Current Lab Members

Gayla Margolin, Ph.D.

B.A., 1971, University of Wisconsin

M.A., 1973, University of Oregon

Ph.D., 1976, University of Oregon

USC Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project

Gayla Margolin, Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, is a member of the Clinical Science Faculty. Dr. Margolin’s primary interests are in the resilience of young people, particularly as they transition to adolescence and then from adolescence to young adulthood.  Her research focuses on the interplay between social, behavioral, and biological factors and the role of family influences in development.  The results of research in her lab relate directly to the applied goals of minimizing the effects of family violence and reducing the rates of family violence.

Dr. Margolin received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. She has over 100 publications that explore marital and family relations. A number of her publications focus on the ways that conflict and violence derail the normal developmental processes of families and individual family members, particularly children. She co-authored the book, Marital Therapy: Strategies Based on Social Learning and Behavior Exchange Principles and has also published on ethical issues in couple and family therapy and research. Support for her work comes from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and from NICHD and NIMH grants. 

Dr. Margolin received a Harry Frank Guggenheim Career Development Award, the 1993 Award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Systems Research from the American Family Therapy Academy, and 2013 USC Raubenheimer Award. She has been on the editorial board of 15 professional journals, including positions as Associate Editor for the Journal of Family Psychology and Behavioral Assessment.  Dr. Margolin received 2006 and 2008 USC Awards for Excellence in Mentoring. 

She is a licensed psychologist in California. Her invited addresses include presentations to the California Assembly Select Committee on Domestic Violence and the Domestic Violence Training Program of the Los Angeles Superior Court.


Michelle Ramos, Ph.D.

B.S., 1997, University of Notre Dame

M.A., 2000, California State University, Fullerton

M.A., 2003, University of Southern California 

Ph.D., 2006, University of Southern California

Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Child & Adolescent Studies, California State University, Fullerton.

Michelle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Child & Adolescent Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Michelle’s teaching and research focus on child and adolescent development within the family context, with a particular emphasis on youths’ vulnerability versus resilience to family stress, conflict, and violence. Michelle also examines how youth develop attitudes about justice, focusing on the influences of teen court participation, empathy, and adverse childhood experiences. She conducts her research with the USC Family Studies Project and the Fullerton Longitudinal Study. Michelle received her B.S. in psychology and preprofessional science from the University of Notre Dame, her M.A. in psychology from CSUF, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California. She completed her clinical internship at the UC San Diego/VA Medical Center - Children's Hospital.

Reout Arbel, Ph.D.

B.S., 2001, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

M.A., 2004, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel

Ph.D., 2012, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel

Current position: Assistant Professor, Haifa University

Reout Arbel is a clinical psychologist and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Haifa, Israel.  In her post-doctoral research, Reout takes a bio-psychosocial perspective on intergenerational transmission of aggression, and on how early adversities shape the development of stress responsiveness and psychological health. Much of her research incorporates cortisol, a hormone secreted by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, that reflects bodily reaction to stress. Studying psychological health builds on her dissertation work, where she examined the neurocognitive basis of impaired insight into illness in Anorexia Nervosa among patients at the Rambam Hospital Psychiatric Division. Before coming to USC, Reout was a lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa, and worked as a clinical psychologist in the student counseling center. In 2014 she received the Israeli Council for Higher Education postdoctoral award, and the American Association University Women international postdoctoral award.  

Marie-Ève Daspe, Ph.D.

B.A., 2009, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada

Ph.D., 2015, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada

Marie-Ève’s research explores the impact of childhood adverse interpersonal experiences on romantic relationships and aggression. She is particularly interested in couple dynamics and how each partner’s past experiences and individual characteristics jointly influence the quality of the relationship. Marie-Ève is also interested in studying the impact of self and partner’s physiological stress reactivity on the occurrence of violence within the couple. Prior to coming to USC, Marie-Ève was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Quebec in Montreal where she studied the impact of child maltreatment on the relational and sexual functioning of adolescents and young adults. In 2016, she received a postdoctoral award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture to join the USC Family Studies Project.

Lauren Shapiro, Ph.D.

B.A., 2004, Northwestern University

M.A., 2008, University of Southern California

Ph.D., 2014, University of Southern California

Lauren’s research focuses on the interplay between biological and physiological indicators of stress, with a focus on stress within the context of close relationships.  Lauren received her Ph.D. from USC in 2014, where she studied adolescents’ experiences of family conflict and health risk behaviors in relation to the diurnal pattern of hypothalamic adrenocortical axis (HPA) activity.  After graduate school, Lauren completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA, working on an intervention study examining the intergenerational transmission of aggression in at-risk families.  Recently, Lauren was awarded an SBE Post-doctoral Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to study the degree of synchrony across behavioral and physiological indicators of aggression in young couples.  This interdisciplinary fellowship allows her to work within the fields of Psychology and Electrical Engineering to examine the synchrony of vocal arousal, physiological arousal, and behavioral arousal to better understand the link between one’s family history of aggression and current dating aggression. 

Hannah Schacter, Ph.D.

B.A., 2012, Hamilton College

M.A., 2013, University of California, Los Angeles

Ph.D., 2017, University of California, Los Angeles

Hannah’s research examines how interpersonal stressors (e.g., victimization, rejection) contribute to maladjustment across development and the buffering function of close relationships. Hannah received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from UCLA in 2017. Her graduate research investigated when and why adolescents’ experiences with peer victimization place them at risk for future social and psychological difficulties, focusing on the role of causal attributions, friendships, and school context. In 2017, Hannah was awarded a National Science Foundation SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study the developmental continuity of victimization across different relational contexts (family, peers, dating partners) at USC. She is particularly interested in using observational methods, such as lab-based conversations between friend dyads, to understand how childhood exposure to violence may compromise subsequent interpersonal functioning during adolescence and young adulthood.


Theodora Chaspari, Ph.D.

B.A., 2010, National Technical University of Athens

M.S., 2012, University of Southern California

Ph.D., 2017, University of Southern California

Current position: Assistant Professor, Texas A & M University, Computer Science and Engineering

USC Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project

Theodora's research interests lie in the area of biomedical signal processing by addressing challenges in capturing, representing and analyzing the acquired signals, as well as interpreting them as a unified group and with respect to co-evolving behavioral markers and events. Applications of her research include psychophysiological well-being, personalized health, education, and commerce. Theodora is a recipient of the USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship and USC WiSE Merit Fellowship.

Adela Timmons, Ph.D.

B.A., 2011, University of Kansas

M.A., 2013, University of Southern California

Ph.D., 2018, University of Southern California

USC Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project

Adela graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Methodology. She is currently pursuing a combined PhD in Clinical and Quantitative Psychology. She is interested in close relationships and in particular couple dynamics. She uses ecological momentary assessment and ambulatory physiological measurement to examine family and couple functioning in daily life. She is also interested in how early family relationships affect stress responding and physiological set points later in life. She received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study physiological coregulation in romantic couples in the home environment and to examine how early family environments impact physiological coregulation in romantic relationships in adulthood. Quantitatively, she is interested in intensive longitudinal data analysis for couples and families. 



Geoff Corner

B.S., 2010, New York University

Geoff started the Clinical Science doctoral program at USC in 2014 and is working with Drs. Gayla Margolin and Darby Saxbe. His research interests include how couples cope with and react to health-related adversity, particularly in the form of a loss. He spent five years prior to his time at USC working in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. As a result of that experience, he is also interested in psycho-oncology and end-of-life care. In particular, much of his past work has been on studies developing and testing psychotherapeutic interventions to help cancer patients and their families reconnect with or even enhance a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Sohyun Han

B.A., 2010, Wellesley College

USC Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project

Sohyun's research aims to 1) investigate how child adversity leads to an increased risk of interpersonal conflicts in adolescence and adulthood, and 2) to identify the protective factors that may interrupt this vulnerability and lead to resilience. Toward that aim, she received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2014 to understand the interplay among vocal, behavioral, and physiological indices of emotion during emotionally-charged discussions between dating partners. In this project, she is particularly interested in exploring whether vocal reactivity is a key mechanism by which child adversity sensitizes individuals to interpersonal conflicts in adulthood. Prior to coming to USC, Sohyun worked at the National Center for PTSD at the Boston VA hospital, where she helped investigate the effects of trauma on veterans' neuropsychological, interpersonal, and mental health outcomes.

Kelly Miller

B.A., 2012, Pomona College

M.A., 2014, University of Southern California

Kelly is interested in how close relationships are associated with physiological and emotional regulation. Kelly received her Bachelors in Psychology at Pomona College, where she studied attachment and parenting in middle childhood as a member of the CARE Lab. In 2011, Kelly received a grant from Psi Chi and the Society for Research in Child Development to join the Yale Child Study Center as a research associate, where she studied child and adolescent electrophysiology and internalizing disorders. Since joining the Family Studies Project in 2012, Kelly’s research has examined how parent-child relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships “get under the skin” to influence regulation. Kelly is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; her NSF project examines individual differences in attachment, cortisol, and oxytocin activity during experiences of emotional vulnerability. In 2014, Kelly was named one of the Thirty Top Thinkers Under Thirty by Pacific Standard Magazine for her work on romantic relationships and physiology. Additionally, Kelly is the 2014-2015 USC Irving and Jeanne Glovin Scholar. 

Hannah Rasmussen

B.A., 2011, Pomona College

 Hannah graduated from Pomona College in 2011 with a BA in Psychology. Following graduation, Hannah worked as Lab Manager for Drs. Jessica Borelli and Patricia Smiley in the Pomona College Child Attachment, Relationships, and Emotion (CARE) Lab studying child emotion regulation and the transmission of anxiety from parents to children. In 2013, concurrent to her work at Pomona, Hannah began working at the Family Studies Project as a Lab Manager coordinating the current wave of in-lab data collection for the longitudinal study as well as the Teen Court Project. In 2015, Hannah joined the lab as a Graduate Student and her interest is in studying young adults’ “parenting” abilities before they become parents. Specifically, she plans to investigate how their histories with family violence may predict their future capacities as parents before they actually become parents. 


Yehsong Kim

B.A., 2013, Northwestern University

Yehsong received her BA in Psychology from Northwestern University. After graduation, she began working at the Family Studies Project on the Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project, looking at daily processes of romantic couples. In 2017, Yehsong joined the lab as a graduate student, and is interested in studying the psychophysiology of stress within close relationships and the implications for public health. Yehsong has also previously worked in psychology laboratories at Northwestern and UCLA, including the MOSAIC Lab, studying cultural differences in theory of mind, and the UCLA Culture and Minority Mental Health Lab, assessing the implementation of evidence-based practices across Los Angeles County. 


Corey Pettit

B.A., 2016, University of Southern California

Corey graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 with a BA in Psychology. She has been a research assistant with the Family Studies Project since 2013, where she has worked on multiple projects studying the interpersonal dynamics of family, peer and dating partner relationships. She completed her senior thesis on risk and resilience to internalizing psychopathology in military dependent adolescents. She also worked with Dr. Henrike Moll in the Minds in Development Lab on a project studying the development of counterfactual reasoning. As lab manager, Corey coordinates data collection for the current wave of the longitudinal study. She hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in the future. 


Stassja Sichko

 B.A., 2015, Pomona College

Stassja received her BA in Psychology from Pomona College in 2015. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Jessica Borelli’s Child Attachment, Relationships and Emotion (CARE) laboratory and conducted a senior thesis exploring the relationship between maternal overcontrol and children’s depressive symptoms, and how it was moderated by children’s perceptions of closeness. In her role as lab manager for the USC Family Studies Project, Stassja coordinates the health portion of the current wave of data collection as well as the Couple Mobile Sensing Project, which uses ambulatory assessment methodologies to examine interactions during young adult couples’ daily lives. Stassja is also affiliated with the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the future.



Julia Carboni

Merai Estafanous

Madeline Friendly

Adam Gonzales

Afsara Haque

Lilly Hou

Arianna Lane

Daniel Like

Sabin Min

Sanny Ning

Tara Vatankhah

Kiran Salehani

Pritika Seghal

Olivia Shin

Stassja Sichko

Jisoo (Jessica) Suh

Jeffrey Yuen

  • USC Family Studies Project
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