Our Team

Meet the amazing folks keeping the PRISM Lab running.

Interested in joining? We'd love to hear form you! Send us an email or give us a call.

Principle Investigator

Heidemarie Laurent, PhD

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.

Lab Manager

Cori Braun

Cori Braun completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois with an interest in clinical psychology and psychopathology. She is currently the Research Coordinator at the PRISM lab but has also worked in other research labs at University of Illinois, which furthered her passion and interest in research.

She interned at a Children's Home for a year working with youth who experience serious emotional and behavioural challenges that have resulted from abuse, neglect, mental illness, etc. Working with this population deepened her interest in early childhood trauma and how those experiences impact development, later life outcomes, and possible therapeutic interventions for this population. In addition to these interests, she loves pursuing her other passion of painting and spending time with her younger brother when she is at home.

Graduate Student

Rachel Leipow

Rachel Leipow has spent her graduate career focusing on translating Buddhist concepts into testable psychological hypotheses, and studying healing processes. For her masters she conducted a qualitative study of Western Buddhism to better understand mindfulness outside mindfulness-based interventions and explored the complexity of participants’ original motivations for engaging in Western Buddhism, the range of reported outcomes of Western Buddhist practice, and how Western Buddhist practices compare to psychotherapy outcomes. Her dissertation studies test whether insight/wisdom (Skrt: prajñā) mediates the relationship between mindfulness (Skrt: smṛti) and wellbeing among trauma survivors.

Graduate Student

Danyelle Dawson

Danyelle Dawson 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.

Graduate Student

Paty Cintora

Paty Cintora 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.

Graduate Student

Megan Finnegan

Megan Finnegan received her B.S. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Merced where she worked on creating artificial neural networks to model language acquisition under Dr. Anne Warlaumont. She is a dual PhD student in neuroscience and clinical psychology and specializes in neuroimaging, machine learning, and computational neuroscience. Megan works both in methodological development and on understanding the neural mechanisms of cognitive and emotional control, particularly how mindfulness may exert its clinical benefits. She loves to write code and has taught MATLAB for beginning programmers. She created this lab's website and has worked as a programmer developing neuroimaging experiments. For more information, visit her website or her code on GitHub.

Graduate Student

Chris Perriello

Chris Perriello was born and raised in Boston, MA, completing a BS in Clinical Psychology at Tufts University before becoming involved in research studies at MGH and McLean Hospital. Currently, Chris is a second year in the clinical psychology program and is primarily interested in studying the neural mechanisms of transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking in anxious/depressed populations, and its effects on executive functioning. When not working in the lab, Chris often escapes to fantasy worlds through books, video games, and D&D.

Graduate Student

Marissa Sbrilli

Before joining the PRISM lab, Marissa Sbrilli earned her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Following, she worked as a clinical research assistant at Rutgers University and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia coordinating research examining adolescent depression prevention. Marissa is interested in perinatal depression prevention through mindfulness and acceptance based interventions with the ultimate goal of interrupting intergenerational cycles of mood disorders. Marissa is interested in elucidating routes for personalized interventions. She is specifically interested in women with comorbid anxiety and how the transdiagnostic factors that maintain these disorders can be best targeted in intervention. In her downtime, Marissa practices yoga and mindfulness, eats as much Mexican food as possible, and listens to Bruce Springsteen.

Graduate Student

Wing Sze

Hi! I am Wing Sze, a second-year master student in psychology at the U of I. My primary areas of interest are developmental psychopathology and advanced quantitative methods in psychology. In my current research project at the PRISM lab, I use latent growth curve models to investigate how state and over-time change of mothers’ mindfulness and internalizing symptoms affect infant’s early socio-emotional adjustments. My three favorite items are babies, black coffee and Malamutes! Outside of work, singing and crafting are my major pastime!


Research Assistants

We also wouldn't be able to do everything we do without all of our amazing undergraduate research assistants. Below are the current research specialists conducting studies in the lab.

    Back row (left to right)

  • Cori Braun (Lab Manager)
  • Olivia Massey
  • Vivian Chen
  • Cara Weinmeyer

    Front row (left to right)

  • Cindy Kang
  • Teylor Hunter
  • Megan Schmeider

    Not Pictured

  • Abby Ludwig
  • Haruma Kurita
  • Kaidi Hu
  • Rosalie Ruhlmann

Past Members

Our success is not just due to our current members but all those who have contributed their energy and talent to our work. We are grateful to have been the beneficiary of their skills, their passion, and their curiosity.

Doctoral Students

  • Faaiza Khan

Masters Students

  • Stephanie Kern (now Stephanie Kane)

Lab Personnel

  • Kaitlyn Breitenfeldt (Lab Coordinator)
  • Miranda Bullok (Recruitment Specialist)


  • Avani Bhatnager
  • Gopi Patel
  • Niki Paul
  • Hailey Blisset
  • Danielle Kocol
  • Megan Schmieder
  • Cara Wiemeyer
  • Min Ji Kang
  • Vivian (Runze) Chen