Current Doctoral Students

  • Konrad Bresin (
  • Konrad Bresin is from Fargo, ND. He completed his BS and MS at the North Dakota State University. The focus of his research is on the functionality of self-destructive behaviors (e.g., nonsuicidal self-injury, aggression, binge eating). More specifically, he is interested in how these behaviors may reduce negative affect. For more information on his research see his google scholar page (

  • Aisha Howard (

  • Aisha Howard moved from Tampa, FL, where she completed her BA at the University of South Florida. Her previous clinical and research experiences have focused on distinct biological and environmental mechanisms underlying the development of antisocial and aggressive behavior. More specifically, she is interested in divergent pathways to the development of aggression and emotional or empathic deficits among young adults.

  • Michael Kruepke (

  • My name is Michael Kruepke and I will be working with Dr. Edelyn Verona during my time here at UIUC. Originally form West Bend, WI I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology. Since then I have spent time working for Dr. Joseph Newman, Dr. Richard Davidson, and Dr. Michael Koenigs. Broadly, my research interests are the interaction of cognition and emotion in psychopathlogy. More specifically I am interested in externalizing disorders such as psychopathy, BPD, and ASPD. I am also interested in moral judgment and meditation research and look forward to working more in these areas during my time at UIUC.

  • Brett Murphy (

  • Brett Murphy is from Norman, Oklahoma. He completed his BA at Rice University in 2004. In 2011, he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a student attorney with the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project. He is especially interested in studying empathy deficits and impulse control deficits.

  • Michael Perino (

  • Michael Perino is originally from Long Island, New York. He received his BA in Psychology and History from NYU & his MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research focuses on how aberrant cognitive, affective, and perceptual processes relate to predatory aggression. More generally, he is interested in how neuroscientific research can help inform clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Lab Alumni and Collaborators
  • Shabnam Javdani (now at New York University)

  • Shabnam Javdani received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include understanding the development of, and social response to, antisocial behavior across levels of analysis (e.g., individual, community, social) and in gender-specific ways. She is particularly interested in adolescent girls' involvement in the juvenile justice system and the development and consequences of women's use of violence in the context of intimate relationships.

  • Naomi Sadeh (now at UC-San Francisco)

  • Naomi Sadeh is from Minneapolis, MN and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Psychology. Her research interests involve exploring emotion-cognition interactions in psychopathy, particularly the attentional mechanisms differentially involved in primary and secondary psychopathy. She is also interested in how gene-environment interplay, personality, and gender contribute to the development of psychopathy and other externalizing disorders in youth and adults.

  • Jenessa Sprague (now at Fulton State Hospital)

  • Jenessa was born and raised in Miami, FL, where she received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Criminology from the University of Miami. Her interests lie in the different correlates of dysregulatory syndromes. In particular, she is interested in the brain regions involved in the implementation of emotional reactivity and behavioral inhibition and how the interaction of these neural systems contribute to syndromes like Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She is also interested in disentangling the sex differences in the development of APD and BPD in order to examine if these syndromes reflect gender-specific manifestations of the same dispositional vulnerability.

  • M. Sima Finy

  • Originally from a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, Sima graduated with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in neuroscience from The Ohio State University in 2007. Her research interests include how genes, hormones, and the environment interact to produce different behaviors, particularly stress-induced aggression.