Segerstrom Lab


Trainees in the Segerstrom Lab have diverse interests within health psychology, although most are interested in aspects of self-regulation, aging, or both.  From left to right, we are:

Elana Gloger (2nd year PhD student). I am a recent graduate of Ohio University where I received my B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Biological Sciences. My experience in neuropsychological research and a class in psychoneuroimmunology led me to Dr. Segerstrom’s lab. My research interests involve investigating the mind-brain-body connection, specifically, how differences in the immune and endocrine systems may affect stress, self-regulation, repetitive thought, and women’s health in adult populations. In my free time I enjoy cooking, running, local coffee shops, and catching up on my latest TV show obsessions (currently: Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale).

Karen Lawrence, PhD (collaborating researcher). I am a collaborating researcher with the Segerstrom Lab and an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Work. My background is interdisciplinary and includes a PhD in neuroscience and an MSW in mental health social work. The goal of my research program is to improve mental health outcomes in traumatized populations and advance understanding of the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to trauma-related pathologies to improve prevention and treatment. With the Segerstrom Lab, I am investigating associations between executive functioning and biomarkers of inflammation during aging in older adults and the relationship between early-life socioeconomic context and the frequency of positive versus negative life events in aging adults, potential mediators, and sex-specific differences. Dr. Segerstrom is mentoring my career development proposal involving a psychoneuroimmunological approach to understanding biopsychosocial factors underlying trauma-related symptomatology in later life.

Stephanie Judge (3rd year PhD student). Having accumulated post-baccalaureate research experience in psychology and rheumatology, I came to University of Kentucky to combine my love of both fields by joining Dr. Segerstrom's psychoneuroimmunology lab. The current focus of my research is exploring biopsychosocial influences on pain and pain interference across various pain conditions. For my masters thesis I investigated the effects of personality (optimism) and daily activity on pain interference. Going forward, I plan to compare biopsychosocial factors influencing central sensitization and pain interference across various pain populations. In my free time, I enjoy sewing, baking, learning new languages, and gardening. My husband and I love living in Lexington, and our German Shepherd loves romping around the Bluegrass.

Rebecca Reed, PhD (postdoctoral fellow). I am a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Segerstrom’s Psychoneuroimmunology Lab and co-mentored by Dr. Charles Lutz in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics. I completed my PhD in Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona, with an emphasis in quantitative methods. In my research, I investigate what and how dynamic emotional processes contribute to health and well-being in two contexts that may generate stress: close relationships and aging. My University Research Postdoctoral Fellowship award provided me additional training in immunosenescence (aging of the immune system), and biopsychosocial factors that may slow or reverse immunosenescence in older adults. I am now supported by a K99 Pathways to Independence Award to study emotion and immunosenescence.

Kate Leger, PhD (collaborating researcher). I am a collaborating researcher with the Segerstrom Lab and a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. I completed my PhD in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. My research examines how people’s emotional responses to stress impacts their physical health across the adult life span. I am interested in the effects of emotions that linger after a stressor is over, and I examine the impact of these emotional responses on health behaviors and outcomes such as sleep, disease development, and physiological functioning. I employ a multi-method approach, using naturalistic longitudinal designs and lab-based experimental studies to assess physical health as a life-long process that is influenced by a culmination of emotional experiences to daily events.

Natasha Garcia (6th year PhD student). Dr. Segerstrom and Dr. Berry are my co-mentors. I am interested in cognitive change and psychological well-being in aging populations and individuals with with neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, I have an interest in helping those with chronic illness, neurodegenerative disease, and caregivers cope with distress. My recent research focuses on purpose in life and quality of life in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and their caregivers. I chose to study at the University of Kentucky based on shared research interests with my mentors, high caliber training with the Clinical Scientist model, secure funding, and diverse clinical training opportunities. Outside of graduate school I enjoy yoga, craft beer, hiking, and canoeing.

Jessica Rivera-Rivera (4th year PhD student). My early training in psychology and public health motivated me to pursue a career in clinical health psychology. I decided to move from Puerto Rico to Lexington KY because the clinical psychology program at UK provides a great variety of high quality research and clinical training in health psychology -- and this is in addition to providing a very supportive environment to graduate students. Although my main research interest is in cancer survivorship (under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Burris), my broader interest in health psychology, social functioning, and older adults led me to augment my training via work in Dr. Segerstrom’s Lab. Within the area of cancer survivorship, I am interested in psychosocial factors that influence how cancer survivors and their supporters cope after a cancer diagnosis. Additionally, I have a special interest in conducting research that addresses the health effects of social inequalities. Outside of research, I enjoy running, dancing, and trying new restaurants.

Anita Adams (1st year PhD student) During my post-baccalaureate experience, I gained a wide array of research and clinical experience in psychology that cemented my desire to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. I come from a primarily developmental psychology background from my undergraduate research experience at North Carolina State University, and after graduation, I sought out clinical and research experiences that involved working with older adult, middle adult, and child populations with diagnoses such as dementia, hormonally-impacted depression (specifically, perimenopausal depression), and autism. I was enamored with the University of Kentucky and particularly Dr. Segerstrom’s lab due to the potential for high-quality and ample research and clinical experience and training in my preferred area of interest. My research and clinical interests lay at the intersection of aging, health, emotion, and personality traits on the normal and abnormal spectrum. More specifically, I am interested in personality trait and disorder development across the lifespan and specifically how external (e.g., SES, culture) and internal (e.g., emotion regulation/understanding, health) factors impact and potentially alter personality trait and disorder development. In my free time, I am avidly involved in “geek” culture. I enjoy playing video games, watching anime, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and cosplaying (e.g., dressing up in costume as a character from some form of media but most often anime and video games). I also love to video edit, read novels from the Victorian Era, and write fantasy-genre short stories and novels.

Lab alumni:

Jay Castaneda, PhD.  Faculty, Georgetown College.

Alyssa Averill, PhD.  Social and Emotional Learning Specialist, Pencils of Promise.

Lise Solberg Nes, PhD.  Faculty, University of Oslo.

Abbey Roach, PhD.  Director of Psychology and Neuropsychology, Frazier Rehabilitation Institute.

Sarah (McQueary) Flynn, PhD.  Faculty, University of the Cumberlands.

Daniel Evans, PhD.  Faculty, University of Washington School of Medicine.

Tory Eisenlohr-Moul, PhD.  Faculty, University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine.

Jaime Hardy, PhD.  Private practice, Lexington, KY.

Hannah Combs, PhD. Postdoctoral scholar, Baylor University.

Paul Geiger, PhD. Postdoctoral fellow, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Ian Boggero, PhD. Postdoctoral scholar, University of Cincinnati.

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