Lab Members

Lab Manager

Alexa Martino: Lab Manager

Alexa received her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University and her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Communications from Eastern Michigan University . She is planning on applying to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs in the near future. Research interests include social determinants of health and how they impact the barriers minority groups experience in receiving mental health services.




Post Doctoral Research Fellows

Dr. Neika Sharifian: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Neika Sharifian is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Sharifian received her Ph.D. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology at North Carolina State University in 2017. Her doctoral work focused on how internal (motivation, future time perspective, aging attitudes) and external (social support, social participation) resources influenced socioemotional aging processes such as well-being and emotion regulation.

Currently, Dr. Sharifian’s postdoctoral work focuses on the dynamic relationship between socioemotional and cognitive aging processes. Specifically, her postdoctoral research focuses on how social experiences and/or resources, such as social network characteristics, social media use, and early life social experiences, may explain individual differences in cognitive functioning across the adult lifespan.


Dr. Ketlyne Sol: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Sol is a postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr. Zahodne. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Loma Linda University where her clinical training emphasis was in rehabilitation psychology, which focuses on the holistic assessment and treatment of individuals with acquired, chronic, or progressive disabling illness. Trained within a scientist-practitioner framework, Dr. Sol is interested in evaluating positive psychosocial factors, such as social support, that buffer against risk factors such as low literacy and low educational attainment to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD). Dr. Sol is further leveraging her clinical training and research experiences to develop her skills in using large epidemiological datasets for multivariate modeling of longitudinal data to inform culturally relevant points of intervention and policy changes to reduce this disparity in aging.


Clinical Science Doctoral Students

Afsara Zaheed: Clinical Science Doctoral Student

Afsara is a third year in the Clinical Science PhD program. Her primary research interest is in cognitive aging and understanding how different biological, psychological, and social factors influence late-life neuropsychological functioning and trajectories. In addition to studying biopsychosocial risk and protective factors, she is also interested in identifying factors that may contribute to late-life disparities in cognitive functioning across different racial and ethnic groups.





Zarina Kraal: Clinical Science Doctoral Student

Zarina’s research interests are wide-ranging and include the relationships between inflammation, vascular and metabolic function, and neuropsychological functioning across depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. She is also interested in neuropsychological performance and functional outcomes in psychiatric disorders and chronic health conditions. She is especially interested in examining how factors such as resilience and coping mediate these relationships.




Emily Morris: Clinical Science Doctoral Student

Emily is a first year in the Clinical Science PhD program. She is interested in understanding health disparities and cultural differences in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and how stress and inflammation may influence these relationships. She is also interested in cultural neuropsychology and its applications to working with diverse racial and ethnic groups.


Research Assistants

Priscella Holland: Research Assistant

Priscella is a postgrad research assistant. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in General Biology from the University of Michigan in 2018. She is currently applying to M.D. programs. Priscella hopes to become a geriatric specialist with a focus on minority populations. Priscella’s research interests are grounded in gerontology. She is interested in the socioeconomic and racial disparities that impact the progression of aging as well as the physiological mediators of aging.





Shreya Chandra: Research Assistant

Shreya is a junior majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience and has been a part of the Zahodne Lab since September 2017. She is interested in how social determinants impact cognitive aging and the long term affects of these determinants. In the future she hopes to attend medical school and continue doing research.





Jessica Springstead: Research Assistant

Jessica is a Psychology and Spanish major with a minor in Religion.  Jessica will graduate in 2020 and plans to attend a Clinical Psychology PhD program. Her research interests include intersectionality and cross- cultural psychology, specifically in culturally-competent diagnostic testing and treatment. She is currently working on an independent research project evaluating the relationship between religiosity and depression in a sample of Hispanic participants from the Health and Retirement Study.





Nicole Fraija: Research Assistant

Nicole is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Political Science. She is interested in exploring how risk factors such as socioeconomic status may lead to a faster cognitive decline in the aging population. Upon the completion of her undergraduate studies, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She then hopes to work with underprivileged communities in her home country, Colombia.





Abbey Hamlin: Research Assistant

Abbey is a senior undergraduate majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish. Her research interests include studying the effects of interpersonal relationships and social support on cognitive aging, racial disparities in health and cognition, and improving interventions for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently working on a senior honors thesis entitled “The Impact of Social Engagement on Episodic Memory in Older Adults.” After graduation, Abbey plans to pursue a job as a research coordinator in order to obtain more experience before applying to PhD programs in clinical psychology.





Angela Yoon: Research Assistant

Seayoung (Angela) is currently a sophomore studying BCN. She is interested in the cognitive processes in both adults and children and what happens within the brain when people think and act. She is interested in challenging herself to try new things and experiencing a variety of research opportunities to help her develop a future career that she can genuinely enjoy.





Kayla Gallant: Research Assistant

Kayla is a Junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, with a minor in Medical Anthropology. Following graduation, she plans to volunteer and work for a year before applying to Medical School. Research interests include: cognitive aging and decline, mental health, and neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases.





Brooke Huizenga: Research Assistant

Brooke is currently a junior majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and minoring in both Biology and Sociology of Health and Medicine at the University of Michigan. She is also currently an intern for the Washtenaw Psychology Society. After graduating, she hopes to continue her education in a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. Some of her research interests include cognitive development & aging and behavioral genetics.





Brianna Kenar: Research Assistant

Brianna is a sophomore studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and with minors in Crime & Justice and Music. Her research interests include cognitive aging, mental health and psychopathology. Outside of academics, Brianna is a member of the Michigan Marching Band where she plays the piccolo. In the future, she hopes to attend law school.





Riya Prasad: Research Assistant

Riya is currently a freshman at the University of Michigan planning to study public health. She is really interested in understanding health disparities and factors that play a role in health decline in order to one day, influence health policy. Riya’s research interests include cognitive aging, chronic disease, and social determinants of health.





Sydney Wilhoite: Research Assistant

Sydney is a third year undergraduate student pursing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience, with a minor in Applied Statistics. Some of her research interests include neurodegenerative disease, cognitive aging, and the effects of stress on cognitive function. Outside of academics, she skis for the Michigan Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team and is a barista at Starbucks. In the future she hopes to attend a Clinical Psychology PhD program and specialize in clinical neuropsychology.






Olivia Robinson: Research Assistant

Olivia is an undergraduate majoring in Biopsychology Cognition, and Neuroscience and Women’s Studies with a minor in German. She hopes to pursue a Masters of Public Health Administration. Olivia is interested in researching the varying inequalities, biases, and struggles that impact people’s health. Outside of schoolwork, she is extremely passionate about advocating for women’s rights to healthcare.





Gabrielle Hooper: Research Assistant

Gabrielle Hooper is a junior at the University of Michigan pursuing a dual degree in Cello Performance and Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. She has a wide array of research interests that focus on the intersection of music and psychology especially in ways we can use music as a tool to combat anxiety, improve or enhance memory, and stimulate learning. Gabrielle really enjoys both working with and performing for the elderly population as they can tell us a lot about our own functioning cognition. After undergrad, she hopes to pursue a PhD in either Neuropsychology or Cognitive psychology while fulfilling a rich career in chamber music with the Arbor Quartet.

Lab Alumni