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Our lab could not function effectively without the contributions of undergraduate and Post-Bac Research Assistants from Emory, Atlanta, and the SURE, SIRE and BRAIN program initiatives. Pictured above is part of our research team from the fall of 2021.

People in the Lab

Patricia Brennan, Ph.D.

Patricia A. Brennan, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and a member of the Clinical Psychology Program. She received her BS in Psychology from UMASS Amherst, and her MA and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Professor Brennan has been the PI or Co-I on several large scale, NIH funded longitudinal studies that have examined stress as well as perinatal and familial risk factors in association with children's cognitive development, emotional reactivity,

sleep function, psychopathology and physical health outcomes.  She has a passion for multidisciplinary scientific efforts, mentoring, and teaching. Away from the office she enjoys walking the Atlanta Beltline, as well as exploring local markets, craft fairs, and festivals.

Julie Carroll, M.S.W.

Julie Carroll, M.S.W, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and the Research Projects Manager for the BUILD laboratory. Julie's research interests include perinatal factors related to maternal and child health, including mood disorders, prenatal teratogenic drug exposure, and stress. Currently, she manages the NIMH-funded study on the gut-brain axis in African American infants. Prior to working in the BUILD lab, she worked as a clinician in high-risk prenatal clinics, labor and delivery units, and neo-natal intensive care units at hospitals in northern California.

She has also coordinated school-age research studies at the Marcus Autism Center. She earned a Master of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley with a concentration in Health.

Primary Collaborators
Elizabeth Corwin, PhD, RN

Elizabeth Corwin is the Vice Dean of Strategic and Innovative Research in the School of Nursing at Columbia University. Dr. Corwin received her PhD in Physiology from the University of Michigan Medical School, later becoming a nurse

and a family nurse practitioner. As Associate Dean of Emory University's School of Nursing, Dr. Corwin contributed to the transformation of the School’s research enterprise, resulting in Emory University ranking in the top five of all Schools of Nursing in the country in NIH funding for the last three years in a row, and 4th in the country in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report.

Anne Dunlop, MD, MPH

Dr. Dunlop is a public health oriented family physician whose work focuses on understanding and addressing factors that drive racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy and birth outcomes in the United States.  She has over sixteen years of experience in clinical and epidemiologic assessments of preterm

birth and pregnancy and child health outcomes among African American mother-child dyads. During the last four years, she has led the Emory evaluation team for the Taking Care of You initiative and prior to that led the Promising Approaches for Reducing Infant Mortality Initiative. Her on-going and past research and evaluation work has focused on defining women’s preconception and interconception health care, integrating preconception and primary health care, health policy approaches for improving the receipt of evidence-based care among disadvantaged populations, and understanding biobehavioral factors that shape the woman’s pregnancy microbiome and its impact on risks for sexually transmitted infection, preterm birth, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.  

Brittany Robinson, PhD

Brittany Robinson, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology.  Broadly, her research and consultation role within the BUILD Lab focuses on a longitudinal study exploring the effects of prenatal exposure to

psychiatric medications and pre- and postnatal exposure to maternal psychopathology. Dr. Robinson earned her Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and then completed her graduate work at Emory University and clinical internship at Columbia University Medical Center. After attaining her doctoral degree, Dr. Robinson joined the faculty at Mercer University's Department of Psychology. Currently, Dr. Robinson trains BUILD Lab graduate students to administer the SCID and collaborates on publications resulting from related studies. 

Research Staff
Constance Wilson, B.S.

Constance Wilson is a Lead Research Specialist and part of the Atlanta ECHO Study. She graduated from Georgia State University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Through the NIH-funded MARC program, Constance worked in the FEELINGS Lab while she was an undergraduate. Constance also gained experience as a RBT with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder before joining the Atlanta ECHO team.She aims to enter a clinical psychology program where 

Sarah Kim, B.S. 

Sarah Kim is a Senior Research Interviewer for the Atlanta ECHO Study. She graduated from Emory University in 2022 with a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Chemistry. Before becoming a staff member, Sarah worked in the BUILD Lab as an undergraduate researcher and completed an honors thesis on maternal childhood maltreatment, mother-child synchrony, and parenting behaviors. She is currently taking her gap year before medical school and hopes to learn more

about the factors contributing to health disparities. After work, Sarah likes to do craft projects and take a walk in nature.

she plans to study African American childhood adversity and its impacts. Her career goal is to inform interventions for the communities that shaped her. In her spare time, Constance enjoys time with family and wellness activities like yoga.

Anissa Hernandez, B.A. 

Anissa Hernandez joined the Atlanta ECHO Study in 2019 as a Senior Research Interviewer, and is now a Lead Research Specialist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Gender Studies in 2017. Anissa is currently pursuing her Master’s of Social Work degree at Georgia State University while working for ECHO full time. She is interested in maternal mental health, PTSD in women of color and LGBTQ+ youth, and risk factors for domestic violence in Latinx communities. Once she graduates, her

ultimate goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serve a diverse community of clients, including those who speak Spanish. In her spare time, she loves cooking, walking the beltline with her boyfriend and sweet Goldendoodle, and candlemaking. 

Estefani Ignacio Gallegos, M.P.H.

Estefani Ignacio Gallegos is a Research Manager for the Atlanta ECHO Study. She received her Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Biological Sciences and Public Health from Connecticut College in 2016. Recently, she received her Master's of Public Health at Emory University with a concentration in prevention science. During her time at Emory, Estefani has worked on various research projects related to heat illnesses in Florida and Georgia's agricultural workers, the effectiveness of portable indoor air cleaners for removal of indoor

pollutants and associated biomarker change, and the analysis of household pollutants in house dust in Atlanta. These experiences have given her the skills to oversee research activities, guide all functions related to nationally-funded research studies, and conduct data collection in various settings across multiple communities. Estefani has a variety of research interests ranging from how the environment affects maternal and child health, improving access to healthcare in the Latinx community, and implementing culturally-humbled data collection protocols in the field of public health. During her spare time, Estefani enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to Mexico (her homeland), and trying new foods.

Graduate Students
Brooke McKenna, M.A.

Brooke McKenna is a sixth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Biology. While at UNC, she worked in the Peer Relations Lab studying the effects of interpersonal stress on depression, self-injury, and other health-risk behaviors. She then spent two years at the University of Iowa’s molecular psychiatry department examining the genetic and metabolic factors

that contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders. In the BUILD Lab, Brooke’s research focuses on the interplay between biological factors (e.g., genetics, gut microbiome) and environmental influences (e.g., childhood trauma, chronic stress) that contribute to developmental psychopathology within and across generations. She is also a 2019 recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In her free time, Brooke enjoys yoga, sand volleyball, exploring local restaurants, and going on hikes with her pup.

Elle Johnson, M.A.

Elle is a fifth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She graduated from the City College of New York in 2017 with a B.A in Psychology. At CCNY she worked as a research assistant in the Attention and Neuropsych-ological lab studying the relationship between ADHD and Obesity. She also worked at the Child Mind Institute providing treatment to children with ADHD, Selective Mutism and other behavioral disorders. After graduating, she joined the Applied Developmental Psychology Lab at the University of Cambridge

to examine the efficacy of interview protocol for victims of domestic violence. Elle is interested in exploring the relationship between resilience, environmental stress factors and the development of mood disorders in individuals who have faced repetitive traumas or live in high-stress environments. In her free time, Elle loves to explore different cities, learn different languages, listen to music, and eat good food.

Melissa Engel, M.A.

Melissa Engel is a fifth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She received her BA in Psychology from Emory in 2017, where she worked as a research assistant in both the BUILD Lab and at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Melissa then spent two years at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her MA in Developmental Psychology in 2019. Her research focuses on pediatric chronic illness through a developmental psychopathology framework, with particular emphases on

psychobiological mechanisms, stress, and resilience. Some of Melissa's recent projects have examined somatic complaints throughout childhood, anxiety and depression in youth with epilepsy, and early life stress and inflammation in adolescence. Melissa is also a certified yoga teacher and is currently writing a memoir. 

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Chaela Nutor, M.A.

Chaela is a third year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Chaela then spent two years at the Yale Child Study Center as a Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience research fellow where she closely examined health disparities in autism spectrum disorder. With her research, she aims to better understand the environmental factors that lead to disparities in child development. She is also a 2020 recipient of a NIH Diversity 

Supplement grant for the ECHO consortium. Outside of research, she enjoys exercising, dancing, and trying new foods.

Nia Barbee, M.A.

Nia Barbee is a third year student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She received her BA in Psychology from Columbia University in 2018, where she worked as a research assistant in the TAUB Institute of Alzheimer’s Research at the Columbia University Medical Center. Nia then spent two years at the University of Southern California, where she worked as the lab manager of the Neuroendocrinology of Social Ties lab. Her overall research goal is to increase literature on the African

American community and decrease health disparities. Nia is specifically interested in how prenatal stressors are related to mother’s sleep quality and how that is related to postpartum outcomes. In her free time, Nia enjoys traveling, learning how to powerlift, and trying out new recipes.

Jocelyn Stanfield, B.A.
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Jocelyn is a first year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Emory in 2020. Jocelyn then joined Dr. Laura Stroud’s lab at Brown University. There, she continued her research on substance use during pregnancy and examined sociocultural factors that may play a role in this behavior. As a graduate student, Jocelyn seeks to investigate how perinatal adversity influences the mental wellbeing of Black women and their children. She is also a recipient of the 2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In her

free time, Jocelyn enjoys long-distance running, traveling, reading, and spending time with friends.

Undergraduate Students

**SURE student

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Sabra Rich


Natalie Kuzniecky


Elena Mavromatis


Chenhao Li


Bea Amorim**

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