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Faculty and Staff

"Millions of people struggle with eating- and health-related concerns on a daily basis and these struggles profoundly impact psychological and health-related quality of life. The WELL Center pulls together scientific experts from multiple disciplines to develop, test, and implement cutting edge behavioral and technology-based interventions to promote healthier lifestyles. I am excited to be a part of a dynamic and far-reaching effort to improve the health—and the livesof members of our community and across the world."

- Evan Forman, PhD

Faculty & Staff



Evan Forman

Evan Forman, PhD; Director
evan.forman@drexel.eduFaculty Profile | Vita

Evan Forman received his BA from Cornell University and his PhD from the University of Rochester. He completed clinical internships and fellowships at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the University of Pennsylvania and the Beck Institute. Currently he serves as professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and WELL Center Director. He has interests in the development, evaluation and dissemination of innovative behavioral and technology-based interventions for health behavior change.

Meghan Butryn

Meghan Butryn, PhD; Director of Research
mlb34@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile | Vita

Meghan Butryn received her BS from Cornell University, and her PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel University. She completed her clinical internship at Brown Medical School. Currently she is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her primary research interests are innovations in behavioral approaches to obesity treatment and prevention; developing interventions for physical activity promotion; and disseminating evidence-based eating disorders prevention programs.

Adrienne Juarascio

Adrienne Juarascio, PhD; Director of Training
asj32@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Adrienne Juarascio, PhD, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel University. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her research is focused on the identification of factors that maintain eating pathology (e.g. emotion dysregulation, altered reward responsivity, impulsivity) that are inadequately targeted in existing treatment approaches and the development of novel treatment approaches that can better target these maintenance factors.

WELL Center Assistant Research Professor Stephanie Manasse

Stephanie Manasse, PhD; Director of the Child and Adolescent Program; Director of the mPOWER program
smm522@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Stephanie Manasse, PhD, received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University. She is the Director of the mPOWER program, a summer fellowship for underrepresented minority trainees who wish to pursue research careers. Her research program is centered around developing novel treatments for adolescents and adults with eating and weight disorders, with a particular focus on improving self-regulation. She also is particularly interested in discovering maintenance factors (e.g., neurocognitive, affective, sleep-related) of disordered eating behavior that can serve as novel intervention targets.

Paakhi Srivastava, PhD

Paakhi Srivastava, PhD; Core Faculty
ps887@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Paakhi Srivastava earned her PhD from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India in Clinical Psychology. She has received postdoctoral training at the WELL Center, Drexel University. She is interested in identifying modifiable cognitive and emotional factors that maintain transdiagnostic binge eating disorders. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the role of body image disturbances in maintaining transdiagnostic binge eating. She is also interested in developing novel treatments, and treatment augmentations such as digital health technology tools to improve body image disturbances in individuals with eating disorders. Her current project involves development and examination of a smartphone application that is designed to deliver interventions to improve body dissatisfaction in real-time to individuals with transdiagnostic binge eating. Paakhi is also the Chair of Career and Professional Development Committee for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the Drexel Postdoctoral Association. She is interested in building and implementing resources for career, personal and professional development of postdoctoral fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences field.

WELL Center Assistant Research Professor Erica Schulte, PhD

Erica LaFata, PhD; Core Faculty
es3344@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile | Vita [PDF]

Erica LaFata, PhD, earned her B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. LaFata completed a predoctoral internship at the Medical University of South Carolina and a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania. Her program of research applies a cutting-edge perspective to understanding overeating and obesity by examining 1) which foods or food attributes (e.g., sugar) may be reinforcing in a manner that directly drives overeating, 2) whether core mechanisms of addictive disorders (e.g., withdrawal) may contribute to eating-related problems for vulnerable individuals, and 3) how food addiction may be a useful construct for individualized interventions. LaFata has investigated these empirical questions using a multi-method approach, including neuroimaging, scale development, food consumption paradigms, and self-report.

WELL Center Postdoctoral Fellow Charlotte Hagerman

Charlotte Hagerman, PhD; Core Faculty
cjh427@drexel.edu

Charlotte Hagerman grew up in Street, Maryland and received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington. In 2021, she received her PhD in Applied Social Psychology at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C, where she studied under Dr. Michelle Stock. Charlotte's research examines the social psychological influences of health behavior, with a focus on weight management. She is especially interested in research that can inform interventions to promote healthy eating and self-weighing while mitigating the harmful effects of weight stigma. In her spare time, Charlotte enjoys singing and traveling.

Drexel Assistant Professor of Computer Science Santiago Ontanon

Santiago Ontañón, PhD; Affiliated Faculty
santi@cs.drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Santiago Ontañón's research focus lies in the intersection of artificial intelligence, computer games, machine learning and case-based reasoning. He has published over 90 scientific articles in these areas. Previous to joining Drexel University, he spent three years at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral researcher, and two years as a researcher at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA) in Barcelona, Spain.

Zoe Zhang

Zoe Zhang, PhD; Affiliated Faculty
fengqing.zhang@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile | Vita [PDF]

Zoe Zhang, PhD, is a statistician with interests in neuroimaging data analysis and quantitative research methods including hierarchical models, multivariate analysis, generalized linear models, data mining, and Bayesian modeling. She is particularly passionate about statistical modeling and methodological development for social, behavioral, and biomedical related problems. She obtained her PhD in Statistics at Northwestern University, and is currently a faculty member in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Dani Arigo, WELL-Center-Affiliated Faculty

Dani Arigo, PhD; Affiliated Faculty
arigo@rowan.edu | Faculty Profile | Vita [PDF]

Dani Arigo received her BS from Drexel University and her PhD in clinical psychology from Syracuse University. She is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Rowan University and holds appointments with the Department of Family Medicine at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. The overarching goals of her research program are to better understand psychological and social influences on health behaviors such as physical activity and dietary intake, and to effectively harness these influences in digital health behavior change interventions. A critical component of this program is differentiating stable, person-level relations from those that vary within-person (e.g., at the day or moment levels). Her current work focuses on (1) understanding within-person relations between social perceptions and physical activity engagement among midlife women with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, and (2) tailoring the social features of digital physical activity interventions to meet the needs of this population. She has worked closely with WELL Center investigators on these and related research topics since 2012.

deeptha-sukumar

Deeptha Sukumar, PhD; Affiliated Faculty
ds3235@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Deeptha Sukumar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. After completing her initial training in India including a Masters in Foods and Nutrition, she obtained her PhD from Rutgers University in Nutritional Biochemistry. The overarching goal of her research is to understand the interplay between bone metabolism and energy metabolism. Her research focuses on how biomarkers i.e hormones and proteins inherent to bone metabolism influence obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Her current interests are in understanding whether novel dietary interventions can influence bone-regulating hormones, body weight and composition, bone mineral density, pro-inflammatory cytokines and energy metabolism.

brandy-joe-milliron

Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD; Affiliated Faculty
bm645@drexel.edu | Faculty Profile

Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Nutrition Sciences in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, and faculty affiliate of the Drexel Food Lab. Her research focuses on developing nutrition and wellness interventions to prevent and manage complex chronic health conditions, including cancer and end stage kidney disease. She is especially passionate about improving nutrition and health among family caregivers through interventions that enhance caregiver preparedness and encourage wellness behaviors. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, she employs a formative approach to intervention development supported by identifying beliefs, behaviors, challenges and needs of individuals and families.

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Michael Machado; Operations and Administrative Manager
mm572@drexel.edu

Michael Machado is the Operations and Administrative Manager for the WELL Center. In this role he manages the administrative, facilities, and financial aspects of the Center. He has been with Drexel, in various financial and operations roles, for a number of years.


Postdoctoral Fellows



WELL Center Postdoc Mallory Frayn, PhD

Mallory Frayn, PhD
mf3286@drexel.edu | Vita [PDF]

Mallory is a Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow in the WELL Center at Drexel working with Dr. Adrienne Juarascio, where she provides treatment to individuals with binge eating and other eating disorders. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University and for her doctoral dissertation she studied emotional eating and its relationship to weight outcomes. Her clinical experience has included the treatment of eating disorders, disordered eating, and obesity in both individual and group contexts. Mallory practices within an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) frame. Her research interests include using qualitative methodologies to better understand disordered eating processes.

Margaret Sala

Margaret Sala, PhD
ms5276@drexel.edu | Vita [PDF]

Margaret Sala received her BS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Southern Methodist University, and her clinical internship training from the Connecticut VA in West Haven. Margaret Sala's research interests focus on understanding the role that mindfulness plays in promoting adaptive eating and exercise behaviors and alleviating eating pathology.

WELL Center Postdoctoral Fellow Amani Piers

Amani Piers, PhD
adp84@drexel.edu

Amani Piers earned her B.S. in psychology and biology from Trinity University and her PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel University. She has received extensive clinical training in eating disorders and health psychology concerns through positions at the Drexel University WELL Center, the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program, and the University of California San Diego Eating Disorders Center. Her research interests span the interaction between biological and psychological factors on the development and maintenance of eating pathology.

 christina_hopkins

Christina Hopkins, PhD
cmh346@drexel.edu

Christina is a postdoctoral research fellow in the WELL Center working with Evan Forman. Christina received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duke University under the supervision of Gary Bennett, where she developed burgeoning expertise in using acceptance- and mindfulness-based therapies to treat internalized weight bias and other weight-related issues. Prior to graduate school, she worked at Penn's Center for Weight and Eating Disorders and the University of the Sciences' Health Behavior Research Lab. Christina hopes to build a program of research and clinical work that combines acceptance- and mindfulness-based practice, trauma-informed principles, and digital tools to increase access to evidence-based psychotherapies and improve health and well-being for all. You can stay up to date on Christina's research on her website at www.christinamhopkins.com.


WELL Clinic Staff



Drexel WELL Clinic Interim Director Paakhi Srivastava

Paakhi Srivastava, PhD
WELL Clinic Interim Director
ps887@drexel.edu

Paakhi Srivastava earned her PhD from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India in Clinical Psychology. She has received postdoctoral training at the WELL Center, Drexel University. Srivastava’s line of research involves 1) developing novel treatment approaches for eating disorders, and 2) the use of technology to a) increase dissemination of evidence-based treatments to individuals with eating disorders who may otherwise never receive treatment, and b) enhance existing evidence based-treatments for eating disorders to increase the efficacy of these approaches. In the past few years, Paakhi Srivastava, PhD, has dedicated her research efforts on understanding the role of body image dissatisfaction in maintaining binge eating spectrum disorders. She has also developed novel self-help treatment delivered via self-help website and smartphone application to improve dissemination of evidence-based treatment for body image disturbances in women with binge eating spectrum disorders. Paakhi is also the Chair of Career and Professional Development Committee for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the Drexel Postdoctoral Association. She is interested in building and implementing resources for career, personal and professional development of postdoctoral fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences field.

Drexel WELL Clinic Staff Member Danielle Kerns

Danielle Kerns Clauss, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
danielle.kerns@drexel.edu

Danielle received her BA from The College of New Jersey and her PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel University. She completed her clinical internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She is currently an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Danielle has worked in the areas of health psychology and behavioral medicine for the past ten years, providing empirically supported behavioral health treatment to military service members, veterans and individuals with chronic medical conditions. She has also worked in the area of weight management for the past five years, providing behavioral interventions for obesity as part of the research teams led by Meghan Butryn, PhD, and Evan Forman, PhD.

WELL Clinic Staff Psychologist Catherine Dubaillou

Catherine Dubaillou, PsyD
Staff Psychologist
csd28@drexel.edu

Catherine Dubaillou received her PsyD in clinical psychology from the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University and her MA in Art Therapy from Drexel University. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship and worked for several years at The Renfrew Center’s residential program in Philadelphia providing specialized treatment to women struggling with eating disorders, body image issues and co-occurring mental health issues. Over the past 20 years, Catherine has worked in a variety of clinicals settings and has provided therapeutic services to families, couples, children and adults from various cultural backgrounds and levels of functioning. She takes a relational approach to therapy, grounded in psychodynamic and interpersonal theories, while integrating motivational interviewing, DBT and CBT skills-based interventions. Her areas of interest include eating disorders, body image issues, trauma, interpersonal issues, and cultural adjustment. Catherine is bilingual in French and English.

Marirose Benedict

Marirose Benedict, M.Ed, MPS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
mb4386@drexel.edu

Marirose Benedict is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in athletic training, sport, and exercise psychology, and is trained in treating nutritional and weight related disorders. She earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Temple University, as well as a master's degree in nutritional sciences from Penn State University. She began her career working with children, adolescents, and adults with depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues and has a depth of experience treating food addiction and weight disorders. Marirose also specializes in trauma, addiction, and communication barriers in relationships. Marirose is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, and will incorporate this into the therapeutic process to help reframe unhelpful thoughts and behavioral patterns. Marirose believes in building strong relationships with her clients, and is passionate about helping others to overcome obstacles in their personal and professional lives.


Research Staff



WELL Center Research Assistant Emily Lufburrow

Emily Lufburrow
ehl28@drexel.edu

Emily Lufburrow received her B.S. in neuroscience with a minor in mathematics from Bates College in 2019. During her senior year, Emily worked with The Dempsey Center, a community organization providing services for those managing the impacts of cancer, to complete her thesis on the efficacy and mechanisms of acupuncture for cancer patients’ pain management. Emily is now a rising second year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine and is particularly interested in the ways in which patient’s can alter their diets and physical activity to combat disease as a treatment unto itself.

WELL Center Research Coordinator Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller
nam365@drexel.edu

Nicole Miller is a research coordinator for Meghan Butryn, PhD, working primarily on Project FitLink. She graduated from The George Washington University in 2021 and holds a B.A. in Psychological & Brain Science and Criminal Justice. During her time at GWU, Nicole worked as a research assistant under Dr. Michelle Stock in the Health Cognitions and Behaviors Lab and earned a psychology department grant for her independent research regarding the impacts of COVID-19 related stress on weight-related behaviors. She also conducted psychometric assessments as an intern at the Pine Rest Psychological Consultation Center. Nicole’s research interests lie at the intersection of social and clinical psychology. She is particularly interested in how social factors impact the development of negative weight-related behaviors. After her time at the WELL Center, Nicole hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

WELL Center Research Coordinator Zhuoran Huang

Zhuoran Huang
zh424@drexel.edu

Zhuoran Huang is a research coordinator for Evan Forman, PhD, working primarily on ReLearn. He graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Computer Science. As an undergraduate, he worked as a research assistant in the Lab for the Developing Mind, which investigates children's cognitive developmental process, and worked closely with a project that compared infants' and AI's performance on several agency reasoning tasks. He is interested in studying how to deliver evidence-based behavioral interventions through computerized technology to communities, especially children and adolescents. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

WELL Center Research Coordinator Francesca Knudsen

Francesca Knudsen
fk365@drexel.edu

Francesca Knudsen is a research coordinator for Dr. Meghan Butryn, working primarily on Project Health. She is a recent graduate from Lehigh University where she double-majored in Psychology and Health, Medicine, & Society. She has been a RA in two labs at Lehigh that focused on examining parent-child communication about health topics and race. Francesca also conducted a Senior Honors Thesis which explored the usefulness of the Advice Response Theory in understanding how emerging adults respond to parental advice about alcohol use. Francesca is excited to expand her research experience within Health Psychology topics and is generally interested in the way that mental health and physical health affect one another, especially in the presence of obesity and eating disorders. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

brighid_fitzpatrick

Brighid Fitzpatrick
blf49@drexel.edu

Brighid Fitzpatrick is a research coordinator for Dr. Stephanie Manasse, working on Project REACH and Project MOMENT. She holds an A.B. in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated summa cum laude. During her undergraduate career, Brighid worked as a teaching assistant for Research Methods and Statistics. She completed an honors thesis under the mentorship of Dr. W. Dustin Albert entitled: “Presentation of Genetic Liability for Anorexia Nervosa in Early Adolescence: Anorexia and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms”. Additionally, she volunteered as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Diego Fernandez-Duque at Villanova University. Her research interests include the biopsychosocial mechanisms that influence the development and maintenance of eating disorders. She is particularly interested in treatments targeting these mechanisms and preventative strategies for those at risk for developing pathological eating problems. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

mike_onu

Michael Onu
mo654@drexel.edu

Michael is a research coordinator in the WELL Center. He received B.S in exercise science with a minor in psychology at Rowan University in 2021. Michael served as a research assistant in two labs during his undergraduate studies. Including the Interaction Design and Engineering for Advanced Systems lab and a biomechanics lab which work led him to co-authored a peer-reviewed article titled, Compressed Gas Actuated Knee Assistive Exoskeleton for Slip-Induced Fall Prevention During Human Walking. After graduation, Michael joined the Health and Behavior and Integrative Treatments lab at Rowan University and worked on Re-Connect, a novel smartphone-based smoking cessation intervention. His research interest is in health behavior change and developing interventions that support individuals living a healthier lifestyle. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 nikoo_karbassi

Nikoo Karbassi
nk853@drexel.edu

Nikoo Karbassi is a research coordinator for Evan Forman, Ph.D., and Adrienne Juarascio, Ph.D., working on projects Activate, COMPASS, and CBT+. In 2022, she graduated with honors from Princeton University, earning a B.A. in Sociology and a certificate in Statistics and Machine Learning. During her time at Princeton, Nikoo completed two year-long independent research projects. For her junior paper, she studied the association between social isolation in early childhood and social media use in adolescence. For her senior thesis, Nikoo examined the structures of emerging, cooperative gig-work platforms. Nikoo worked as a research associate for the American Voices Project at Stanford's Center for Poverty and Inequality and as a research assistant for Princeton's Human-Computer Interaction Lab. She was also a teaching assistant for an introductory data science course. While at the WELL Center, Nikoo is excited to gain more experience in clinical psychology research and practices. Nikoo plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

devyn_riddle 

Devyn Riddle
drr84@drexel.edu

Devyn is a research coordinator for Dr. Adrienne Juarascio, working primarily on the Balancing ACT and COMPASS/CBT+ projects. Devyn graduated with honors from Lehigh University in 2022, earning a B.A. in psychology with minors in Probability & Statistics and Spanish. Devyn worked in two different labs while at Lehigh. One examined the efficacy of teaching applied behavior analysis to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the other investigated how racial biases are transmitted from parents to children. Devyn also completed a senior thesis that explored whether providing college students with the frame of non-death loss and giving them a constructive, open space for exploring this idea changes the way that they process and grieve non-death loss experiences. Devyn plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

 rachel_sinex

Rachel Sinex
rhs63@drexel.edu

Rachel Sinex is a research coordinator for Adrienne Juarascio, PhD, working primarily on Project Compass. She received BAs in Psychology and Peace and Conflict studies with high honors from Swarthmore College in 2022. During her time at Swarthmore, Rachel worked with Dr. Jedidiah Siev as a research assistant for the Swarthmore O.C.D., anxiety, and related disorders (SOAR) lab where she was involved in a diversity of projects, including a study investigating a mobile application intervention for body image. Her honors thesis examined psychophysiological reactions, specifically respiratory pauses, in the context of specific phobia exposure. Rachel’s research interests include treatment development and prevention of body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders in adolescent and adult populations. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

 sashi_kala_govier

Sashi Govier
skg89@drexel.edu

Sashi Govier is a research coordinator for Adrienne Juarascio, Ph.D., working primarily on Project CBT+. Sashi graduated with a B.S. in Psychology with honors from the University of Washington in 2022. As an undergraduate student, Sashi worked in the George Lab as a research assistant for Project RAD; a study that aimed to investigate predictors of intimate partner violence perpetration in young adult relationships, with an emphasis on the effects of substance use and emotion regulation. Similarly, Sashi fulfilled duties as research coordinator for the Body Image and Blindness Study led by Dr. Noam Weinbach, Ph.D. and Dr. Eric Stice, Ph.D., which evaluated implicit anti-fat attitudes and body image perceptions among blind and sighted female cohorts. In addition to research, Sashi treasures her experience working as a phone helpline volunteer for the National Eating Disorders Association. In the future, Sashi plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and to contribute to eating disorder prevention, treatment and recovery.