Research Team

Lab Director

Dr. Naomi Sadeh joined the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at University of Delaware as an Assistant Professor in 2016. Prior to her current appointment, she was Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine and a principal investigator in the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004 and her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012. She completed a clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist. Email:



Dr. Jeffrey Spielberg is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Delaware. His research seeks to identify and understand the manner in which brain connections become disturbed in pathological anxiety (e.g., PTSD, worry) and mood (e.g., depression, bipolar), with a particular focus on the circuitry supporting two processes central to pursuing goals – motivation and executive function. He examines these circuits in both healthy and at-risk adults and adolescents. The aim of his developmental work is to identify neuromaturational changes that give rise to the increased risk for psychopathology observed in adolescence. In this work, his is particularly interested in the contribution of pubertal factors (e.g., testosterone) and how related individual differences may place children at greater risk for pathology. He collaborates closely with the PD lab on our neuroimaging projects. Email:

Graduate Students

Rickie Miglin is a Clinical Science graduate student in the PD Lab. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Drexel University in 2015, where she conducted research in Dr. Nezu’s Stress and Coping Lab. Following graduation, she worked as a research assistant in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania. She then received a post-bac Intramural Research Training Award and gained experience with fMRI research at the Neuroimaging Research Branch of NIDA’s Intramural Program. She is interested broadly in the factors that influence impulsive behavior (e.g., problematic substance use) including stress, neural mechanisms, and cognitive processes (such as decision-making). She was recently awarded a two-year National Research Service Award (F31) Fellowship from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. 


  • Miglin, R., Church, L., Bounoua, N., & Sadeh, N. “(under review) Validation of the Motivational Inventory Underlying Substance Use Engagement (MI-USE).
  • Miglin, R., Bounoua, N., Spielberg, J. M., & Sadeh, N. (2020). A Transdiagnostic Examination of Affective Motivations for Drug Use. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 100279.
  • Miglin, R., Bounoua, N., Goodling, S., Sheehan, A., Spielberg, J. M., & Sadeh, N. (2019). Cortical thickness links impulsive personality traits and risky behavior. Brain sciences9(12), 373.
  • Miglin, R., Kable, J. W., Bowers, M. E., & Ashare, R. L. (2017). Withdrawal-related changes in delay discounting predict short-term smoking abstinence. Nicotine & Tobacco Research19(6), 694-702.


Nadia Bounoua is a Clinical Science graduate student in the PD Lab. Her research examines the interplay of environmental, neurobiological and affective mechanisms underlying risk-taking behaviors across the lifespan. She matriculated from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2013. She is currently supported by a three-year National Research Service Award, Individual Predoctoral (F31) Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health. 



  • Bounoua, N., Church, L., & Sadeh, N. (accepted). Development and initial validation of the Neglectful Experiences and Deprivation Scale. Assessment
  • Bounoua, N. & Sadeh, N. (2021). A longitudinal investigation of the impact of emotional reactivity and COVID-19 stress exposure on substance use during the pandemic. Journal of Affective Disorder Reports.
  • Bounoua, N., Goodling, S., & Sadeh, N. (2021). Cross-lagged analysis of COVID-19-related worry and media consumption in a socioeconomically disadvantaged sample of community adults. Frontiers in psychology, 12.
  • Bounoua, N., Church, L., & Sadeh, N. (2021). Alterations in reward reactivity and emotional processing differentiate among adults with a history of childhood maltreatment: Implications for substance use behaviors. Emotion, 21(8), 1625–1636.
  • Bounoua, N., Miglin, R., Spielberg, J.M., Curtis, J., Sadeh, N. (2020). Childhood trauma moderates morphometric associations between orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala: Implications for pathological personality traits. Psychological Medicine, 1-10.
  • Bounoua, R., Miglin, R., & Sadeh, N. (in press). Developmental considerations in psychopathy. In J. Vitale (ed). Dangerous Behavior in Clinical and Forensic Psychology.
  • Bounoua, N., Miglin, R., Spielberg, J.M., & Sadeh, N. (2020). Childhood assaultive trauma and physical aggression Links with cortical thickness in prefrontal and occipital cortices, Neuroimage: Clinical, 27, e102321-e102321.
  • Bounoua N., Hayes J., Sadeh N. (2019). Identifying suicide typologies among trauma-exposed veterans: Exploring the role of affective impulsivity. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.
  • Bounoua, N., Abbott, C., Zisk, A., Herres, J., Diamond, G., & Kobak, R. (2018). Emotion regulation and spillover of interpersonal stressors to postsession insight among depressed and suicidal adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(7), 593- 603.
  • Bounoua, N., Felton, J. W., Long, K., Stadnik, R. D., Loya, J. L., MacPherson, L., & Lejuez, C.W. (2015). Childhood emotional abuse and borderline personality features: the role of anxiety sensitivity among adolescents. Personality and Mental Health, 9(2), 87-95. 


Ana Sheehan is a Clinical Science graduate student in the PD Lab. She received her B.A. in Cognitive Science and French from Vassar College in 2017. After graduating she joined the Mood and Behavior Lab at Brown University working with Dr. Richard Liu.  Her primary research interests include understanding the relationship between environmental factors such as life stress and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying impulsivity and deficits in cognitive control. She is currently supported by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.


  • Sheehan, A., Bounoua, N., Miglin, R., Spielberg, J.M., & Sadeh, N. (accepted). A multilevel examination of lifetime aggression: Integrating cortical thickness, personality pathology, and trauma exposure. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.
  • Sheehan, A. E., Walsh, R. F. L., & Liu, R. T. (in press). Racial and ethnic differences in mental health service utilization in a nationally representative sample of suicidal adults. Journal of Psychiatric Research.
  • Liu, R. T., Walsh, R. F., & Sheehan, A. E. (2019). Prebiotics and probiotics for depression and anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
  • Walsh, R. F. L., Sheehan, A. E., & Liu, R. T. (2018). Prospective prediction of first lifetime onset of suicidal ideation in a national study of substance users. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 107,28-33.


Wendy Huerta is a Clinical Science graduate student in the PD Lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she conducted and assisted in research in Dr. Mark D’Esposito and Dr. Allison Harvey’s Lab. Following graduation, she worked as a research coordinator in the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Broadly, Wendy is interested in cognitive (e.g., working memory, inhibitory control) and emotion interactions, which may lead to psychopathology, and utilizing multi-method approaches to understand underlying mechanisms. 


  • Scimeca, J. M., Huerta, W., Miller, J. A., & D’Esposito, M. (manuscript in preparation). No free lunch: Benefits and costs of mnemonic control over the contents of visual working memory.
  • Huerta, W., Peng, Y., Craske, M.G., Meuret, A.E., Ritz, T. (2020, November). The effect of positive and negative affect treatment on behavioral approach and inhibition systems. Poster presented at the ABCT’s 54th Annual Virtual Convention.
  • J.M. Scimeca, Y. Vafai, W. Huerta, J.A. Miller, M., D’Esposito (2018, November). Feature-based attentional control over the contents of visual working memory. Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.
  • Huerta, W., Scimeca., J.M., & D’Esposito., M. (2018, April). The Retro-cue Advantage: The Benefits and Costs of Prioritization Within Working Memory. Poster presented at the 10th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Conference at UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.


Anna Stumps is a Clinical Science graduate student in the PD Lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology  from the University of Kansas in 2017. After graduation, she worked as a research assistant at the VA Boston Healthcare System where she used functional neuroimaging to examine the neurocognitive correlates of PTSD and suicidal behavior. Her primary research interests are focused on applying cognitive neuroscience techniques to better characterize the neurocognitive mechanisms of post-traumatic risk taking, with a specific interest in suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

  • Bernstein, J., Stumps, A., Fortenbaugh, F., Fonda, J., McGlinchey, R., Milberg, B., Fortier, C., Esterman, M., Amick, M., & DeGutis, J. Associations Between Changes in Somatic and Psychiatric Symptoms and Disability Alterations in Recent-Era US Veterans. (2022). Journal of Traumatic Stress.
  • Jagger-Rickels, A., Stumps, A., Rothlein, D., Park, H., Fortenbaugh, F.C., Zuberer, A., Fonda, J.R., Fortier, C., DeGutis, J., Milberg, W., McGlinchey, R., & Esterman, M. (2021) Impaired executive function exacerbates neural markers of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Medicine 1-13.
  • Stumps, A., Jagger-Rickels, A., Rothlein, D., Amick, M., Park, H., Evans, T., Fortenbaugh, F.C., Fortier, C., Fonda, J.R., Lee, D., Milberg, W., McGlinchey, R., DeGutis, J., & Esterman, M. (2020). Connectome-based functional connectivity markers of suicide attempt. Journal of Affective Disorders.
  • Esterman, M., Stumps, A., Jagger-Rickels, A., DeGutis, J., Rothlein, D., Fortenbaugh, F., Romer, A., Marx, B., Milberg, B., & McGlinchey, R. (2020). Evaluating the evidence for a neuroimaging subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder. Science Translational Medicine, 12
  • Stumps, A., Saad, E., Rothlein, D., Verfaellie, M., & DeGutis, J. (2020). Characterizing developmental prosopagnosia beyond face perception: Impaired recollection but intact familiarity recognition. Cortex.
  • Williams, B., Welindt, D., Hafferty, F., Stumps, A., Flanders, P., & Williams, M. (2020). Adverse childhood experiences in trainees and physicians with professionalism lapses: Implications for medical education and remediation. Academic Medicine.
  • Riley, E., Mitko, A., Stumps, A., Robinson, M., Milberg, W., McGlinchey, R., Esterman, M., & DeGutis, J. (2019). Clinically significant cognitive dysfunction in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans: Prevalence and clinical associations. Neuropsychology33(4), 534.

Research Associates 

  • Paula Salvador is a full-time Research Associate in the PD lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2019. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she worked as an RA in Dr. Peter Mende-Siedlecki’s lab which focused on racial biases in pain perception. She continued her education with the University of Delaware and received her M.S. degree in Human Development and Family Sciences in 2021. Paula is primarily interested in how childhood trauma (e.g., child maltreatment) impacts cognitive development and how environmental and social factors influence this relationship. She hopes to continue her career in research and eventually pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology.
  • Isabella Napoletano is a full-time Research Associate in the PD Lab. She received her B.A.s in Psychology and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University in 2021, where she conducted research in Dr. Teresa Leyro’s Affective and Biological Underpinnings of Substance Abuse Lab, and Dr. Elizabeth Torres’ Sensory-Motor Integration Lab. Her main interest includes understanding the relationship between environmental factors, such as stress and trauma, and neurobiological mechanisms underlying impulsive behavior. She plans to continue her education in a Clinical Psychology PhD program.
    • Napoletano, I.R., Garcia, J.A., Brinkman, H.R., Hoyt, D.L., Farris, S.G., Leyro, T.M. (2021) Distress and Distrust: How Perceptions of News Accuracy and Emotional Distress Influence Compliance with COVID-19 Health Behaviors. Poster submitted to the Association for Psychological Science Virtual Convention.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Autumn Gourley is an undergraduate research assistant in the PD lab. She joined the lab in the fall of 2020 and is currently exploring her interests. Some things that she’s already interested in involve one’s personality, trauma, and RISQ taking behaviors. However, she is always looking into different topics. She plans to work as a research assistant after graduation and then attend graduate school for clinical psychology to become a licensed clinician.
  • Samantha Haas joined the PD Lab as an undergraduate research assistant in the Summer of 2021. She has majors in Neuroscience and Psychology as well as minors in Sexuality and Gender Studies and English, and she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Doctorate in Neuroscience. While she is still exploring her interests, she is curious about topics such as the neurobiological basis of psychopathology, especially PTSD and the spectra of disorders characterized by callous behavior.
  • Maddison Alt is an undergraduate research assistant in the PD lab with majors in Psychology and Communications, as well as a minor in Forensic Science. She joined the lab in Fall 2021. She plans on pursuing a Masters of Social Work following graduation and is interested in continuing research on topics such as personality disorders and traumatic memories.
  • Manali Zope is an undergraduate research assistant in the PD lab with a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. She joined the lab in Fall 2021. She aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology after her undergraduate degree, and plans to continue working in the PD lab to gain research experience until her graduate studies. While she is still exploring her interests, Manali is interested in the intersection between neurobiology and psychopathology and the factors that lead to risky behavior.
  • Michael Rodriguez is an undergraduate research assistant in the PD lab majoring in Neuroscience. 

Graduates of the PD Lab

  • Emily Gotkiewicz (Class of 2022)
  • Jasmine Newton (Class of 2021)
  • Julian Urbina (Class of 2021)
  • Ryan Gibson (Class of 2020)
  • Pelu Osunkoya (Class of 2020)
  • Jennifer Storm (Class of 2019)
  • Kimberly Yap (Class of 2018)
  • Matthew Weilep (Class of 2018)
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