Laboratory Members

Brian Chin is a second year graduate student in the lab. He received a B.S. in Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2015. Presently, his research studies the link between psychosocial stress, social support, and physical health. His current project examines the relationship between psychosocial stress and asthma outcomes.

Brian can be e-mailed at

Melissa is a second  year graduate student in our lab. She graduated from Princeton University in 2013 with a B.A. in psychology and completed an M.S. in Global Health from Syracuse University in 2015. Her research interests focus primarily on the effects of stress and social support on chronic disease and immune function.


These are the Fur Girls. Dr. Cohen shares a house with them. Ypssi is 3 years old, Sadie is 10, and Irma is 16. All three have PhDs from MIT where they majored in nuclear engineering. They are helpful in writing (or at least sitting on) papers being prepared in our laboratory and have rubbed against many famous psychologists. They are best known for their classic paper on mousing and chipmunking techniques. The Fur Girls were drawn by their grandmother, Eleanora Miller. (We have received multiple emails suggesting that we shouldn't have drugged Ypssi to get her to pose. The truth is it was us who needed the drugs.)

Lab Alumni


Although we don't always like to admit it, Ian Brissette was a member of our research lab.  He is now the Director of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Evaluation and 
Research in the New York State Department of Health. Staff in this Bureau are responsible for collecting, analyzing and reporting data on the burden of chronic
disease and its risk factors, including obesity, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, stress and tobacco use. He and his staff are also responsible for
collecting data to evaluate the New York State Health Department's public health initiatives addressing chronic disease. Recent projects have assessed the impact
of a media campaign on customers' use of posted calorie information and purchasing behavior, tested the association between tobacco retail density and smoking,
evaluated the impact of a quality improvement initiative to promote exclusive breastfeeding in maternity hospitals, and measured changes in school's local wellness
policies. He can be contacted at:

URL for the NYSDOH home page.
URL for the NYSDOH web pages that cover health statistics


Ian and family, 2012

Ellen Conser was a research associate in the lab and assistant to Dr. Cohen for 15 years (2000-2014).  She worked on the Pittsburgh Cold & Flu Studies and others. In 2000, she received an MA in medical ethics from Michigan State University after working as a graduate research assistant at MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry.  Ellen also served as a CMU Staff Council representative from 2006-2014.  She enjoys bicycling, swimming, gardening, showering affection on canine passersby, and kayaking with her dad in the Everglades in close proximity to alligators. Ellen recently accepted a position with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and can be e-mailed at




Crista Crittenden, Ph.D., formerly a graduate student in our lab, is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at CMU-Qatar. Her research interests are related to pediatric chronic illness, particularly asthma, and associated biopsychosocial factors. She received her undergraduate degree in brain and cognitive science, as well as her Masters in Public Health, at the University of Rochester. When she is not thinking of, entering data on, or analyzing cortisol samples, she enjoys kayaking, reading, sleeping, and watching copious amounts of television.

Crista can be emailed at

Dr. Zora Crittenden received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her main area of interest deals with hostility in squirrels, especially as manifested through inter-species taunting. Her secondary research relates to apathy in pigeons. In her free time, she enjoys chasing plastic bottle caps and staring blankly at the wall.








Pam and friend visiting the Coliseum (Rome, Italy), 2012

Pam Feldman, a former post-doctoral fellow in our lab, is currently a Fundraiser for a non-profit called Peace Brigades International (PBI), UK Section, which offers non-violent protection to human rights defenders in Latin America and Asia . She can be reached at the following address: Dr. Pamela Feldman, PBI UK, 1B Waterlow Road, London UK N19 5NJ.

Her e-mail address is


Natalie Hamrick, a former graduate student in our lab, is the founder of, and life coach, author, and speaker with Healing Journey Ministries, a Christian approach to partnering with God to get through life’s hardships.  Dr. Hamrick’s initial research in stress, coping and health led to the development of a faith-based support program for cancer survivors entitled Cope by Faith (link to Cope by Faith, and she has expanded this approach to chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome.

You may e-mail her at . She receives mail at 13810 E. Camden Chase Ct., Wichita, KS  67228.


Natalie in 2001

Natalie and family, 2011

DeniseDenise Janicki Deverts is a Research Psychologist who joined the lab (originally as a post-doctoral fellow) in January, 2006. She currently holds the position of Research Facilitator at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. You can email her at

Gregory Miller, a former post-doctoral fellow in our lab, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University. He receives mail at the Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 2029 Sheridan Road, 102 Swift Hall, Evanston, IL 60208-2710. You can e-mail him at



Deb Polk, Ph.D., a former post-doctoral fellow in our lab, is currently Assistant Professor of Dental Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, 
School of Dental Medicine. In her current work, she is modeling the underlying causal structure of health behaviors. She may be e-mailed at
Her profile may be accessed at


Sarah Pressman, a former graduate student in the Cohen lab, is currently an Associate Professor at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Pressman's work focuses on understanding the connections between positive psychosocial factors and physical health, with the specific goal of disentangling the physiological and behavioral pathways that allow these connections to occur.

Dr. Pressman¹s webpage and contact information are as follows:

University of California, Irvine
4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Department of Psychology & Social Behavior
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
Email: Sarah's buddy, Milo, enjoying a day off at the Doggy Beach

Rodlescia Sneed is a former graduate student in the lab. She received her PhD in 2014 and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. Rodlescia is interested in how social relationships and various social roles are related to psychological well-being and physical health outcomes among older adults. She can be reached at


Staff updated August 31, 2015