Our Team

Laboratory Director

Samantha Farris, Ph.D.

Farris

Dr. Samantha Farris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and is the Director of The Rutgers Emotion, Health and Behavior (REHAB) Laboratory. Dr. Farris received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at The University of Houston, and completed her psychology internship at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. She completed fellowships in cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and in cardiovascular behavioral medicine at The Miriam Hospital/Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Dr. Farris has published over 80 peer-reviewed publications and has received continuous funding for her research from the National Institutes of Health, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Cancer Institute; and National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Farris’ research focuses on understanding how and why stress and anxiety (i.e., worry, fear, panic) commonly co-occur with and contribute to problematic health behaviors and chronic disease. There is recognition that major health disparities exist in the prevalence and consequences of preventable chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancers) in individuals with high levels of stress and anxiety; however, the psychological processes underlying these health inequalities are not understood. Dr. Farris and The REHAB Laboratory utilize an experimental therapeutics approach to (a) identify fearful thoughts and reactions to stress/anxiety (“cognitive and emotional risk factors”) that contribute to health behaviors and physical disease, (b) isolate how these risk factors influence health behaviors “in real time” through use of laboratory methodologies, and in turn (c) develop tailored interventions that target these risk factors to promote health behavior change and prevent the onset or progression of chronic disease.

Laboratory Manager

Anagha Babu, B.A.

ABme

Anagha earned her B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Johns Hopkins University. After spending years working in finance, Anagha decided to transition careers and plans to pursue obtaining her PhD in Clinical Psychology. Before joining The REHAB Laboratory as Lab Manager, Anagha worked in our lab as a Research Assistant primarily supporting our intervention research on patients in cardiac rehabilitation, integrating a Mind-Body perspective into improvement of mental and physical health in a clinical population. Her primary research interest is emotion dysregulation in physical illnesses and women's health.

 

 

Graduate Students

Mindy Kibbey, B.A.

Mindy is a second-year graduate student in the Rutgers University Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, under the mentorship of Dr. Farris. Mindy is interested in developing and testing interventions to support meaningful living and positive behavior change in people with chronic medical illness and/or cognitive-affective vulnerabilities. She’s exploring acceptance-based approaches that harness people’s personal values to enhance willingness to engage in the (sometimes hard) work of getting healthier. Mindy serves as a clinician in the Behavioral Exposure for Interoceptive Tolerance (BE-FIT) intervention study promoting physical activity in patients engaged in cardiac rehabilitation. She’s also a facilitator of behavioral health and wellness groups for patients with cardiometabolic risk.

 

 Jacqueline Smith, M.S.

Jacqueline is a first-year graduate student in the Rutgers University Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, under the mentorship of Dr. Farris. She earned her master's degree in behavioral and social health sciences from Brown University and her bachelor's degree in psychology with a clinical concentration from Boston College. Her work thus far has primarily focused on biopsychosocial predictors of chronic pain in young women with endometriosis as well as emotion dysregulation in cigarette smoking and marijuana vaping. Her primary interests are women's health, emotion regulation, and health behaviors. Jacqueline plans to continue to research emotion dysregulation and maladaptive health behaviors to better inform future intervention approaches. 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Rosen, B.S. 

rosenRachel is a fourth-year graduate student in the Rutgers University Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, under the mentorship of Dr. Marc Steinberg. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Rachel earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and subsequently worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There, she served as a coordinator on two NIAAA-funded studies investingating adaptations of alcohol behavioral couple therapy for service members and veterans. At Rutgers, in her primary research lab, Rachel is working on a NIDA-funded study looking at enhancing task persistence among smokers with schizophrenia. More broadly, Rachel is interested in understanding how different risk and protective factors (e.g. co-occuring health and mental conditions, stigma, self-efficacy, motivation) influence treatment engagement and outcome among adults with tobacco and other substance use. In the REHAB Laboratory, Rachel is taking on a clinical role in diagnostic procedures for the Smoking Health Evaluation (SHE) study.

Kathryn Coniglio, M.S. 

Coniglio

 Kathryn is a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at Rutgers, under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Selby. Her primary research interests include the development of low-weight eating disorders and specifically how positive emotion dysregulation may contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. Kathryn's current program of research seeks to determine an empirically-derived method of defining and assessing pathological exercise by examining motivations for engaging in physical activity. Given Kathryn's research interest in exercise and health, she enjoys serving as a clinician in the REHAB lab's ongoing studies of exercise promotion for patients in cardiac rehabilitation.

 

 

 

 Erick Fedorenko, B.A.

EF photoErick is a PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program at Rutgers, under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Contrada. His primary interest is furthering our understanding the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders by using psychophysiology. In particular, he is interested in the neural and autonomic processes that undelie dysregulated emotion in anxiety. He has experience utilizing EEG, EKG, and salivary hormone assay methods. He is currently assisting in the REHAB lab as a clinician on the ongoing studies of exercise promotion for patients in cardiac rehabilitation.

 

 

 

 

Hannah Brinkman, B.A.

Hannah is a 2nd year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Rutgers University under the mentorship of Dr. Teresa Leyro. Hannah is interested in studying mechanisms related to the etiology and maintenance of comorbid substance use and psychiatric disorders with a primary focus on tobacco use and anxiety-pathology. Her research also seeks to explore how psychological and physiological stress processes interact and can increase one’s risk for engaging in maladaptive health behaviors. Her passion for this area of study stems from an array of clinical and research opportunities she pursued throughout her undergraduate career at Umass Amherst and post-baccalaureate employment experiences at Fordham University and the Trauma and Resilience Program at Mount Sinai. Hannah’s work in the REHAB lab includes providing clinical support to patients attending cardiac rehabilitation.

Research Assistants

 

  Neha Rao, B.A.

Neha completed her B.A. in Psychology at Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Psychology at Rutgers. Her research interests include studying different types of treatments for mood and anxiety disorders in women and children and the bi-directional relationship between mental health and the environment in a workplace. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology. The REHAB lab has been her first experience in a research laboratory and she looks forward to gaining more experience and knowledge that will help her in her future education and career.

 

 

 

 

 Keliang (Colin) Li, B.A.

 Keliang (Colin) received his B.A. in Psychology (Honors) from University at Buffalo, SUNY. Before joining the REHAB Lab, he worked with Dr. Michael Poulin and Dr. Lora Park from University at Buffalo, where he gained proficiency in utilizing Electrocardiography (ECG) and Impedance Cardiography (ICG), as well as measuring arterial blood pressure. His honors thesis examined the influence of different goal intentions on invisibility-based stigmatization. His research interests include psychological experiences of marginalized groups and how social factors such as stigma affect health functioning and outcomes. At the REHAB Lab, Colin primarily supports our Biofeedback Puff Topography research study.

 

 

 

 

 Tonai Crockett, B.A.

IMG 3572Tonai is a recent graduate of Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences, where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Dance. She is interested in the impact of chronic stress and anxiety disorders on women and children's health. Before joining the REHAB Lab, she served as a Research Assistant for the Interactive Virtual Training Lab for Early Career Teachers at Rutgers, as well as a Scholar for the Institute for Research on Women. Her goal is to pursue a joint M.D. and Ph.D. post graduation, but is currently enjoying gaining more research experience and knowledge about women's psychological health at the REHAB Lab!

 

 

 

 Georgia Garrow

Georgia is a senior at the SAS Honors College and Douglass Residential College pursuing a major in Psychology and minors in Biology and Health Administration. She previously worked as an RA in the Aston-Jones Lab investigating depression and anxiety during opiod withdrawal and is currently passionate about studying the relationship between mental and physical health, including exercise interventions to lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Her goal is to pursue a career in the field of mental health as a psychiatric nurse or a drug and alcohol counselor.

 

 

 

Alexandra Peterson, B.S.

Alex completed her B.S. in Psychology at Northeastern University, where she conducted research on expressive writing and cognitive psychology. Currently, Alex is a rising second year Master's student in the Applied Psychology program at GSAPP. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical and Health Psychology with the goal of working in an integrative healthcare setting, where she hopes to better serve individuals with chronic illness from a mental healthcare perspective.

 

 

 

 

Megan Heye, B.A.

 Megan earned her B.A in Psychology, with a specialization in biopsychology from The College of New Jersey.  Her primary research goal is looking at substance use across the lifespan narrowing in on major life events and how these life events impacted the rates of substance use disorder.  During her undergraduate career, Megan was the lab manager for the Emotion Lab at the College of New Jersey.  She worked on a project looking at the effects of microaggressions on anxiety and depression levels within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the effect of exercise on state anxiety levels and emotion regulation.  She intends to pursue a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology and hopes to work with patients suffering from dementia or traumatic brain injuries finding best treatment outcomes.

 

 

 

 

Shanzeh Nasir

Shanzeh is a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences,  majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Public Health. She is interested in studying depression and anxiety disorders from both biochemical and psychological perspectives. Since joining the REHAB Lab, she has also grown fascinated by the relationships between mental health and physical activity. As she explores career paths, she hopes to advocate for mental and physical wellness in underrepresented communities. This is Shanzeh’s first time working in a research laboratory, and she is looking forward to gaining experiences that will help her pursue her academic and professional goals.