Meet the Team
MICHAEL W. OTTO, PH.D.
Dr. Otto is a Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy at Boston University. He has served as President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and President of the Division 12 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Otto is also the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology award from APA Division 12. His major career focus has been on developing and validating new psychosocial treatments, with particular emphasis on treatment refractory populations, including those with mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. His work includes a translational research agenda investigating brain-behavior relationships in therapeutic learning, and a focus on principles underlying behavior-change failures that includes an additional focus on the health-behavior promotion, including investigations of addictive behaviors, medication adherence, exercise, and sleep. Dr. Otto has published well over 400 articles and 20 books spanning his research interests, and he was identified as a “top producer” in the clinical empirical literature as well as an ISI Highly Cited Researcher. He also serves as a consultant to industry and companies seeking to improve executive communication, motivation, and effectiveness.
E. MARIE PARSONS, PH.D., RESEARCH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Marie is a Research Assitant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Her research interests focus on the examination of transdiagnostic mechanisms and the evaluation of interventions that target these mechanisms, with a particular interest in the transdiagnostic impact of shame. Marie’s research also focuses on increasing the accessibility of evidence-based treatments through digital intervention. Before arriving at Boston University, Marie received her Ph.D. from Miami University and completed her predoctoral internship at VA Boston Healthcare System.
LAURA LONG, Ph.D., POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE
Laura is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Her research focuses on resilience and recovery from anxiety and related disorders. She is interested in protective factors, such as hope and optimism, that promote wellbeing and act as mechanisms of change during transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral treatments for emotional disorders. Before arriving at Boston University, Laura received her Ph.D. from University of Houston and completed her predoctoral internship at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
HAYLEY FITZGERALD, M.A., DOCTORAL STUDENT
Hayley is currently a sixth-year graduate student in the Translational Research Program. Her research aims to advance evidence-based treatments for anxiety and fear-based disorders. Hayley is particularly interested in studying underlying mechanisms (e.g., anxiety sensitivity) and using translational research methods (e.g., fear conditioning) to work towards this goal. She is currently working on her dissertation study which is a three-day fear conditioning study that is designed to investigate two mechanisms: mood and stimulus valence.
REBECCA LUBIN, M.A., DOCTORAL STUDENT
Rebecca is a third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Otto. Her research interests include examining the mechanisms of therapeutic change for anxiety and fear-based disorders in order to inform novel interventions and optimize evidence-based treatments. Before joining the program at Boston University, she received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard College and worked as a research coordinator on projects investigating anxiety disorders, PTSD, and pathological grief, most recently at NYU School of Medicine.
NADINE TAGHIAN, B.S., DOCTORAL STUDENT
Nadine is a second-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program under the mentorship of Dr.Michael Otto. Her research interests include examining the mechanisms that contribute to the development and maintenance of substance use disorders, as well as researching the predictors of relapse after long-term sobriety. Previously, Nadine received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Trinity College and worked as a clinical research assistant at McLean Hospital in the Division of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction.
MICHELE HISERODT, M.A., LAB MANAGER
After receiving her B.S. in Psychology and Neurobiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michele completed the Master’s program in Psychology at Boston University in May 2020. In addition to volunteering at TRP, she completed her Master’s directed study at BU in the Biobehavioral and Social Emotional (BASE) Development Lab. Prior to coming to BU, she worked as a mental health technician at The Emily Program, a residential eating disorder treatment facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her main research interests include investigating factors that may influence the etiology and treatment of psychopathology in adolescents and young adults. If you are interested in participating in an ongoing study, contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoë is working on her Master’s degree in (Macro) Social Work at Boston College after graduating from Boston University with a B.A. in Psychology in 2022. After receiving an award from the Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy, she began researching treatment preferences in regard to anxiety and insomnia. Her interests lie in mood disorders, trauma and violence, and mental health policy. Outside of the Translational Research Program, Zoë volunteers at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) as a medical advocate and will begin interning with DOVE, Domestic Violence Ended, in the Fall of 2022.
Kristen graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in mental health in 2022. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree she worked under psychologists and provided care to children with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and developmental disorders. Prior to coming to BU, Kristen was a research assistant at Harvard GraduateSchool of Education, where she assessed students across Boston to measure their language, executive function, social-emotional well-being, and more. Her main interests lie in anxiety disorders, mood disorders, self-esteem, and trauma.
Piper is a Kilachand Honors College student at Boston University planning to graduate in May 2023 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her interests include but are not limited to counseling, mental health and memory, and substance abuse. She is currently conducting a Senior Honors Thesis in the lab exploring the relationship between Imposter Phenomenon and overgeneral autobiographical memory. Outside of the lab, Piper is a research assistant at the Center for Mind and Culture, treasurer of the BU Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society, and a member of the BU Tri-Alpha honor society for first-generation students.
I’m an undergraduate research assistant studying psychology with a minor in philosophy, expecting to graduate in 2024. My interests lie in trauma and stressor-related disorders, substance abuse, and counseling. Outside of the Translational Research Program, I play piano in the BU Jazz Combo and volunteer in BU Alzheimer’s Buddies. In my free time, I enjoy finding new music and watching Boston sports.