Lab Director

Eva Telzer, Ph.D.

Email: | CV | Publications

Eva Telzer is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UCLA in 2012. Her research examines how social and cultural processes shape adolescent brain development, with a focus on both prosocial and risk-taking behaviors, family and peer relationships, and long-term psychological well-being. She has authored over 100 publications, and has received numerous awards for her work, including a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, a Jacobs Foundation Early Career Research Fellowship, an Early Career Award from the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Boyd McCandless Award for Early Career Contribution to Developmental Psychology from the American Psychological Association Division 7, and was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and National Institute of Mental Health. In her free time she enjoys drawing biological illustrations, hiking with her dog, and reading.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

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.

Caitlin Turpyn, Ph.D.

Caitlin Turpyn is a postdoctoral fellow in the DSNLab. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from George Mason University and completed her clinical internship at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Broadly, Caitlin is interested in affective processes in the family context and their impact on adolescent risk behaviors, particularly substance use initiation and development. With this work, she hopes to inform and optimize parent and family-based prevention targeted to mitigate risk for youth substance use.

Graduate Students


Ethan McCormick, M.A.
Email: emccormick | Website

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 sixth-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.

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 fifth-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 second-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 second-year a graduate student in the developmental psychology program. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017 and worked as a Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her research examines how social influences shape reward- and affective-processes in adolescents, and how these ultimately impact behavior and psychopathology.

Research Staff


Emily Watlington, B.S.

Emily Watlington is a Project Coordinator for Project NeuroTeen. She was born and raised in Houston where she graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Anthropology and Quantitative Social Science. Emily plans on pursuing a PhD in Social Neuroscience where she can research the neural correlates of social connection (how and why we connect with others) and social pain (i.e., social rejection, loss of a loved one, loneliness). In her free time, she likes being outdoors, playing with dogs, listening to music, and rooting for the Astros (Go ‘Stros!).

Rosario Villa, B.A.


Rosario Villa is a Project Coordinator for Project NeuroTeen. She graduated from UNC in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology and a minor in Latinx Studies. Rosario plans to pursue a PhD in Child Psychology, specifically relating to the development of minority children. She hopes to bring awareness to underrepresented communities in the field. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, listening to music, enjoying good local restaurants, and catching up on good shows!

Emily Bibby, B.A.


Emily Bibby is the Lab Manager for the DSN Lab. She is from Brooklyn, NY and graduated from Binghamton University in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.Mus. in Voice Performance. Emily plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology, specifically hoping to study intimate relationships and the misperception of sexual interest. In her free time, she enjoys running and exercising, going to concerts, playing board games, and cooking.


Melissa Burroughs, B.S.


Melissa Burroughs is the Assistant Lab Manager for the DSN Lab. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Melissa hopes to transition into public health and eventually be involved with creating and implementing policies to better serve those impacted by drug addiction or mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, watching Carolina basketball, and spending time with family.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Kelsey Smith
Alexandra Gray
Alex Pettus
Olesya Iosipchuk
Glorimel Rodriguez
Lucy McClellan
Hannah Netschytailo


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

Eva Telzer