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Faculty and Staff

The WELL Center

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.

Faculty Research Labs

Core Faculty

  Contact Summary
Evan Forman
Director, Center for Weight Eating and Lifestyle Science (WELL Center)
Curriculum Vitae

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
Professor; Associate Department Head
Curriculum Vitae

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.

Charlotte J. Hagerman, PhD
Assistant Research Professor
Curriculum Vitae

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.

Adrienne Juarascio
Director, Practicum Training; Director of Training, Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Sciences Center; Associate Professor
Curriculum Vitae

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 Erica Schulte
Assistant Research Professor
Curriculum Vitae

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.

Drexel Psychology Doctoral Student Stephanie Manasse
Assistant Professor; Director, MS and Accelerated BS/MS in Psychology Programs; Director, mPOWER Program (WELL Center); Director, Child and Adolescent Program (WELL Center)
Curriculum Vitae

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.

Paakha Srivastava, PhD - Drexel University WELL Center
Assistant Research Professor

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.

Affiliated Faculty

  Contact Summary
Danielle Arigo, PhD, Associate Professor, Rowan University and Affiliated Professor with the Drexel WELL Center
Affiliated Faculty

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.

Kristal Lyn Brown, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor

Kristal Lyn Brown, PhD, MSPH, is an assistant professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions; she also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Community Health and Prevention in the Dornsife School of Public Health. By training, Dr. Brown is an interdisciplinary health equity scholar—her work sits at the intersection of stress, obesity, and disordered eating. Dr. Brown graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a BS in biology pre-med. She earned her Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, before completing a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine. Dr. Brown completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine in 2023.

Brandy-Joe Milliron
Associate Professor

Brandy-Joe Milliron's research focuses on developing community-based nutrition and wellness interventions to prevent and manage chronic disease and improve family caregiver health, with a focus on understudied populations and cancer survivorship. While she has a broad background in obesity prevention and management, her current research explores the ways in which nutrition, wellness and healing behaviors promote healthy disease survivorship and caregiver health. Her research also focuses on designing better nutrition programs by improving our understanding of how people’s interactions with their environment affect their nutrition-related behaviors.

Santiago Ontanon
Affiliated Faculty

Dr. 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.

Amani Piers, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and postdoctoral researcher with Drexel's WELL Center
Clinical Psychologist

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. She is currently working as a study clinician for Project ReLearn.

Deeptha Sukumar
Associate Professor, Assistant Director, PhD Program in Nutrition Sciences

Deeptha Sukumar, PhD, joined faculty in the Department of Nutrition Sciences as an assistant professor in September 2013. After completing her initial training in India, she moved to the U.S. and obtained a PhD from Rutgers University. Her doctoral and postdoctoral work largely focused on examining the relationship of obesity and weight reduction with bone metabolism. Her research has been published in several top impact journals such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Annual Reviews of Nutrition and Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Sukumar is the recipient of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Young Investigator award in 2011.

Zoe Zhang
Associate Professor of Psychology

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.

Postdoctoral Fellows

  Contact Summary
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, WELL Center

Olivia is a postdoctoral clinical fellow at the WELL Clinic. Olivia received her B.S. in psychology and theater from Northwestern University, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Long Island University, Brooklyn. Her graduate research focused on the effects of food insecurity severity and body dissatisfaction on bulimic symptoms, with a focus on shame and dietary restraint as mediating factors. She has received clinical training in eating disorder treatment through a position at the Mount Sinai Eating and Weight Disorder Program. Prior to graduate school, she worked at a residential treatment center for eating disorders and as a meal support coach for patients stepping down from residential care.


WELL Clinic Staff

Meet the WELL Clinic Team


WELL Center Staff

  Contact Summary
Operations and Administrative Manager

Lisa Goldberg is the Operations Manager at the WELL Center. With a focus on process improvement and efficiency, she helps the WELL Center run smoothly, allowing researchers to concentrate on their ground-breaking work and fostering the growth of the clinic. Lisa earned her MA in Psychology from the College of William & Mary, conducting research in the Eating Behavior & Child Development Center. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Vermont. Lisa brings a wealth of experience working in eating disorder treatment facilities, including program management at the residential and IOP/PHP levels of care.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

Chloe Hessler is a research coordinator for Erica LaFata, Ph.D., working primarily on Project Response (1K23DK129825-01A1). Chloe graduated summa cum laude from The College of New Jersey with a B.A. in Psychology. During her time at TCNJ, Chloe spent four semesters with Ashley Borders, Ph.D., in the Cognitive Outcomes and Processes Lab conducting both collaborative and independent research. She collaborated with her peers in running a study that aimed to understand anger rumination and its correlates, and she independently designed a study that examined the relationships between rumination, stress, and binge eating. In addition, Chloe completed her senior honors thesis in Fall 2021, which focused on creating a metacognitive model for food addiction. Her research interests have always focused on understanding eating disorders and, more recently, the idea of processed foods as an addictive substance. In the future, Chloe aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

Asher graduated with honors from Rutgers University New Brunswick with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant for the ABUSA and REHAB labs at the Rutgers Addiction-Health Behavior Center where she assisted various studies that broadly spanned anxiety and substance use disorders. She also interned at the Children’s Specialized Hospital where she completed her senior project which evaluated the effectiveness of a novel, multidisciplinary program for diabetes control in pediatric patients. Asher also dedicated a majority of her undergraduate years to the Rutgers Undergraduate Research Journal (RURJ) for which she served as the Program Director, and published the cutting edge research conducted at the university to strengthen the undergraduate research community. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and she is determined to do work that helps others achieve their best physical and mental health outcomes through the integration of public health principles and psychological research.

WELL Center Research Coordinator Zhuoran Huang
Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

Sydney Kong is a research coordinator for Dr. Paakhi Srivastava. Sydney graduated in 2 years from UCLA with a B.A. in Psychology Summa Cum Laude and Departmental Honors. During her time at UCLA, Sydney spent a year with Janet Tomiyama, Ph.D., in the DiSH Lab conducting independent research for her senior honors thesis. Her research focused on characterizing weight stigma resilience and understanding how weight stigma manifests in everyday life. She also presented her study as a poster at the UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, and Association for Psychological Science convention. Sydney plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology.

WELL Center Research Assistant Emily Lufburrow
Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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
Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

Jannah expects to graduate summa cum laude from Oregon State University in June 2023 with a honors B.S. in Psychology and a minor in writing. Throughout her undergrad, she worked in three research labs investigating 1) self-regulation and school readiness in children, 2) depression and suicide in adolescents, and 3) judgment and decision making. Through these labs, Jannah had the opportunity to examine self-regulation differences for her honors thesis, co-develop a smartphone-delivered mindfulness intervention to address worry and rumination for teens, collaborate on a safety planning tool for those at high risk of suicide, and help develop materials for an undergraduate course on judgment and decision making. Her involvement in these labs has ultimately shaped her interest in the role cognitive processes play on harmful behaviors such as non-suicidal self injury and maladaptive eating. She is excited to work with technology-based interventions for binge-spectrum eating disorders, particularly in the hopes of increasing accessibility to treatment for marginalized groups. In the future, Jannah hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, where she wants to focus her research on the role of cognitive processes in suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, and eating disorders.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.

Research Coordinator, WELL Center

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.