Lab Director

Eva Telzer, Ph.D.

Email: |CV| Publications

Eva TelzerEva Telzer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UCLA. Her research centers around adolescent development and the role the brain plays during this important transitional period. Her research takes a multimethod approach including the use of fMRI, daily diaries, and diurnal cortisol. She has authored over 100 publications, and has received numerous awards for her work, including a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, a Jacobs Young Scholars Grant, an SRA Early Career Award, and was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.  Her research is supported by the NSF and NIH. In her free time she enjoys drawing biological illustrations, hiking with her dog, and reading good books.


Post-Doctoral Fellows

Christy Rogers, Ph.D.

Email: CV

Christy Rogers HollifieldChristy Rogers is a postdoctoral fellow who graduated with her Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis. She is interested in the influence of sibling relationships on risk-taking behavior and emotional well-being across adolescence, and how the brain plays a role in these associations. Christy investigates multiple levels of sibling influence using various methods: video-taped interaction observations, questionnaires, and brain activation via fMRI. Christy enjoys camping around North Carolina, swimming in the Atlantic, and having solo dance parties.

Natasha Duell, Ph.D.


Natasha Duell is a postdoctoral fellow at UNC’s Center for Developmental Science. She received her Ph.D. in (developmental) psychology from Temple University under the mentorship of Dr. Larry Steinberg. Natasha is generally interested in the psychological and neural mechanisms undergirding adolescent decision-making and risk taking. Her most recent work explores the construct of positive risk taking in adolescence: what it is, how to measure it, and to what extent it benefits adolescents’ well-being. Additionally, Natasha’s work in this domain explores the shared and unique psychological, social, and neural correlates of positive and negative risk taking.

Graduate Students


Ethan McCormick, M.A.

Email: emccormick

Ethan McCormick received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Arkansas and MA in Psychology from the University of Illinois. He is a fifth-year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program. He is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. His primary research interest involves exploring how the brain adapts to its environment in an experience-dependent manner. He is interested in examining this question on two different levels: over the course of learning and skill acquisition, and across development. This line of research contributes to our understanding of how changes in the environment drive mechanisms of neural flexibility and plasticity.

Paul Sharp, Ph.D.

Email: | Personal website

Paul SharpPaul Sharp recently received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology and will be graduating soon. He graduated with a B.A. in political science and psychology from Temple University’s honors college in 2013. For his first three years, he pursued a clinical psychology doctorate, studying the development of depression and anxiety. Having resolved that developmental neuroscience was his passion, he transferred into the developmental psychology track. The main focus of his research is to explicate the mechanisms that give rise to normative and pathological anxiety. To pursue this aim, he investigates how forms of anxiety can be explained algorithmically and how they are implemented in the brain.

Kathy Do, B.A.


Kathy Do received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from UCLA in 2013. Following graduation, she worked as a lab manager for Adriana Galvan at UCLA. She is currently a fourth-year graduate student in Developmental Psychology. Her research examines how interactions between the social environment and the developing brain can redirect adolescents away from risk-taking behaviors toward more prosocial behaviors. This work seeks to leverage our understanding of the developing brain to better inform youth-oriented public policy. Kathy is also engaged in several graduate diversity initiatives and local science outreach programs in order to help increase diversity in, and accessibility to, science.

Nathan Jorgensen, M.S.


Nathan Jorgensen is a first-year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program. Prior to coming to UNC, he received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Brigham Young University. His research examines how cultural values and beliefs influence the developing adolescent brain, with a focus on social information processing. Nathan grew up in Troy, MI. He enjoys running, good music, and being outdoors.


Seh-Joo Kwon, B.S.


Seh-Joo Kwon is a first-year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program. She is originally from Seoul, Korea, and has lived in 9 countries growing up (fun fact!) She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017, and following graduation, she worked as a Research Associate at Dr. Howard Aizenstein’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her primary research interest is how social experiences (i.e. peers, family, culture) shape affective development and social reward-processing in adolescents, and how these ultimately affect their behavior and mental health. To study this relationship, she uses biological methodologies including neuroimaging and cortisol.


Research Staff

Karee Jones, B.A.


Karee Jones is the Lab Manager for the DSNLab. He is from Philadelphia, PA, and completed his undergraduate studies at Penn State University Park in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. He is primarily (and particularly) fascinated with the mirror neuron system and its role during empathetic and sentence processing. Specifically, he is interested in the neuroscience of social media, the influence social media has on the cognitive and socio-emotional development across the lifespan, and how that influence affects real-world social contexts. Ultimately, he wants to pursue a Ph.D. in developmental social neuroscience (if that’s even a thing), and become a professor, educating students from all walks of life, and adding to the knowledge base with his research.

Virnaliz Jimenez, B.A.


ViviJimenezVirnaliz Jimenez is a Project Coordinator for Project NeuroTeen. She graduated from UNC in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Virnaliz plans on pursuing a PhD. in Psychology and is broadly interested in prevention programs and applied developmental psychology. In her free time she enjoys reading a good book, salsa dancing in the Triangle area, and trying out different restaurants.

Amanda Benjamin, B.A.


Amanda Benjamin is a Project Coordinator for Project NeuroTeen. She is from the DC-area, but moved to North Carolina after graduating from Elon University in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Public Health. Amanda hopes to continue studying the psychological, social, and genetic factors associated with healthy adolescent development, risk-taking, substance-use, and juvenile justice policy. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, exercising, and trying new foods and exploring new places.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Melissa Burroughs
Kelsey Smith
Lucy McClellan
Maddie Peloff
Hannah Herrick
Oriana Cardarelli

Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant(s)

Surabhi Swaminath


To see where our lab alumni are now, please visit our DSNLab Alumni page!

Eva Telzer