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The PEP lab team is an interdisciplinary group of researchers and students who work together towards understanding positive emotional processes and their relevance for understanding adaptive and maladaptive mood and psychological-health outcomes.
Lab Photo Archive

Lab Director

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - People

June Gruber, Ph.D. (she/her)

June Gruber is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado and Director of the Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Laboratory, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Cognitive Science and Center for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Gruber is a licensed clinical psychologist and has published over 100 articles and chapters on positive emotion and psychopathology in bipolar disorder and related affective disorders. She has edited the Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology & Positive Emotion: Integrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides with Judith Moskowitz. Her work has been recognized by several early-career awards including the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award and the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, the Society for Research in Psychopathology's Early Career Award, and two NARSAD Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Gruber is an Associate Editor at Emotion and was previously an AE and Interim EIC at Perspectives on Psychological Science. Her teaching has been recognized by the Cogswell Award for Inspirational Instruction, Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Award in Teaching & Pedagogy and the UROP Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. For more info. see Dr. Gruber's webpage.

Lab Coordinator

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleNina Le, B.A., B.S. (she/her)

Nina Le is a professional research assistant for the YEARS study and lab coordinator for the PEP Lab. She graduated with a double major in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder Nina is interested in research related to depression, anxiety, and antidepressants. She is also interested in how positive emotions may negatively affect different mood disorders. Additionally, she is interested in these types of psychopathologies through the lens of neuroendocrinology and gastroenterology and how they may play a role in depression and anxiety. After graduating, she hopes to earn her PhD in a clinical psychology program. In her free time, she likes to sing/produce music with her brother, lift, and hang out with family and friends.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleEthan Robinson, B.A. (he/him)

Ethan Robinson is a professional research assistant for the YEARS study and research coordinator for Joshua Gowin (CU Anschutz) and the PEP Lab. Ethan received his B.A. in Psychology and a minor in theater while at CU Boulder. He plans to go to graduate school and get his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Afterward, he hopes to continue pursuing the exploration of research and psychotherapy. He became interested in how our positive emotions can still have a dark side to them. He is excited about the opportunities and is grateful to be a part of the PEP Lab. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends and family, and going skiing.

Graduate Students

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleCynthia Villanueva, M. A. (she/her)

Cynthia M. Villanueva is a 6th-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and graduate student in the PEP lab. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient. Her research interests focus on emotion-related processes in psychopathology, with a particular emphasis on examining individual differences in emotion language and emotion regulation in bipolar and unipolar mood disorders. She is also interested in how stigmas against talking about mental illness and expressed emotions may contribute to health inequities in minoritized communities.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleStevi Ibonie, M. A. (she/her)

Stevi Ibonie is a 4th-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and graduate student in the PEP Lab. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology and minor in counseling, clinical, and school psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Previously, Stevi worked with Professor Sheri Johnson, at UC Berkeley studying mood-disorders, where she developed an interest in how social relationships may influence the trajectories of individuals with psychopathologies. Her interests focus on the influence of social functioning and relationships in mood and behavioral disorders. Stevi enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, such as stand up paddle-boarding, hiking, and gardening with the help of her cat.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleBryn Manns, B.A.Sc. (she/her)

Bryn is a 2nd-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and graduate student in the PEP Lab. She obtained her B.A.Sc. in Cognitive Science at McGill University and has recently been working on projects aimed at furthering quality of life and improving self-management strategies for those living with bipolar disorder. Her research interests concern emotional regulation processes and emotional experience in bipolar and unipolar mood disorders. She is especially interested in investigating how emotion regulation unfolds in naturalistic settings and how interoceptive processes may influence emotion regulation abilities. She hopes to use knowledge gained to inform actionable interventions for populations living with bipolar and major depressive disorders. In her spare time, Bryn is usually found dancing, hiking, camping, or doing photography!

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleLuiza Rosa, B.S., B.A. (she/her)

Luiza is a 2nd-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and graduate student in the PEP Lab and the CU Change Lab. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in Art. After attending cultural psychology class in her undergraduate degree combined with her international student status, Luiza started wondering about how different cultures express verbally and physically different emotional states and how that may affect diagnosis and symptoms of psychopathology. Thus, her main research interest is how different cultural backgrounds (country of origin, ethnicity, race, religion, and so on) can affect and explain why we feel the way we feel. In her free time, Luiza enjoys painting, drawing, eating new foods and hanging out with her cat.

Research Assistants

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJuliana Czar

Juliana is a senior at CU Boulder pursuing her BA in psychology and a certificate in public health. She is pursuing her senior thesis in the PEP lab and received a UROP Individual Grant to support her research. After graduating she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and continue exploring her interests in mood disorders, emotion regulation, and personal narrative in emerging adults. She is very grateful for the opportunities the PEP lab has given her and is excited to have received a UROP grant to work on her honors thesis this year. She is very passionate about mental health and combating the stigmatization surrounding clinical populations. In her free time, she enjoys live music, writing, and spending time outdoors!

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleManuel Alvarez

Manny is a senior and honors student in the PEP Lab actively pursuing a double bachelors degree in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. His fascination stems from the intersection between neuro and psych, and of the two way street that arises between your psyche and the underlying neuropsychic mechanisms. Upon graduating from CU Boulder, I plan on earning a PhD with the ultimate goal of being a Research Professor. When I'm not nerding out and getting lost in the sauce on all things brain related, I like to spend time on whatever my latest project is! Which at this time is the complete renovation of a school bus.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleRiya Bhalwal

Riya is a senior and honors student in the PEP Lab double-majoring in psychology and environmental studies. Riya is pursuing her honors thesis in the PEP lab. She is interested in criminal psychopathy and its intersection with behavioural disorders. It’s also important for her to challenge the lack of diversity in the field and ensure representation for all. After graduation, she plans to get a PhD in clinical psychology and hopes to eventually become a criminal behavioural analyst. —

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleKaitlin Tollefson

Kaitlyn Tollefson is a junior at CU Boulder pursuing a BA in psychology with a certificate in public health. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a license to prescribe and further specialization in the public health field. Kaitlyn plans to focus on psychological research, treatment, and using policy change and community action to address the lack of access to mental healthcare. She is passionate about the integration of social connection as a protective factor against mental illness and exploring lifestyle approaches to promote psychological and whole body wellbeing, particularly as it applies to mood and personality disorders. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, working on mental health public policy initiatives, listening to audiobooks, and practicing circus arts.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleNataly Alderete Avila

Nataly is a new member of the PEP Lab and SURF Fellowship recipient this Summer 2024. Stay tuned!

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleSoni Chacon

Soni Chacon recently graduated from CU Boulder and is a research assistant in the PEP Lab.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleGeorgie Laws

Georgie Laws recently graduated from CU Boulder, double majoring in psychology and neuroscience. She hopes to pursue a clinical PsyD and work one-on-one with people with extreme mental states. She then wants to get her prescribing license to become a prescribing psychologist. She is also passionate about nutrition and gut-brain interaction. Georgie is passionate about learning how positive emotions can have a profound negative impact on people with disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and other disorders alike. This passion is what brought Georgie to the lab. She loves to hike, cook, spend time with friends and family, and volunteer in her free time.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAnsel & Silvan Gruber-Saucedo

Ansel and Silvan are Boulder natives and the youngest members of the PEP lab. They are deemed high on sociability and approach related positive affectivity, and current projects include enhancing emodiversity and optimizing emotion regulation skillsets. They have been known to offer advice about mixed emotions and engage in art as a medium of emotion expression in the lab.

Current Collaborators

Paulo Boggio – Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Sao Paulo, Brazil
McKell Carter – University of Colorado Boulder
Wil Cunningham – University of Toronto
Sidney D'Mello – University of Colorado Boulder
Brett Ford – University of Toronto
James Gross – Stanford University
Sheri Johnson – UC Berkeley
Dacher Keltner – UC Berkeley
Hedy Kober – Yale University
Kateri McRae – University of Denver
Iris Mauss – UC Berkeley
Greg Murray – Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Jordi Quoidbach – ESADE
Maya Tamir – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Diana Tamir – Princeton University
Jeanne Tsai – Stanford University
David Watson – University of Notre Dame
Lauren Weinstock – Brown University
Eric Youngstrom – UNC Chapel Hill
Jamil Zaki – Stanford University

Lab Alumni

University of Colorado Boulder (Recent Alumni): Amanda Rodriguez (undergrad), Ivanna Grizelj (undergrad), Ali Raza (graduate student), Rachael Hargrove (thesis student and post-bac research assistant), Tripti Kathuria (postdoctoral researcher), Juli Joachimsthaler (thesis student), Marqus Avalos, Sophia Gardinier, Elizabeth Hoelscher (thesis student, UROP recipient), Rachael Hargrove (thesis student), Isabel Hunt (high school volunteer), Madeleine Billings (undergrad), Lilla Kovacs (visiting Fulbright Scholar), Montana Ploe (thesis student, UROP recipient) Jade Musinger (thesis student, UROP recipient), Gabrielle Kizeev (UROP recipient), Reid Boyce (UROP recipient), Alexandra Teague (thesis student), Stephanie Yu (thesis student, BSI scholar), Jalen Tompkins (undergrad), Heather Brown (undergrad, UROP recipient), Emily Burr (post-bac), Zachary Anderson (post-bac), Alexa Cotler (visiting undergrad), Jennie Jaggers (post-bac), Annaliese Scheer (post-bac), Prianca Thirumalai (post-bac), Liza Silverman (post-bac), Chloe Plaisance (undergrad), Hannah Milad (post-bac), Sophia Mehrota (undergrad), Patton Loop (undergrad), Anny Dow (co-thesis student, Yale w/Greg Samanez-Larkin), Corinne Sejourne (co-thesis student, Brown w/Lauren Weinstock), Sarah Hagerty (affiliated grad, primary Hutchison), Yoni Ashar (affiliated grad, primary Wager/Dimidjian), Marianne Reddan (affiliated grad, primary Wager), Hollis Karoly (affiliated grad, primary Hutchison), Emily Jensen (affiliated grad, primary D’Mello), Lucca Elroy (affiliated grad, primary D’Mello), Yael Millgram (affiliated grad, primary Tamir), Elizabeth Lemon (affiliatd grad, primary Dimidjian), William Abe (undergrad), Ellie Johnson (undergrad), Rachel Karasik (thesis student, UROP fellowship).

Yale University: Sunny Dutra (grad), Kirsten Gilbert (grad), Hillary Devlin (grad), Aleena Hay (grad), Amanda Purcell (grad and former lab manager), Hannah Raila (grad), Victoria Webb (affiliated grad), Jonathan Phillips (affiliated grad), Yoona Kang (affiliated grad), Vera Vine (affiliated grad), Elizabeth Tepe (affiliated grad), John Purcell (RA and former lab manager), Elizabeth Reeves (thesis student and lab manager), Adam Fields (thesis student), Franziska Goer (thesis student), Gregory Barnett (thesis student), Winfield Call (thesis student), Barbara Paradis (thesis student), Sohini Bandy (thesis student), Cristina Ruiz (thesis student), Anjali Ambani, Grace Bang, Tamara Beetham, Benjamin Billingsley, Victor Bloch, Evan Bragdon, Madeleine Broder, Cecilia Brown, Margaret Brown, Caroline Carns, Alexsandr Chandra, Francesca Coxe, Laura Dietman, Marcus Dilallo, Anny Dow, Andrew Duarte, Nicole Ellerbeck, Avtalya Feldman, Joseph Fernandez, Cody Fisher, Kristina Foster, Carter Funkhouser, Reuben Hendler, Benjamin Herron, Andrew Hill, Regina Hitchery, Faisal Syed Hussaini, Zachary Kafoglis, Natalie Lapides, Melissa Lavoie, Haikel Lim, Rowan Lockery, Nora Loughry, Bo Malin-Mayor, Payal Marathe, Ishtiaq Mawla, Christie Musket, Ashley Norris, Tiffany Pang, Emily Pfannenstiel, Vivian Phelan, Tatiana Piskyla, Jenna Poggi, John Purcell, Whitney Quackenbush, Amy Rodriguez, Jessica Rosenthal, Corinne Ruth, Julia Salinger, Jacob Saslow, Faith Schombs, Vina Seelam, Corinne Sejourne, Celinda Smith, Marlene Thompson, Nora Thompson, Daniel Turcza, Manuel Valle, Ellery Wiebe, Vicky Zhang.


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