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Current Trainees

Rebecca Hagedorn

Rebecca is in her first year as a trainee on the training grant.  She is a second year PhD student in Animal and Food Sciences.  She works in the Lifestyle Intervention Research Lab, where they focus on lifestyle modifications to prevent chronic disease across the lifespan.  Her work specifically focuses on young adults in college who are food insecure, and behavioral differences driven by food insecurity.  “The training grant will allow me the opportunity to collaborate and train with clinicians and researchers outside of my field.  The behavioral aspects of the program will enrich my current training while the biomedical experiences will broaden my horizons to encompass basic science and create a multidisciplinary foundation necessary to tackle public health issues.” Rebecca’s advisor is Melissa Olfert. 

Shane Kaski

Shane is in his first year as a trainee on the training grant. He is a PhD student in the Departments of Behavioral Medicine and Physiology and Pharmacology/Neuroscience, participating in the Cellular and Integrative Physiology program. He works in the laboratory of Neurobiology and Genetics of Substance Abuse. His research focuses on developing adjuvant therapies for reducing the addictive potential of opioid drugs. “The interdisciplinary focus of the BBS T32 training grant provides me with the access to expertise in Psychology, Biomedical Science and Public Health necessary to make meaningful advances in combating a problem as multifaceted as opioid addiction.” Shane’s advisors are Vincent Setola and David Siderovski.

Kristen Trexler

Kristen is in her first year as a trainee on the training grant.  She is a third year PhD student in the Department of Psychology, participating in the Behavioral Neuroscience Program.  Her lab focuses primarily on endocannabinoids, stress, and inflammation.  Her projects focus on evaluating emotionality-related changes during cannabinoid withdrawal and identify compounds to attenuate behavioral changes during that withdrawal.  “Serving as a trainee on the BBS program offers me the opportunity to experience clinical immersion which will help to broaden my understanding of the applications of clinical work and allow me to think more creatively about my own research.  It also offers me training in important skills such as planning, communicating, and networking with individuals outside of my typical circle.”  Kristen’s advisor is Steven Kinsey. 

Desireé Williford

Desireé is in her second year as a trainee on the training grant.  She is a third year Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program (Clinical Child Training Area) within the Department of Psychology. Her primary lab (under the direction of Dr. Christina Duncan) focuses on pediatric psychology, with an emphasis on family-based interventions, adherence to medical regimens, provider-patient-parent communication, health literacy, and other psychosocial factors as they relate to children who have a chronic illnesses and injuries. She has also recently begun conducting research in Dr. Amy Herschell's lab, exploring implementation and dissemination of evidence-based interventions.

Desireé has recently completed her Master’s Thesis, “Secrets and Lies:  A Profile-Based Examination of Youth and Parent Information Management Strategies and Adolescent Electronic Cigarette Use”, and as a result has earned her M.S. in Clinical Psychology. She also is working on a HRSA-funded grant focusing on developing a pictorial asthma action plan for youth and families. "As a trainee on the T32, I have the opportunity to gain additional research and clinical experiences beyond the scope my current training. I also have access to valuable mentorship that will prepare me for a career focused on engaging in collaborative research across multiple disciplines." 
Desireé’s advisors are Drs. Christina Duncan and Amy Herschell.

Nick Felicione

Nick is in his second year as a trainee on the training grant. He is a 4th year PhD student in the Behavioral Neuroscience program within the Department of Psychology. His research in Dr. Melissa Blank’s lab focuses on understanding behavioral and physiological factors promoting addiction. More specifically, he focuses on evaluating nicotine and tobacco products, with a particular interest in alternate tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes. Current projects include: 1) comparing methods of electronic cigarette puff topography, 2) characterizing patterns of dual use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, 3) evaluating the role of electronic cigarettes in a smoker’s choice to quit smoking, and 4) integrating a smoking cessation intervention into an outpatient opioid-addiction treatment clinic. “As a trainee on this grant, I am able to develop as a more comprehensive researcher by gaining experience, skills, and education in behavioral, biomedical, and public health sciences.” Nick’s advisor is Dr. Melissa Blank.

Deidre O'Dell

Deidre is in her second year as a BBS trainee.  She is a third year PhD student in Neuroscience in the Biomedical Sciences Program.  She is currently investigating if manipulating the perineuronal net in one of the deep cerebellar nuclei, the anterior interpositus nucleus, could lead to facilitated extinction of eyeblink conditioning.  Her research interests are behavioral neuroscience and the study of the underlying mechanisms of learning and memory in healthy and disease states.  “This training grant opens up opportunities for me to diversify my research training and gives me a chance to gain clinical experience as well.  It also grants me a chance to expand my scope beyond basic science into other areas of behavioral study. “ Deidre’s advisor is Dr. Bernard G. Schreurs.

Associate Scholars

Rachel Hostetler

Cory Whirtley

Cory is in her first year as an associate scholar on the training grant. She is a second year PhD student in the Behavior Analysis program within the Department of Psychology. Her research in Dr. Michael Perone’s laboratory focuses on understanding basic, behavioral processes. Specifically, her main projects are focused on the evaluation of timeout from positive reinforcement, a commonly used technique to suppress behavior. Other current projects include: 1) evaluating stimulus control of spontaneous recovery, 2) evaluating light discrimination in rats, and 3) building and evaluating inexpensive technology for the study of behavior. “The position as an Associate Scholar has provided me with invaluable opportunities to expand my research, networking, and leadership skills. Notably, the clinical immersion experience has provided an in-depth insight into the clinical application of my laboratory research.”

Kristine Durkin

Amanda Stover

Casey Wright

Past Trainees

Doug Thornton

Joshua Gross

Jenny Ozga

Danielle Doll
West Virginia University

Margeaux Gray
Dickinson College, PA

Sylvia Mrowka
Penn State University, Altoona

Erienne Olesh
University of Puget Sound, WA

Elvonna Atkins
Florida A&M University

Danielle Davidov
Marshall University, WV

Richard Felix
Washington State University

Rolf Hansen
Gannon University, PA

Lindsay Lueptow
Univ. of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Paula Prentice
University of Albany, SUNY

Cameron Randall
UNC Chapel Hill

Michael Seminerio
Washington & Jefferson College, PA

Merideth Smith
Beloit College

Ryan Turner
Western New England College

Tricia Wilkins
SUNY Buffalo