Team

The BASE Lab is a supportive, passionate, and caring community of researchers who apply multiple perspectives and backgrounds to answer important questions about child development.

Click here to learn about joining our team!

Nicholas J. Wagner (he/him), Ph.D., PI/Director

Dr. Wagner is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University, and a faculty affiliate of the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science. Prior to joining BU, he was a research professor in Human Development and Quantitative Studies at the University of Maryland. He became interested in psychological research and developmental science as an undergraduate, but his passion for understanding the various factors that confer risk or promote healthy psychosocial adjustment in childhood truly emerged during his time teaching elementary school in Phoenix, AZ.

His research examines the processes through which biological and environmental factors promote psychosocial adaptation or contribute to the emergence of psychopathology. Cutting across the entirety of this program of research is an appreciation for the influence of family relationships and the social environment (e.g., peer relationships, school contexts) on patterns of adaptation and maladaptation. The driving aim of his program of research is to produce translatable knowledge to inform the creation and evaluation of methods for supporting children’s healthy emotional and behavioral development, as well as for preventing and ameliorating psychopathology.

Professor Wagner’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Development, and the National Science Foundation. He has received early career awards from the Society for Research in Child Development and the International Society for Research on Aggression, and the “Rising Star Award” from the Association for Psychological Science. He lives with his wife, four children, and dog outside Boston, MA. He enjoys traveling, hiking, and doing whatever his kids want to do!

Email: njwagner@bu.edu

NJWagner CV

Faculty Page        Research Gate        Google Scholar       Twitter

Nila Shakiba (she/her), Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nila Shakiba is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Utah, where she worked with Drs. Elisabeth Conradt and Bruce Ellis. Nila’s program of research is informed by developmental programming framework and broadly focuses on understanding how prenatal and childhood stress may become biologically embedded and regulate the development and activity of the fetal and child stress response systems. Nila’s research in this area primarily focuses on the effects that parent-child relationship quality may have on child social and emotional development, mental and physical health outcomes. Relatedly, she seeks to understand individual differences in susceptibility to these parenting effects; why some children seem to thrive despite experiencing harsh parenting and conflictual relationships with parents, while others struggle and develop pathology, with a specific focus on the activity of stress response systems as a biomarker of these individual variations. She plans to extend this program of research by exploring the causal mechanisms in the pathways between early life stress exposure and childhood problematic developmental outcomes. Furthermore, she aims to understand the psychosocial factors and regulatory processes within individual and parent-child dyads that promote resilience and psychosocial adaptation among at-risk families.

Email: nshakiba@bu.edu

Dr. Shakiba’s CV

Research Gate          Google Scholar            Twitter        

Sarah Vogel, Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at BU. I got my PhD in Developmental Psychology from New York University, where I worked with Dr. Natalie Brito and Dr. Clancy Blair. My research focuses on how early life stress shapes the biological and physiological systems that support the development of self-regulation. Much of my work has focused on the system of bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome, as a mechanism by which stress shapes child development. I am passionate about social justice and using science as a tool to promote wellbeing for children and families across social and economic spectra. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, baking, traveling, spending time with friends, and chasing my two cats around my apartment.

Email: scvogel@bu.edu

 

Podcast about Gut MicroBiome

 

Staff

Cora Ordway (she/her), Project Coordinator 

I graduated from Brown University in 2018 with a BS in Cognitive Neuroscience, and worked in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University before joining the BASE Lab. I am especially interested in finding ways to identify early risk factors of psychopathology and developing specialized interventions. I am also curious about how early childhood experiences affect long-term health outcomes. Outside of the lab, I enjoy gardening, reading, and playing music

Email: cordway@bu.edu

Polina Perelstein, Research Coordinator

I graduated from Wellesley College in 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology. Before joining the BASE lab, I worked as an ABA therapist for children and adolescents with behavioral challenges at the Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction in Worcester, MA. I am interested in how biological vulnerabilities and the family environment shape emotion regulation challenges underlying youth externalizing problems. I plan pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology beginning in fall, 2024. I enjoy painting, singing opera, and foraging wild plants and mushrooms!

Email: pperelst@bu.edu

 

Kendall Andrews (they/them), Lab Manager

I graduated from Boston University in 2023 with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Neuroscience with a minor in Music. Within the lab, I am particularly interested in physiological regulation across childhood in the context of emotion-inducing stimuli (particularly fear). I plan to pursue a JD starting in the upcoming fall, 2024. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, reading, and watching baseball.

Email: kendalla@bu.edu

 

Graduate Students

Sarah Lynch (she/her), Doctoral Student 

I am a fourth-year doctoral student in the Developmental Sciences program working with Dr. Wagner in the BASE Lab. I graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2019 with bachelor degrees in Psychological Sciences and in Youth Mental Health through Creativity, with a focus on problem solving. My research interest in social-emotional development centers on physiological and behavioral regulation, environmental influences, and creative cognition in connection with the development of callous unemotional traits.

Email: lynchsf@bu.edu

Sarah’s CV

Kathy Sem (she/her), Doctoral Student

I am a second-year doctoral student in the Developmental Sciences program working with Dr. Wagner in the BASE Lab. Prior to joining, I graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I also worked as a research assistant and research coordinator at MSU’s Clinical Psychophysiology Lab where I used electroencephalogram (EEG) to examine the cause and effect of anxiety on children’s cognitive and emotional development. Now as a doctoral student, I hope to build upon my interests in using psychophysiological methods to examine child psychopathology; specifically studying early developmental risk factors for anxiety, and the effects of anxiety on children’s development and academic outcomes.

Email: semkathy@bu.edu

Nicole Huth, Doctoral Student

I am a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental Sciences program working under Dr. Wagner’s mentorship in the BASE lab. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During my undergraduate and post-graduate career, I worked as a research assistant and lab manager for the combined research projects of the Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab and the Social Kids Lab. My work in these labs primarily focused on engaging parents in intervention efforts to reduce their children’s intergroup biases and promote their prosocial behaviors. As a doctoral student, I am interested in examining how early life experiences and interpersonal relationships shape children’s emotional functioning and risk for psychopathology. I am particularly excited to investigate how social factors, such as parenting practices, attenuate the relationship between adversity and externalizing psychopathology, such as antisocial behaviors or callous unemotional traits.

Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab

Social Kids Lab

 

Amanda Swartz (she/her), Masters Student

I am a current student in the MA program at BU. I received my BS in Psychology with a dual degree in Business from the University of Pittsburgh in 2021. During my post-undergraduate career, I worked as the research coordinator for The Renfrew Center. My research interests include examining adversity and resilience in family units. In my free time, I enjoy taking dance classes, knitting, and going to the beach.

Email: apswartz@bu.edu

 

Lois Anakwe, Masters Student 

I am currently doing my MS in Clinical Research at the BU Medical Campus. Before that, I graduated from St. John’s University in 2017 with B.S. in Economics and in 2020 with M.S. Risk Management & Risk Analytics. While teaching in Nashville, 2020-2023, I earned my M.A.T at Relay Graduate School of Education. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and will use my time here to gain more knowledge about Child Psychological Development.

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

I’m recruiting undergraduate research assistants to work in the lab. Click here to learn more!

Dafni Suresh (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a College of General Studies junior at Boston University thinking of majoring in Human Physiology and minoring in Psychology. My future goals include attending med school, becoming a child psychiatrist, creating/teaching a mental health curriculum for children in developing countries, as well as opening my own firm in a low-income neighborhood while providing psychiatric care at a low cost. I am also a CGS dean’s host. In my free time, I like to play video games, watch anime/k-dramas, and go shopping! 

 

Krishi Shah (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a junior at Boston University majoring in Cell Biology with a minor in Emotional and Behavioral Challenges in Schools. I aspire to work in pediatrics, particularly to making myself accessible to patients with special needs. I have been taking ASL (American Sign Language) courses and working in an afterschool program to further immerse myself in this field! In my free time, I like to read and I love traveling around the Boston area! 

 

Tori Keefauver (they/them), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a senior at Boston University studying Neuroscience and Philosophy & Psychology. I plan to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience this upcoming fall. My end goal is to likely become a teacher or professor. I am particularly interested adolescent mental health, educational policy, and how developmental risk factors relate to psychopathy later in life. Outside of the lab, I participate in many BU Bands ensembles, and in my free time, I enjoy knitting, baking, and binging Harry Potter or Grey’s Anatomy.

 

Renee Torio (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a senior at Boston University studying Psychology with a minor in Vocal Performance. I’m particularly interested in how different social environments and dynamics affect the emergence of personality, as well as the impact of music and the arts on child development. I aspire to become a child psychologist. Outside of the lab, I enjoy singing with the BU Allegrettos, working as a Direct Care counselor at Camp Wediko, writing, crocheting, drawing, and reading.

 

Maya Applbaum (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a senior in the Dual Degree Program at Boston University pursuing a BA in Psychology and a BS in Behavior in Health. I plan to get my PhD in Clinical Psychology and become a Psychologist, specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am especially interested in psychopathology and the way it affects childhood development. I am very passionate about health and nutrition. In my free time, I enjoy working out, reading, going on walks, and spending quality time with friends and family.

 

Ari Faraday (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a junior studying behavioral biology with the intent of attending medical school and becoming a child psychiatrist. My specific interests are in understanding the physiology of children with affective mood disorders, particularly anxiety. Outside of the lab, I like to go out with my friends, watch Breaking Bad, and take walks on the beautiful BU campus!

 

Clara Haymon (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a senior at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Emotional and Behavioral Challenges in Schools. I intend to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and aspire to become a child therapist. Outside of the lab, I am in an a cappella group, the BU Allegrettos, and a theater club, Stage Troupe. In my free time, I love reading and exploring the city. 

 

Sophia Lin (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant 

I’m currently a junior at Boston University, where I’m majoring in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration. On weekends, I work as a Unit Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Postpartum Unit. My post-graduation aspirations involve obtaining a PhD in Clinical Psychology and building a career as a psychologist or researcher specializing in child development. I’m particularly interested in studying the development and prevalence of psychopathologies, with a focus on underrepresented groups. During my free time, I enjoy crocheting, thrifting, cooking, and cherishing moments with my adorable cat, Luna.

 

Kayla Ji (she/her), Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a junior at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Administration. I intend to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and aspire to become a child psychologist. I am particularly interested in studying how one’s childhood plays an impact on the emergence of various psychopathologies. Outside of the lab, I love to volunteer in the Boston Area, watch movies, draw, and discover new restaurants with my friends.

 

Part-Time Staff

Raina Kim, M.A.

I graduated from Boston University with an M.A. in psychology in 2023.  I completed my masters’ thesis with the BASE Lab about how children’s attachment to their families confers risk for the development of callous-unemotional traits. I am currently working  at the Boston Children’s Hospital as a patient intake coordinator, as well as staying on at the BASE lab as a part-time data collection assistant for the Promoting Empathy and Affiliation in Relationships (PEAR) study. I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the upcoming fall.

Email: kimry@bu.edu

Rutva Bhatt (she/her), B.A.

I am currently pursuing an M.D. at the Boston University School of Medicine. In 2023, I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in biology within the Kilachand Honors College. I completed an honors thesis with the BASE Lab examining patterns of sympathetic nervous system reactivity in young adults with callous-unemotional traits. After graduation, I stayed with the BASE lab as a weekend data collection assistant for the Promoting Empathy and Affiliation in Relationships (PEAR) study. Outside of school, I enjoy painting, watching movies with my friends, and exploring Boston (this picture is from near the ICA!).

Email: rhbhatt@bu.edu

 

Lab Alumni

 

Marcos Coli, Masters Student (2021-2023)

Eden Park, High School Intern (Summer 2023), pursuing a B.A. at Cornell University starting fall, 2024

Sophia Lam, High School Intern (Summer 2023), Currently Applying for Colleges (dream college: Brown University)

Danae Gayton, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022-2023), Pursuing a PhD in Education at Washington University in Saint Louis

Deaven Winebrake, Masters Student (2020-2023)

Isabella Maserejian, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022)

Tru Powell, Research Coordinator (2020-2022), Pursuing a PhD at the University of Minnesota Child Development Institute

Katarina Jevtic, Masters Student (2021-2022)

Haya Aldabbagh, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022)

Erin Duffy, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2022), Completing a Masters in Public Health at Boston University.

Anika Brahmbhatt, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2022)

Evans Naquin, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2022)

Ankur Bamezai, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021)

Yang “Alex” Yu, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021)

Natasha Soesanto, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2021), Working with Americorps in New Jersey

Elizabeth Hinds, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2021), Working as a recruiter in New York City

Maya Delity, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2019-2021), Completing an NIH IRTA in the Section for Affective Neuroscience and Pain (NIMH/NCCIH)

Cameron Cooper, MPH ’21 / Undergraduate Research Assistant (2019-2021), Working at a mental health non-profit while applying to PhD programs

Yue Sun, MA ’21

Kelly Smith, Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-2021)

Mira Mashali, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020)

Sarah Bedell, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2020)

Michele Hiserodt, MA ’20, Working as a research coordinator the in Translational Research Program at the BU Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders

Christian Parades, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020)

Giselle Cabrera-Arevalo, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020)

Rebecca Levine, Lab Manager (2018-2020), Pursuing a PhD in Education at the University of California San Dieg0

Isobel Munday, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2020), Working as a Lab Manager at Harvard University

Gabrielle Johnson, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2020), Working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital

Anna Daher, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2019-2020), Working as a Curriculum Developer at Culture Coach International

Patlapa Sompolpong, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018)

Maria Fournier, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018-2019), Pursuing a Master’s Degree at Teachers College, Columbia University

Talia Buksbaum, Graduate Research Assistant (Summer 2019), Pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at Boston University

Natalia Antonides-Jensen, Pre-Bacc Research Assistant (Summer 2019), Completing her IB Diploma in Madrid, Spain

Marissa Fuhrman, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Summer 2019), Completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Washington University in St. Louis

 

Collaborators

Developmental science is best served by thoughtful collaborations between scientists whose expertise facilitate a multi-disciplinary approach to research. Below are a few collaborators with whom I have the pleasure of working.

Rebecca Waller, University of Pennsylvania
Rachael Bedford, King’s College London
Noa Gueron-Sela, Ben Gurion University
Cathi Propper, Center for Developmental Science
Michael Willoughby, RTI International
Kenneth Rubin, University of Maryland
Paul Hastings, UC Davis
Andrea Chronis-Tuscano, University of Maryland
Roger Mills-Koonce, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Luke Hyde, University of Michigan
Steven Holochwost, John Hopkins University
Jennifer Coffman, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Julie Bowker, University at Buffalo

Join the BASE Lab!

Research Assistants: The BASE Lab is always interested in working with outstanding undergraduate and post-graduate research assistants.

Contact Information

Email us!

baselab@bu.edu


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