Research Assistants


Chrissy Sandman

Chrissy is a postbac senior research assistant in the READ lab. She is interested broadly in mind-body interactions, metacognitive emotion regulation, and clinical applications of cognitive affective science in mood disorders. Before joining the lab in 2015, she worked as a research assistant at the NIH on a project that used fMRI and psychophysiology to investigate how expectations shape fear conditioning. In 2014 Chrissy earned her B.A. from New York University, where she designed an interdisciplinary major, “Emotion in the Mind-Body Problem” that combined neuroscience, psychology, philosophy. When she is not doing science, she is also a musician.



Alex Hope

Alex is a senior post-bacc research assistant who joined the READ Lab in 2015. Hailing from Canada, he completed a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Alberta in 2014 where he examined neural processes supporting working memory in the developing brain. Broadly, Alex’s research interests revolve around neural and cognitive-behavioral indices of treatment personalization and efficacy in anxiety and mood disorders, mechanisms of mindfulness-based interventions, and individual differences in emotion regulation strategy selection and implementation. His current project explores fluctuations in baseline cardiac activity over the course of Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT). In his spare time he also enjoys meditating, playing hockey, taking ping-pong seriously, and exploring New York City.



Phillip Spaeth

Phillip joined the READ Lab as a research assistant in the Spring of 2016. He is an undergraduate CUNY BA student, focusing his studies on psychology, philosophy, and religion. He was recently awarded the Thomas W. Smith Fellowship for academic excellence. Areas of interest include affective science, clinical interventions for mood disorders, empathy, and the psychology of artists and creative people. Along with being a full-time student and an RA in the lab, Phillip performs eight shows per week on Broadway and works as a photographer.




Hana Lee

Hana earned her BA in Psychology from Hunter College in 2016. She joined the READ Lab as a postbac RA to understand the onset and development of mood and anxiety disorders. Hana is interested in using psychophysiological measures to identify and examine early risk factors of depression and anxiety and investigate the biological and psychological processes that can be targeted for intervention and prevention. When Hana is not in the Read Lab, she can be found working on her research project on decision making among pain patients in the ED at the New York Presbyterian-Queens, TA-ing at Hunter College, or binge watching the Travel Channel.



Alba DelaCruz

Alba is a research assistant who became a member of the READ Lab in the summer of 2016. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Economics. Her research interests include the study of bereavement, trauma, grief, and loss within the geriatric community, how psychophysiological testing measures can potentially be used to measure adjustment rates after loss, and the effects of emotion on cognition following traumatic events. After graduation she has plans of pursing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Geriatrics. When she is not in the lab you can find Alba listening to 18th century classical music while exploring New York City.



Elena Byrne

Elena is an undergraduate at Hunter College studying Psychology. She joined the READ lab because she wanted to expand her knowledge in different types of psycho-physiological tests and how they can be used to determine different levels of anxiety. Elena is interested in the physiological effects of stress and anxiety on the body and brain, particularly in the effects of long-term stress, such as in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also interested in how different forms of therapy change the way the body reacts to anxiety. When Elena is not in the READ lab she can be found researching the effects of stress response in the hippocampus of rats, as well as interning at Lenox Hill Hospital’s psychiatric facility, where she assists in creative arts group therapies. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and traveling. After graduation Elena intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.



Keryn Kleiman

Keryn joined the lab as a postbac research assistant in the summer of 2016. She previously worked as an observational coding extern at the Family Translational Research Group at NYU. She has a BA in ethnomusicology from Barnard College at Columbia University, where she conducted research on Jewish musical traditions in Moldova under a Tow Scholarship. Keryn is interested in studying how anxiety and mood disorders can be better treated through integrative therapies combining elements of cognitive behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness. She plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on anxiety disorders and depression. When not in the lab, Keryn spends her time working as a recruitment researcher for a hedge fund and performing Eastern European folk violin music.



Jannatun Ferdowsi

Jannatun is a post-bacc research assistant who became a member of the lab in Spring of 2017. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Hunter College in Spring of 2016. Jannatun plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include the cognitive functioning of suicidal adolescents and the specific life events that lead them to have suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts. In addition to working in the lab, Jannatun volunteers as a Crisis Counselor on Crisis Text Line, where she brings texters to a calm state through the use of validation and emotional support. When Jannatun is not working in the lab, she spends time watching horror movies and dancing to Zumba workouts.