Post-Bacc Research Staff

Lab Manager: 

Ei (Crystal) Thinzar

Crystal is a full-time lab manager at the CIRCLE Lab, and she graduated from UNC Greensboro with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Crystal actively pursued diverse basic and applied research experiences which helped inform her current research interests. Most recently, she helped design and develop an online research study that explores the impact of COVID-19 on families, their resilience against stressors and children’s remote learning experiences in Dr. Mendez’s lab. Broadly, Crystal is interested in identifying risk and resilience factors for developmental psychopathology with focus on family relationships, and informing early family intervention efforts. She plans on attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and ultimately hopes to contribute to mental health awareness efforts in the Asian community. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Research Assistants:

Carlton Johnson 

Carlton Johnson is a 2020 Duke Graduate with a BA in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry. While attending Duke, he operated as a research assistant in the Motor, Cognition, Aging Brain (MCAB) Lab under Dr. Gregory Samanez Larkin, studying the effects of dopamine availability and delayed discounting on subjective response. He also worked at the Lenox Baker Pediatric Hospital as a research assistant under Dr. Joan Jasien, studying the progression of neurodevelopmental diseases with age. Carlton plans to attend medical school in the future and has special fascination with addiction and neurological disorders. In his free time, he enjoys musicals, writing and cooking. (Pronouns: he/him/his)

Dominique Martinez 

Dominique is a full-time Research Assistant on the WHALE Study. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in the Biological Basis of Behavior, and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Dominique researched how features of a child’s early life environment, such as parenting behaviors and socioeconomic status, influence persistence and motivation, and child brain development. Dominique is interested in exploring the ways that research can support resilience in the face of adversity and is passionate about utilizing neuroscience to improve early childhood education. Outside of research, Dominique enjoys skateboarding, cooking and baking, and listening to music. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Kinjal Patel

Kinjal graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Exercise and Sports Science, and a minor in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate in the CIRCLE Lab she assisted on the Youth Emotion Study, a neuroimaging study investigating self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in adolescents, and she is enthusiastic to continue her work on this project. Kinjal is also a research assistant for the WHALE Study, and hopes to learn more about the impact of adversity on brain development. She is broadly interested in the effects of maltreatment and stressful life experiences on psychopathology and suicidal ideation and behavior in adolescence. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Summer Motton

Summer is a full-time research assistant on the WHALE study. She graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Psychology. She previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studied the influence of socioeconomic disparities on children’s brain and cognitive development. Summer is interested in understanding how childhood adversity impacts emotional development and confers risk for psychopathology, as well as how psych research can inform interventions which improve outcomes for children and adolescents. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Amanda Mitchell 

Amanda is a full-time research assistant on the WHALE Study under Dr. Margaret Sheridan. She graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Ethnicity & Race Studies. As an undergraduate, she worked for three years in clinical research in Columbia University Medical Center’s NeuroICU researching both the influence of coagulopathy on hematoma expansion and the impact of intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhages on cognition, emotion, and lifestyle. Amanda is interested in exploring the development of socioemotional intelligence and personality in children, as well as how the impact of adversity on childhood psychological development can have far-reaching ramifications on adult health and wellness. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Daniel Stickel 

Daniel graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Biology and minors in Neuroscience and Spanish. He previously did work in the Shih lab at UNC-Chapel Hill, assisting in studies on the effect of alcohol on the developing adolescent brain. Daniel is most interested in brain damage/malfunction and subsequent behavioral changes that occur as a result and understanding the underlying mechanisms involved so that individuals with these issues can receive the best treatment possible. (Pronouns: he/him/his)