychology and neuroscience. After graduation, Hannah plans on attending medical school to become a physician.

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Matt Hutnyan is a Junior from Irvine, CA. He is majoring is Psychology and Health & Society with minors in Law & Legal Reasoning and Neuroscience. Matt joined the lab to strengthen his research skills and better understand the intersections of neuroscience and social psychology. His research interests include a variety of topics ranging from eyewitness testimony to autism spectrum disorder. After graduating from SMU, Matt intends to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and hopes to do forensic or cross-cultural work.

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Deemah Pulak is a sophomore at SMU from Richardson, Texas. She is on the pre-medical track, pursuing a Health & Society B.S, Psychology B.S, and a minor in Arabic. Her interests lie in global health and non-profit work. She joined the SCN lab to strengthen her skills in research and learn more about the psychological interconnections between the mind and the social environment. She hopes to pursue a masters degree in Public Health and attend medical school to ultimately work in an organization like U.N.I.C.E.F., C.D.C.,W.H.O. or N.I.H, hoping to make a difference globally.

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Miles Beattie was born in St. Louis, MO. He is currently a Junior at SMU and is pursuing a BS in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Philosophy. The converging nature of social and clinical psychology is what drew Miles towards the SNC lab. Miles hopes to become a practicing Clinical Psychologist.

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Sophia Deahl was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She is currently a Junior at SMU pursuing a Psychology B.A. and a minor in Spanish. Sophia joined the Social and Clinical Neuroscience lab to broaden her research skills and learn more about psychology. Her goal is to one day obtain her PhD and become a Clinical Psychologist.

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Meghana Gadde is a freshman and comes to SMU from Frisco, TX. She will be pursuing a major in Biology on the pre-med track and hopes to also further her studies in Political Science, Psychology, and Neuroscience. Meghana originally wanted to get involved with the lab to further explore the intersection between biology and psychology and build off of her research experience in a sleep lab at the University of North Texas. She is ecstatic to be a part of the SCN lab, especially as a freshman, and cannot wait to see what her future in the lab has in store for her.

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Jenna Semenova was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She is currently a freshman at SMU and is majoring in Marketing. She joined the SCN lab out of her interest in the field of psychology. Working in the lab she hopes to gain experience in research and to broaden her horizons during her college experience.

LAB ALUMNI

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Adam Teed, Ph.D. was a Postdoc in the SCN Lab from 2018-2019. He is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Kahlsa Laboratory at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR).

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Stejara Dinulescu graduated in 2019 from SMU with a BS in Psychology with Distinction, a BA in Studio Art, and a BA in Creative Computing. She was one of the first SCN Lab research assistants and completed her honors thesis with Dr. Tabak. Stejara is an incoming PhD student in Media Arts & Technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Page Hurley graduated in 2019 from SMU with a BS in Psychology with Distinction, a BS in Biological Sciences, and a BA in Chemistry. She was one of the first SCN Lab research assistants and completed her honors thesis with Dr. Kouros. Page is an incoming PhD student in Psychology & Neuroscience at Baylor University.

Aisha Ahmed graduated in 2019 from SMU with a BA in Biology and a BA in History. Aisha worked in the SCN Lab for several years and played several important roles including lab administrator, lab manager, and research assistant. She hopes to become a doctor and work with Doctors Without Borders to make a difference in the world.

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Elena Skaribas graduated in 2019 from SMU with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Biology. She was a research assistant in the SCN Lab for two semesters. Elena is applying to medical school for the 2020 cycle.

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Rosie Lawson graduated in 2019 from SMU with a BA in Health & Society. She was a research assistant in the SCN Lab for several semesters. Rosie hopes to attend medical school in the future.

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Abby Maglich is a Senior at SMU pursuing a BS in Health and Society and minors in Spanish and Business Administration. Abby spent two semesters as a research assistant in the SCN Lab. She is interesting in pursuing her masters in Public Health.