Meet the Lab

Dr. Heidemarie Laurent is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and the Director of the PRISM Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Through her research and clinical work, she aims to understand the roots of stress dysregulation within families and to support growth in intra- and interpersonal regulation to reduce intergenerational suffering.
Rachel Leipow earned her BA at Hampshire College, where she studied psychology and developed a community-based suicide intervention. After college, she assisted Drs. Drew Westen and Rebecca Drill in investigating dimensional personality disorder diagnosis at the Cambridge Health Alliance. At the University of Illinois, she has focused on translating Buddhist concepts into testable psychological hypotheses to elucidate healing processes. She recently completed a qualitative study that explored (a) why people engage in Western Buddhist practices, (b) what they may be getting from these practices, and (c) how Western Buddhist practices compare to psychotherapy outcomes. Her current research is aimed at measuring the relationship between aspects of insight/wisdom (Skrt: prajñā) and mindfulness (Skrt: smṛti) to further understand how clinical populations heal.
Faaiza joined the University of Illinois to pursue her PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology after graduating from Cornell University in 2014. Her research interests center around studying behavioral and psychobiological indicators of stress regulation, and how these processes relate to prolonged symptoms of emotional distress. She has a particular focus on attachment theory and how close relationships impact the experience of stress.
Megan received her B.S. in Cognitive Science for University of California, Merced. While there she studied under Dr. Anne Warlaumont creating artificial neural networks to model language acquisition in infants. She is currently a 3rd year PhD student in neuroscience. Her interests lie in creating neural models from brain imaging data and investigating the mechanism of action in mindfulness meditation. For more information, visit her website at or her GitHub page at
Danyelle is a second year graduate student in the Clinical-Community Division. Originally from Fayetteville, NC, she received her undergraduate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and master’s degree from North Carolina Central University before coming to UIUC. Danyelle is interested in examining biopsychosocial pathways between race-related stressors and mental and physical health outcomes in minorities; with a specific interest in the impact that race related stressors have on stress regulation and the maintenance and development of mood and anxiety disorders across the lifespan. She also is interested in understanding the psychosocial and sociocultural risk and protective factors that impact psychopathology for African Americans, and creating cultural adaptations of evidence-based intervention and prevention programs. In her downtime, she moonlights as a self-proclaimed foodie, techie, and book lover.
Stephanie recently completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois with an interest in cognitive neuroscience. Her volunteer experience in a lab during her undergraduate career has led her to become interested in the functional mechanisms of internally guided attention, cognition, and emotion within various populations. One of Stephanie's interests includes bio-anthropological research, which led her to participate in a field study in Brazil. Stephanie spends her spare time playing with her daughter and their 3 year old pug.
Kaitlyn completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois with an interest in developmental psychopathology. She is currently the Research Coordinator at the PRISM lab and volunteers at the Autism Clinic at the University of Illinois. She spent 2 months in Sri Lanka working with children and adults in mental hospitals and disability centers which deepened her interest in working with underprivileged populations. Her particular interests revolve around developmental disorders and interventions. When she is not working she can be found cuddled up with her cat and a good book.
Paty completed her B.A. in psychology from San Diego State University in 2015. She is currently a third year graduate student in Neuroscience with an emphasis in clinical and translational research. She is interested in understanding how nutritional status and supplementation, particularly for Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, impact brain health across the lifespan. Above all, she loves being a mom and spending time with her daughter and son.