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Lab Members

Michael Lowe

Michael Lowe, PhD
Professor and Lab Director
Education: 1978, Boston College - PhD (Clinical Psychology - Behavioral Therapy) 1973, Boston University - BA (Psychology)
Research Interests: The relation of weight suppression and food restriction to eating disorder psychopathology. The role of hedonic hunger in obesity and eating disorders. Obesity and the prevention of weight gain and weight regain. The impact of weight variability on health and future weight gain. Integrating biological and psychological influences on eating and weight regulation.


Leora Benson

Leora Benson, MS
Graduate Student
Education: 2010, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, MS; 2008, Barnard College, BA (Neuroscience and Behavior)
Research Interests: Leora is a third-year doctoral student from New York. She earned her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and behavior from Barnard College, where she conducted research on motor systems in mice. She earned her Master of Science degree in nutrition from Columbia University, where she conducted research on behavioral and neural correlates of obesity in adolescents and adults. Before attending Drexel, she worked as a Research Program Coordinator at Johns Hopkins studying neurobehavioral familial risks of obesity in adolescents and their mothers. Her current research interests include identifying the psychological, behavioral and neural mechanisms associated with appetite, eating behavior and weight in obesity and disordered eating.


Amani Piers

Amani Piers
Graduate Student
Education: 2014, Trinity University, BS (Psychology and Biology)
Research Interests: Amani is a third-year doctoral student originally from Canada. After completing her undergraduate degree at Trinity University, she worked as a research coordinator in the WELL Center at Drexel University. She is broadly interested in obesity and eating disorders, with a particular interest in the interaction between biological and psychological factors on the development and maintenance of eating pathology. She has contributed to projects investigating the roles of weight suppression, objective weight, dieting status and motivations for dieting on the presentation and trajectories of eating disorders. She has also been involved in studies examining the psychological factors associated with eating pathology such as eating in the absence of physical hunger, loss of control eating and hedonic hunger.


Joanna Chen

Joanna Chen
Graduate Student
Education: 2016, University of California, San Diego, BS (Psychology, specialization in Clinical Psychology)
Research Interests: Joanna is a first-year doctoral student from San Diego, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. After graduating, she worked as a research coordinator at the UCSD Eating Disorders Center on fMRI studies examining the neural correlates and treatment outcomes of eating disorders. Joanna’s research interests include understanding the neural and biological mechanisms that maintain eating pathology, and developing novel and more effective treatment for eating disorders.


Simar Singh

Simar Singh
Graduate Student
Education: 2016, University of California, Berkeley, BA (Psychology and Integrative Biology)
Research Interests: Simar is a first-year doctoral student from Valencia, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016, with a double major in Integrative Biology and Psychology. After graduating, she performed clinical research at UCSF in two labs: the Eating Disorders Program (EDP), and the Bush Lab. As clinical research coordinator for the EDP, she performed research investigating the efficacy of eating disorder treatments, including the coordination of an R01 examining the efficacy and mechanism of an adaptive family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia. As a research assistant for the Bush Lab, she assisted primarily on the TIDES study, a longitudinal, multi-site study investigating the effects of environmental toxins (namely, phthalates) and maternal stress, on child development. She has published in the area of eating disorders treatment outcomes. Simar hopes to focus her graduate research on the neurobiological bases of eating disorders - how genes and neural structure function to promote and maintain disordered eating.


Leora Haller

Leora Haller
Graduate Student
Education: 2014, Queens College, BA (Psychology, minor in Business and Liberal Arts)
Research Interests: Leora is a first-year master's student from New Jersey. She attended Queens College (QC) where she received her BA in psychology, and a minor in QC's BALA Honors program. While at QC, she conducted research at Brooklyn College as part of a specialized fellowship program for undergraduates, where she studied early neurodevelopmental markers of risk for mental health disorders in a non-clinical population. Leora is broadly interested in eating disorder research, with a particular interest in studying how the different brain processes involved in reward, inhibition, and impulse control may predict eating disorder psychopathology and influence the treatment of eating disorders. Leora plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology after she completes her master's degree.


Nicole Virzi

Danielle Apple
Research Coordinator
Education: 2018, University of Pittsburgh, BS (Psychology, minor in Secondary Education, certificate in children’s literature)
Research Interests: Danielle is a research coordinator who is currently working on two of Michael Lowe's studies: the study of weight history, brain activation to food cues, and eating disorder psychopathology and the study of weight suppression, dieting and bulimia nervosa. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in psychology, a minor in secondary education, and a certificate in children’s literature. Her research interests broadly encompass adolescent mental health, with a specific focus on eating disorders, mood disorders and suicidality. She is particularly interested in examining the interplay between social media and body image and its effect on mental health outcomes, specifically eating and mood disorders.

Former Lab Members

Laura Berner
Meghan Butryn
Yelena Chernyak
Vicki Clark
Maria Coletta
Bre D'Antonio
Sapna Doshi
Ali Ely
Hallie Espel
Emily Feig
Kelsey Gilbert
Kirstie Herb
Shawn Katterman
Jessica Markowitz
Renee Mikorski
Alexandra Muratore
Amy Neeren
Lisa Shank
Jena Shaw
Jason van Steenburgh
Karyn Tappe
Nicole Virzi
Samantha Winter
Ashley Witt