Welcome to the
MEND2 Lab!

Multifaceted Explorations of the Neurobiology of Depressive Disorders (MEND2)


Click here to learn more about our current studies and how you can volunteer to participate


Learn more about the MEND2 Lab


Have questions?  Want to talk to our lab?  Call us at 385-313-0039 or email utahmend2lab@gmail.com


Current Studies

Want to help make a difference? Check out the listing below to read about our ongoing studies and see if you may be eligible to participate!

About Us

The MEND2 laboratory uses biopsychosocial tools, including neuroimaging, performance, self-report and other-report, and blood and saliva assays in mood disorders. We use these tools to identify biomarkers to inform precision medicine, including diagnosis, risk, prevention/treatment selection, treatment effectiveness, and course modification.


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 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.


Scott Langenecker, PhD

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

Mindy Westlund Schreiner, PhD

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

Erin Kaufman, PhD

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

Graduate Student

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

Research Associate

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

Research Associate

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

Research Associate

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 Jacobsen

Research Associate

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

Independent Evaluator

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.

Raina Miller

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

Research Associate

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.

The information posted on this site is consistent with the research reviewed and approved by the University of Utah Institutional Review Board (IRB). However, the IRB has not reviewed all material posted on this site. Contact the IRB if you have questions regarding your rights as a research participant. Also contact the IRB if you have questions, complaint, or concerns which you do not feel you can discuss with the investigator. The University of Utah IRB may be reached by phone at (801) 581‐3655 or by e-mail at irb@hsc.utah.edu.