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RISK Laboratory




The RISK laboratory studies risk-taking behavior in young adults using a multiple-level-of-analysis perspective, spanning from genes to behavior and the social environment. We are particularly interested in examining integrative pathways to the outcomes of ADHD, conduct problems, and drug abuse. We also have a particular focus on better understanding sex differences in these pathways. For example, recent, emerging pilot data coming out of our laboratory suggests that young adult women are at increased risk for binge drinking at ovulation due to rapidly rising levels of estradiol, while women are at increased risk for inattentive ADHD symptoms just past ovulation due to rapidly declining levels of estradiol.

Aside from this recent young adult project, we have a number of other areas of active research inquiry that span from the prenatal period through young adulthood using the same multi-faced approach. Some recent areas of work that are currently ongoing in our laboratory, using archived and international data sets and advanced up-and-coming statistical and mathematical approaches, include:

-- development of more sophisticated approaches to cross-informant integration in assessment of ADHD across the lifespan

-- evaluation of the utility of personalizing treatment of ADHD based on child trait and cognitive profiles

-- identification of biological, temperament, and cognitive early developmental precursors to disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) from the prenatal period through preschool

-- determination of trait and symptom markers of common patterns of comorbidity from preschool into young adulthood

-- characterization of developmental change in pathways to DBD symptoms across development





Pevitr Bansal, M.S. --

Pev joined the RISK lab in Fall 2017. He completed his undergraduate degree at Penn State University-Abington College and his M.S. at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to enrolling as a graduate student at UK, he worked with Dr. Daniel Waschbusch in the Department of Psychiatry at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Pev is interested in the role of affect (e.g., irritability, callous-unemotional traits) in the development and treatment of conduct problems (CP; e.g., defiance, aggression, property destruction). His current programmatic line of research has explored how these affective traits, particularly callousness, relates to CP through various analytic approaches (e.g., multilevel modeling, network analysis). In the long term, he aims to apply etiological findings to (a) develop more accurate assessments for CP and (b) design more effective and personalized treatments to target the mechanisms underlying CP (e.g., emotion dysregulation, reduced empathy/guilt). 

**Pev is currently completing his clinical internship at the University of California, San Francisco**

Representative Publications/Presentations:

Bansal, P. S., Goh, P. K., Eng, A. G., Elkins, A. R., Thaxton, M. H., & Martel, M. M. (2021). Utility of the limited prosocial emotions specifier in preschoolers with conduct problems. Assessment. Advanced online publication.

Bansal, P. S., Goh, P. K., Eng, A. G., Elkins, A. R., Thaxton, M., Smith, T. E., & Martel, M. M. (2021). Identifying the inter-domain relations among ODD, CD, and CU traits in preschool children using network analysis. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 1-13.

Waxmonsky, J. G., Baweja, R., Bansal, P. S., & Waschbusch, D. A. (2021). A review of the evidence-base for the psychosocial treatment of emotion dysregulation in children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Clinics in North America, 30(3), 573-594.

Bansal, P. S., Goh, P. K., Lee, C. A., & Martel, M. M. (2020). Conceptualizations of callous – unemotional traits in preschool through confirmatory factor and network analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 48(4), 1 – 12.

Bansal, P. S., Haas, S. M., Willoughby, M. T., Coles, E. K., Pelham Jr., W. E., & Waschbusch, D. A. (2019). A pilot study of emotional response to time-out in children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. Psychological Reports. 10.1177/0033294119884014

Bansal, P. S., Waschbusch, D. A., Haas, S. M., Babinski, D. E., King, S., Andrade, B. F., & Willoughby, M. T. (2019). Effects of intensive behavioral treatment on children with varying levels of conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. Behavior Therapy. 50(1), 1 – 14.




Ashley Eng, M.A. –

View Ashley's CV

Ashley joined the RISK lab in Fall 2019. She completed her undergraduate work at Stonehill College and received her M.A. in Psychological Science from the Catholic University of America working with Dr. Brendan Rich. Ashley is broadly interested in the relationship between ADHD and hormones. Her current line of research seeks to explore post-ovulatory estrogen effects on ADHD symptoms and impairment across adolescence. In the long term, she aims to apply her findings to inform the assessment of ADHD and personalize the treatment of ADHD based on pubertal stage and/or cycle phase. In her free time, Ashley likes to take her dogs on hikes. 

Representative Publications/Presentations:

Eng, A. G., Phan, J. M., Shirtcliff, E. A., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Goh, P. K., & Martel, M. M. (Under Review). Aging and pubertal development differentially predict symptoms of ADHD, depression, and impairment in children and adolescents: An eight-year longitudinal study. 

Goh, P. K., Eng, A. G., Elkins, A. R., & Martel, M. M. (2021). Gender differences in ADHD comorbidity during adolescence: An understudied area in need of attention. The ADHD Report, 29(3), 1-10.

Martel, M. M., Eng, A. G., Bansal, P. S., Smith, T. E., Elkins, A. R., & Goh, P. K. (2021). Multiple informant average integration of ADHD symptom ratings predictive of concurrent and longitudinal impairment. Psychological Assessment.

Eng, A. G., Martel, M. M., & Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A. (2021, November). Longitudinal pubertal associations with ADHD and comorbid depression. Poster presented at the Harvard Women in Psychology Trends in Psychology Summit, Boston, MA. 



Anjeli Elkins, M.S. --

View Anjeli's CV

Anjeli joined the RISK lab in Fall 2020. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and received her M.S. in Pediatric Neuropsychology at Univeristy College London. Anjeli's doctoral research is focused on pre-natal and perinatal factors associated with suboptimal neurodevelopmental trajectories, with particular interest in identifying early markers of risk for developmental externalizing disorders and development of family-based early intervention programs. In her free time, Anjeli likes to try new restaurants, play with her puppy at the dog park, and ride horses.


Representative Publications/Presentations

      Elkins, A.R. & Martel, M.M. (in prep). Negative affect mediates the relationship between breastfeeding duration and disruptive behavior disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

      Elkins, A.R. & Martel, M.M. Breastfeeding duration and negative affect significantly predict neurodevelopmental- and disruptive behavior symptoms in preschool. (2023). Submitted to the Gatlinburg Conference, Kansas City, Kansas.

Martel, M. M., Elkins, A. R., Eng, A. G., Goh, P. K., Bansal, P. S., Smith-Thomas, T. E., ... & Nigg, J. T. (2022). Longitudinal Temperament Pathways to ADHD Between Childhood and Adolescence. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 1-12. 

Elkins, A.R. & Zickgraf, H. F. (2018). Picky eating and food neophobia: Resemblance and agreement in parent/young adult dyads. Appetite126, 36-42. 

Nahmias, A., Elkins, A.R., & Mandell, D. (2017). Preschool early intervention outcomes in different community-based settings for children with autism. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research, San Francisco, CA.  



Madeline Petersen, B.S. --

View Maddie's CV

Maddie joined the RISK lab in Fall 2022. She completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Iowa, where she completed her honors thesis under Dr. Molly Nikolas. While she was at University of Iowa, Maddie completed an honors thesis on how genetics can moderate contextual experiences that accompany economic stress or adverse childhood experiences to increase the risk of ADHD and comorbid conditions. Maddie's interests are now in the lifetime trajectory of disruptive behavior disorders along with comorbidity development. She is particularly interested in how girls and boys differentiate in their disorder development. In her free time, Maddie likes to checkout coffee shops, read, watch tv, and hang out with her cat. 




Urveesha Nirjar, M.A. --

View Urveesha's CV

Urveesha joined the RISK lab in Fall 2022. Before coming to the RISK lab, she completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Delhi in India in 2018 before continuing on to earn her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University in 2020. After completing her Masters, Urveesha worked under Dr. James Waxmonsky, Dr. Dara Babinski, and Dr. Dan Waschbusch in the Attention and Behavior Clinic Research Program at Penn State's College of Medicine. Urveesha has previously done research on examining externalizing behaviors and borderline personality features in children and adolescents. Broadly, Urveesha is interested in sex differences in externalizing behaviors as well as examining social and family functioning in children with ADHD, ODD, and CD. Outside of the lab, Ur

veesha spends her free time reading, listening to podcasts, and cooking.







Nina Monticello

Nina is a senior at UK and an undergraduate research assistant in the RISK lab. She is finishing her B.A. in Psychology and is applying to clinical psychology doctoral programs for the 2023 cycle. Nina’s research interests include Disruptive Behavioral Disorders in children and adolescents and their intersections with LGBTQ+ identities. Outside of the lab Nina enjoys drinking coffee, playing with her dog, listening to podcasts and reading.


Ashe Miller

Ashe is a senior at the University of Kentucky and an undergraduate research assistant in the RISK lab. He is currently finishing his B.S. in Psychology and plans to apply to doctoral programs in clinical psychology. Ashe’s research interests include developmental psychopathology, personality disorders, and PTSD. He is particularly interested in assessment, treatment, and improvement of long-term outcomes for people with comorbid ADHD. In his free time he enjoys being active outdoors, crafts, writing, and playing instruments.



Sierra Shirley

Sierra is a senior at UK and an undergraduate research assistant in the RISK lab. She is currently finishing her Bachelors in Psychology and plans on applying to a Masters program after she graduates. Sierra's research interests include parental stress and its influence on children as well as adolescent behavioral and developmental issues. In her free time, Sierra enjoys cooking and going on walks at the arboretum. 








Yancey Sizemore, B.A. --

View Yancey's CV

Yancey is a post-baccalaureate student and the RISK lab's research coordinator. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky. While in undergrad, Yancey did research under Dr. Jessica Burris, where she also completed her honors thesis. All of Yancey's research experience has been under the "chronic" umbrella, spanning from cancer to ADHD. Yancey plans to pursue her PhD in Clinical Psychology in order to continue her research chronic conditions and also to see clients. Outside of the lab, Yancey enjoys baking, cooking, local coffee shops, and thrifting.







Patrick Goh -- Currently an Assistant Professor at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in Honolulu, HI

Tess Smith-Thomas – Currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington, KY

Bethan Roberts – Currently at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa, FL

Monica Gremillion – Currently at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI