AUTOBIOGRAHPICAL SKETCH

I got my working papers and started my first job at the age of 13 as a dishwasher at the Mundo Grill in Rochester NY. After washing dishes for 6-months, I was promoted to busboy. Having gained this work experience, I got my next job working in the kitchen at Solstice Senior Living, before starting work as a busboy at Grinnell's Restaurant. I then worked at Grinnell's Restaurant for 9 years while attending high school and throughout my undergraduate studies before leaving to study abroad. At Grinnell's, I was eventually promoted to valet, waiter, and sauté chef. I am forever indebted to Dave Grinnell and Rick Dimitri, who were the best bosses that anyone could ask for. 

 

In 2006 I began my undergraduate studies at the State University of New York at Brockport, where I dual majored in psychology and philosophy. In the Department of Psychology, I owe thanks to Dr. Lori-Ann Forzona, who is an excellent instructor of research methods. In the Department of Philosophy, I benefited greatly from the guidance and friendships of Drs. Gordon Barnes and Georges Dicker. For my senior year, I studied abroad at the University of Oxford, focusing tutorials on personality psychology, philosophy of mind, and the history of modern philosophy. After obtaining my B.S. in 2010, I began work as a research assistant at the Mt. Hope Family Center. As a research assistant, I worked on a study investigating the impact of parental conflict and at-risk environments on preschool children’s coping and adjustment. At the Mt. Hope Family Center and the University of Rochester, I owe thanks to Drs. Patrick Davies, Melissa Sturge-Apple, and Mike Ripple.

 

In 2013 I began a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin co-advised by Drs. Elliot Tucker-Drob and K. Paige Harden. During my doctoral training, I developed expertise in applied statistics and became a core member of the Texas Twin Project. After obtaining my Ph.D. in 2017, I began a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Minnesota, working with Drs. Robert Krueger and Colin DeYoung. During this time, I also worked as a statistical consultant for the Center for Practice Transformation and taught research methods and statistics at Augsburg University. In 2020 I began working at Stony Brook University in the Department of Family, Population, and Preventative Medicine.

 

To date, my research has addressed a number of factors that contribute to mental health and well-being, including personality risk for antisocial behavior, particularly sensation seeking and callous-unemotional traits. More recently, I have been working on how to measure and quantify the impact of cumulative stress on physical health. I have also been exploring whether discrimination and demographic factors are associated with differential gene expression related to immune system functioning and modeling longitudinal patterns of behavioral impairments and psychiatric comorbidity in adulthood. Finally, I have been working with the World Trade Center Program using genetic data to conduct polygenic risk score analyses and Mendelian randomization studies of post-traumatic stress and cognitive impairment. In sum, I try my best to avoid intellectual and empirical pigeonholes by pursuing an interdisciplinary program of research that addresses a broad range of questions related to physical and mental health. 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Individual Differences

(e.g. cumulative stress, psychopathology, cognitive ability and impairment, physical health, well-being)

Applied Statistics

(e.g. longitudinal data analysis, structural equation modeling, item response theory) 

Behavioral Genetics

(e.g. twin and family studies, Mendelian randomization, polygenic risk scores)

COLLABORATORS

Lifespan Development Lab

Sean Clouston

Developmental Behavior 

Genetics Lab

Robert Krueger

DeYoung Personality Lab

Valerie Tiberius

Adolfo Cuevas 

IALSA

Aging Interest Group

WTC Health Program

Anthony Ong

Australia Twin Registry