People

Dr. Adriene Beltz : Director

Dr. Adriene Beltz

Director

abeltz@umich.edu | 734.647.6788

Dr. Adriene Beltz is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. She is affiliated with the developmental area and plays a significant role in the department’s quantitative training, including the teaching of graduate methods courses.

Dr. Beltz received her Ph.D. in Psychology, specializing in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014. Her training was supervised by Dr. Sheri Berenbaum, an expert in human behavioral endocrinology whose research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for three decades. Dr. Beltz then transitioned to a post-doctoral position in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She worked with the internationally-renowned methodologist, Dr. Peter Molenaar, on connectivity analysis approaches for fMRI data. Prior to Penn State, Dr. Beltz received her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Experimental Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

Zhuoran Zhang : Coordinator

Zhuoran Zhang

Coordinator

zzhuoran@umich.edu | 734.647.5673

Zhuoran "Jenny" Zhang is the M(SD) Lab Coordinator. She graduated from University of Rochester in May 2016 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in public health. In August 2019, she graduated from Indiana State University with a master's in experimental psychology that focuses on cognition. She is especially interested in the cognitive and neuroscience aspects of developmental psychology, and plans to obtain a doctoral degree in the future.

Dr. Natasha Chaku : Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Natasha Chaku

Postdoctoral Scholar

Natasha is a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the NICHD T32 post-doctoral research fellowship in Developmental Science at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D in Developmental Psychology from Fordham University in 2020, where she was primarily advised by Dr. Lindsay Till Hoyt and her BA in cognitive science from Vassar College in 2012. Broadly, Natasha’s research examines how psychological, social, and biological processes shape adolescent cognitive development using interdisciplinary approaches with neurocognitive, hormonal, and psychosocial indices. Natasha’s current research brings an intraindividual focus to cognitive development using ecological momentary assessments and advanced quantitative methods.

Dr. Alexander Weigard : Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Alexander Weigard

Postdoctoral Scholar

asweigar@umich.edu|

Alex Weigard is a postdoctoral fellow currently funded by the University of Michigan Addiction Center's NIAAA T32 research training grant. He works with Dr. Beltz in the Psychology Department, as well as Drs. Mary Heitzeg and Chandra Sripada in the Psychiatry Department. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience from the Pennsylvania State University in 2018, where he was primarily advised by Dr. Cynthia Huang-Pollock. Alex is broadly interested in cognitive and biological risk factors for the development of attention problems, substance use and other forms of externalizing psychopathology. He is particularly interested in using advanced quantitative methods, including computational models of cognition, unified structural equation modeling analyses of person-specific brain and behavioral data, and classification algorithms to better understand the etiology of these conditions and to predict clinically relevant outcomes.

Dr. Matthew Nielson : Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Matthew Nielson

Postdoctoral Scholar

Matthew is a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the NICHD T32 post-doctoral research fellowship in Developmental Science at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on gender identity development. During his masters and PhD program he focused on the socialization of pressure to conform to gender norms, the outcome of acquiescing to or rebelling against this pressure, and how these processes might change over time. In his current work, he is adding to those research aims by including a biological focus (e.g., what role do hormones play in developing gender identity) as well as an intraindividual focus using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) methods. When not working on school things he is generally cooking, running, or reading novels (always happy for good book recommendations)!

PhD in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University
MS in Human and Family Development from Brigham Young University
BA in Human Development from Brigham Young University
Graduate Certificate: Women and Gender Studies
Undergraduate Minor: Japanese

Dominic Kelly : Graduate Student

Dominic Kelly

Graduate Student

dpfkelly@umich.edu |

Dominic Kelly is a second year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program. Dominic is interested in cutting-edge ways to use integrated advanced quantitative methods to approach problems regarding the development of sex differences and explore their consequences in the domains of education and health.

Dominic received his bachelor's degree in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 2014 and his master's degree in Social and Developmental Psychology in 2016, also from Pembroke College, Cambridge. Before joining the M(SD) lab, Dominic was part of the Gender Development Research Centre, Cambridge, working with Prof. Melissa Hines and formerly a full-time Research Assistant at the Centre for Family Research, Cambridge, working with Prof. Claire Hughes. Dominic was selected as a Fullbright Scholar representing the United Kingdom as part of their 2016/17 cohort.

Emma Donnelly-Sironen : Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Donnelly-Sironen

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Donnelly-Sironen is a sophomore studying Psychology. She joined the lab in late 2019 because she is interested in learning about the biological factors that influence sex and gender, and how these factors play a role in socialization and life experiences. Outside of the lab, Emma participates in the Member Education committee of Prison Birth Project, as well as the Helicon History of Art Undergraduate Society. After graduation, she hopes to earn a Psy.D. and become a practicing counselor.

Harshini Sakthivel : Undergraduate Research Assistant

Harshini Sakthivel

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Harshini Sakthivel is a sophomore interested in psychology. She is interested in the roles hormones play with regards to cognition and how these factors mediate sex differences. Her activities outside of the lab include researching for a student organization called Prison Birth Project and volunteering. After graduation, Harshini plans on attending dental school.

Katherine Gordon : Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katherine Gordon

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katherine Gordon is a senior working towards a dual degree in Business and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. She is interested in the biological and environmental factors that contribute to sex differences, especially in regards to development. Outside of the lab, Katherine is involved in the Center for Positive Organizations as a lead fellow. After graduation, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology.

Ting Xu : Volunteer Research Assistant

Ting Xu

Volunteer Research Assistant

My name is Ting Xu, I just graduated from the Master of Social Science degree at UCLA. After graduation, I want to gain more research experience regarding gender differences and children's development. I aim to pursue a Ph.D. in developmental psychology. In my free time, I like watching movies, running, and cooking.
James Dzera : Volunteer Research Assistant

James Dzera

Volunteer Research Assistant

James received his Bachelor of Science in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience from Villanova University in 2018. After graduation he began working as a full-time research technician for the Eban-Rothschild lab. He is interested in learning more about biological, environmental, and social factors that contribute to the development of sex differences, specifically as these may relate to sex-based variations in the presentation and prevalence rates of psychological disorders. He aims to attain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and conduct research based on the evaluation and refinement of psychosocial therapies.

Julianna King : Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julianna King

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julianna King is a freshman with the ambition of obtaining a dual degree in Movement Science and Psychology. She joined the lab due to her interest in oral contraceptives and their influence on mental health and emotions. She is interested in learning more about sex differences and how psychology plays a role in them. Julianna is a member of Wolverine Support Network and CAPS In Action. She also volunteers for Crisis Text Line. After graduation, she hopes to attain a Ph.D. in Psychology.