Our Team

Sheryl L. Olson – Principal Investigator

Sheryl Olson has specialized in articulating developmental and social processes that place young children at elevated risk for unfavorable adjustment outcomes, particularly high levels of disruptive, aggressive behavior. She is PI of the Michigan Longitudinal Study, which highlights early self-regulatory deficits associated with the development of chronic externalizing problems. She also is engaged with projects designed to integrate biological, behavioral, and socio-cultural contributions to our understanding of the development and phenomenology of children’s self-regulatory competence.

Arnold Sameroff – Emeritus Professor of Psychology

Dr. Sameroff’s interests are focused on the factors that contribute to mental health and psychopathology. Longitudinal projects with infants, school-age children, and adolescents, examine the effects of parent, family, community, school and peer group on social-emotional and academic success. A central focus is on the transactional relations between child characteristics and parent childrearing behavior and belief systems, and between parent characteristics and their ethnic, socioeconomic, and neighborhood backgrounds in groups of at-risk infants and preschoolers.

Henry Wellman – Harold W. Stevenson Professor of Psychology

Dr. Henry Wellman is a developmental psychologist specializing in cognitive development. His research focuses on core cognitive domains. Such domains, like the child’s understanding of language or space, are rapidly acquired cognitive structures that frame and encourage further developments. Much of his current research focuses on the child’s developing core understanding of people or “theory of mind.”


Margaret Evans – Associate Research Scientist

Children’s causal intuitions impact their understanding of the major domains of inquiry they encounter in and out of school. How such intuitions are transformed over the elementary school years and into adulthood is the focus of my research. Dr. Evans has examined this sort of conceptual change in terms of a) the emergence of intuitive causal explanations or theories, and b) the influence of diverse contexts, such as: belief system (e.g., religious belief), culture (Asian, Western), and informal science exhibitions.

Jennifer Lansford – Research Professor

Dr. Lansford’s research focuses on the development of aggression and other behavior problems in youth, with an emphasis on how family and peer contexts contribute to or protect against these outcomes. She examines how experiences with parents (e.g., physical abuse, discipline, divorce) and peers (e.g., rejection, friendships) affect the development of children’s behavior problems, how influence operates in adolescent peer groups, and how cultural contexts moderate links between parents’ discipline strategies and children’s behavior problems.

Ka Ip – Doctoral Student in Clinical Science and Developmental Psychology

Ka Ip’s research investigates the biological, developmental and social-cultural foundations of child psychopathology. He is also interested in developing transdiagnostic assessment tools based on underlying at risk mechanism, and implementing mechanistically target early preventive interventions for at risk children.  His research employs a multi-methods approach: including 1) longitudinal study to identify early risk (e.g., self-regulation) for later psychopathology; 2) cross-national study to understand emotion regulation across cultures, 3) neuroimaging (EEG/ERP, fMRI, fNIRS) techniques to understand biomarkers of early internalizing symptoms; and 4) intervention study designed to enhance self-regulation skills in at-risk preschoolers.

Kate Blumstein – Doctoral Student in Clinical Science

Kate Blumstein’s research interests range from cross cultural work to the individual, developmental, and relational factors that affect mental health; she is interested in the study of psychopathology and its varied manifestations across racial/ethnic groups, as well as the implications of working with diverse populations for clinical and counseling psychology. Most recently, she has explored early childhood precursors of gender differences in depression. In addition to her research, Kate serves as a Graduate Student Instructor for Dr. Olson’s Child and Adolescent Psychopathology course and a clinician with the Women and Infants Mental Health Clinic at the Department of Psychiatry.

Sujin Lee – Doctoral Student in Clinical Science

Sujin Lee’s research interest lies in underlying pathways from children’s emotion regulation development to its divergent consequences. Specifically, she is interested in investigating how children’s emotional and regulatory abilities develop and change over time within family contexts. Also, she hopes to address how and why deficits in emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic risk factor become associated with long-term maladaptation, such as externalizing and internalizing problems.


 Jean Anne Heng – Accelerated Masters Degree Program Student in Clinical Science

Jean Anne Heng’s research focuses on the relationship between parental factors and child developmental trajectories within a cross-cultural context. Specifically, she is interested in how parental attributions inform with child behavior management techniques, and seeks to delineate the effects of such techniques on child outcomes. Currently, she is exploring Malaysian mother’s concepts of maladaptive behavior as part of her desire to expand the scope of cultural psychology research to include traditionally under-represented communities.


Sharon Lang – Undergraduate Research Assistant

My name is Sharon Lang and I am currently a senior studying Psychology and Economics. After I graduate, I plan on going to medical school and pursuing a career in Psychiatry in my home country, Costa Rica and would ideally want to work with children in a clinical setting. I am currently working on a research project that will use some of our ethnotheories data from Spanish and US parents to compare parental understanding of their children’s psychopathologies across cultures.


Claire Martin – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Claire Martin is a junior majoring in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Gender and Health. Her research interests include mental health and cross-cultural/ethnic minority health, specifically regarding developmental and social factors that influence behavioral and health outcomes in vulnerable populations. Outside of research, she is heavily involved in PALMA, a student organization that provides academic support to Latinx students in Ann Arbor. She hopes to continue her education after completing her undergraduate degree and pursue a career in public health.

Rachel Bernstein – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Rachel Bernstein is a sophomore majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. She has special interest in helping people and working with them over a long span of time—specifically observing how various stressful life events impact behavior and attitudes after they occur. Rachel hopes to continue her education after obtaining her undergraduate degree and eventually pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.


Meribeth Gandy Pezda – Clinical Social Worker

Meribeth Gandy Pezda is as a clinical social worker in Dexter and has her own private practice working with children and families which she truly loves (Mgpcounseling.com). She is a mother of two wonderful boys, now 12 and 14 who keep her busy when she is not working. She enjoys running and walking her golden retriever off leash in the woods. She took up downhill skiing and mountain biking again as her boys have become increasingly active in both. She has discovered that in certain ways, your children keep you young yet in other ways, they age you significantly. ☺


Reeya Patel – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Reeya is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Applied Statistics. Her research interests include cross-cultural/ethnic minority health behaviors and mental health, emotional / self-regulation, and the relationship between regulation in response to stress and maladaptive patterns or psychopathology (externalizing / internalizing behaviors, suicidal / violent ideations). She is especially interested in looking at developmental and longitudinal patterns in youth through young adulthood. Outside of research, she is involved with mental health outreach through CSG and the University of Michigan Depression Center and hopes to pursue a M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology.