Mood disorders include depressive disorders and bipolar disorders. Much of our work focuses on understanding how mood disorders look in the brain and how to help.
SELF-INJURIOUS THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS
Self-injurious thoughts and behaviors include thoughts of suicide and self-harm as well as suicidal and non-suicidal behavior.
Some of our studies look at how specific treatments, like rumination-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (RF-CBT) helps people with mood disorders and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. We are also interested in how these treatments change the brain.
The MEND2 Lab has conducted research across the lifespan. Currently, many of our studies focus on teens because mood disorders and self-injury often begin around this time. By understanding and treating these challenges earlier, we might be more successful in reducing suffering. This is because the brain is more flexible in childhood and adolescence.
Professor, The Ohio State University
Adjunct Professor, University of Utah
Dr. Langenecker is a Professor, Neuropsychologist, and Vice Chair of Research within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Marquette University and has spent decades investigating neurobiological mechanisms of mood disorders in adolescents and adults.Dr. Langenecker’s CV
Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Dr. Westlund Schreiner is an Assistant Professor and Psychologist within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors and interventions in adolescents.Dr. Westlund Schreiner’s CV
Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Dr. Kaufman is an Assistant Professor and Psychologist within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Utah. Dr. Kaufman’s program of research focuses on interrupting pathogenic factors that contribute to self-inflicted injury (SII), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and suicide.Dr. Kaufman’s CV
Students and Staff
Maci Jacobson, BS
Maci Jacobson graduated with a BS in Neuroscience from Brigham Young University. Her interests in reward and motivation pathways has driven her to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Utah and to join the MEND2 Lab. Her motto is “I study how we work in order to maximize that work!” When she is not studying or in the lab, Maci loves watching and playing sports, reading Harry Potter with her husband, and spending time in the mountains.
Brian Farstead, BS
Brian is a Research Associate in the MEND2 Lab, who graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. He is involved in running and maintaining multiple lab studies. He is primarily interested in suicide prevention, symptomology of mood disorders, and executive function. Brian plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with the long-term goal of working with the Latinx community.
Myah Pazdera, MS
Myah is a Research Associate in the MEND2 Lab where she is involved in running and maintaining all lab studies. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a M.S. in Cognitive and Developmental Science. Myah is interested in prevention science, especially as it relates to development, trauma, and cognitive neuroscience among at-risk youth. In her free time, she enjoys being outside with her dogs.
Matthew Thompson, MPhil
Matthew is a Research Associate in the MEND2 lab where he is involved in running and managing data for multiple lab studies. He graduated from the University of Oslo with a MPhil in Cognitive Neuroscience. Matthew is interested in the neurobiological mechanisms of affect, especially in the context of mood disorders.
Anna is a Biomedical Engineering masters’ student at the University of Utah. In the MEND2 lab, she helps with data acquisition, analysis, and management for several studies. Anna is passionate about research into the biological basis of mood changes. She hopes to develop more personalized mental health medicine. Outside of research, Anna loves listening to music and roller skating.
Ava Alexander, BA
After graduating with a B.A. in psychology from Bowdoin College, Ava spent three years working for an integrated mental health team in the juvenile justice system in New York City. Her interest in trauma and mental health among at-risk youth then led her to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Utah, where she matriculated in 2021. Her current research is focused on reciprocal links between trauma, incarceration, and gang involvement among adolescents.
Undergraduate Research Associate
Raina is a Research Associate in the MEND2 Lab who is working on her B.S. in Psychology at University of Utah. She assists with multiple studies, particularly studies of self-injury and suicide. Raina is interested in self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, suicide prevention, and emotion dysregulation, and she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Raina loves coffee, music, and being outdoors
Leah Thomas, MS
Leah joined the MEND2 Lab in 2019. Leah’s research interests focus on the underlying risk and protective mechanisms in the development of mood disorders.
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