Dr. Darby Saxbe, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

       I first developed a love of academia as a kid growing up in the small college town of Oberlin, Ohio, where the long-haired hippies at Oberlin College were the most interesting people for miles around. I went east for college at Yale University, where I double-majored in English and Psychology, and then west for graduate school at UCLA. As a graduate student, I explored how everyday marital functioning shaped couples' cortisol patterns at the Center for the Everyday Lives of Families. Post-Ph.D, I completed my clinical internship at a veteran's hospital in LA, and then received an NRSA post-doctoral fellowship to work with Gayla Margolin on the USC Family Studies Project.
        Since coming to USC, I have studied the association between family conflict and adolescent development, including cortisol patterns and neural responses to social and emotional stimuli. In the future, I plan to continue studying how relationship contexts influence health, especially during critical life junctures like the transition through puberty and the transition into parenthood.
       In a former life, I was an aficionado of the local indie rock scene in LA. Now my most adventurous hobby is reading, and I can usually be found at home with my two kids and my husband Dan, a music producer.

Curriculum Vitae



Hannah Lyden

NEST Grad Student

          Hannah is a first year graduate student in the Clinical Science area. Hannah’s research interests focus on the impact of early life on neurological development and later developmental outcomes. Hannah received her master’s in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology through a joint program with University College London and Yale in 2011. For the past two years she has worked at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA, learning about clinical applications of novel neuroimaging methodologies. In her PhD she plans to use neuroimaging tools to study the neurobiological changes concurrent with becoming a parent, as well as how early life can alter underlying neural circuitry involved in relational and cognitive development.




Larissa Borofsky Del Piero

Affiliated Grad Student

          Larissa is a fifth year graduate student in the Clinical Science area. Larissa’s research explores the impact of violence exposure on cognitive processes and emotion regulation. Before coming to USC, Larissa worked at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center studying social and emotional development during early adolescence using neuropsychological assessment, hormone analysis, and neuroimaging. Her masters project examined the relationship between exposure to community violence, psychological distress, and academic performance during middle and high school. In 2010, she received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study the relationship between violence exposure, cortisol reactivity, and performance on standardized tests of fluid intelligence. She is currently working on her dissertation, which uses functional magnetic resonance imaging and a novel experimental paradigm to explore cognitive control of emotions in youth who have been exposed to family violence.