Jessica Andrews-Hanna, PhD
Jessica is Director of the NET Laboratory and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Arizona. Since childhood, she has been passionate about exploring the hidden nature of the world around and within us – the science behind what is often obscured from view. She became intrigued by one of those mysteries - the nature of human thought – while in college at Duke University, and further pursued this topic throughout her graduate training in Neuroscience (M.A., Washington University in St. Louis) and Psychology (Ph.D., Harvard University). Today, Jessica is a cognitive neuroscientist who combines behavioral experiments with functional brain imaging and network analysis to bring human thought, emotion, and other internally-guided processes (i.e. memory, prospection, & social cognition) into view. She is passionate about exploring these questions across the lifespan and in a variety of mental health disorders, with an ultimate goal of developing interventions to help individuals harness the beneficial aspects of internally-guided cognition. When she’s not working, you can probably find Jessica on a mountain, trail, lake, or in a tent enjoying the beauty of nature and giving her mind the opportunity to flow freely without constraints on cognition!
Post-Docs & Graduate Students
Teodora Stoica, PhD
Teodora completed her B.A. in Psychology at East Carolina University where she investigated the neurobiological effects of alcohol in animal models. She continued her education at University of Hartford, earning a M.S. in Neuroscience. She shifted her focus toward human neuroscience at Yale University, where she utilized real time fMRI to better understand contamination anxiety. She gained further neuroimaging experience from University of Maryland Baltimore, adding Arterial Spin Labeling and Diffusion Tensor Imaging with fMRI analyses to study Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients. She completed her PhD in Translational Neuroscience at the University of Louisville. Her dissertation investigated how our dynamic neuroarchitecture gives rise to emotional intelligence. Utilizing multimodal neuroimaging techniques, her research illuminated the dynamic interplay between brain networks underlying two emotional intelligence facets: empathy and emotion regulation. As a postdoc in the Neuroscience of Emotion and Thought (Dr. Jessica Andrews-Hanna) & Human Memory Labs (Dr. Matt Grilli), she is using dynamic functional connectivity analyses to investigate brain network changes in an aging population. Apart from her research, she strongly believes that science holds a transformative power over our society’s challenges if communicated correctly. To this end, she enjoys contributing engaging written pieces explaining complex science topics geared toward the general public. She is happiest outside exploring the Sonoran Desert, eating unusual cuisines and playing cello (not at the same time).
Shanshan Ma, PhD
Shanshan is a postdoc for the Connected Lives: Overcoming the Self through Empathy (CLOSE) Study, working under the joint guidance of Dr. Jessica Andrews-Hanna in the Neuroscience of Emotion and Thought Lab and Dr. David Sbarra in the Lab for Social Connectedness and Health. She completed her M.A. in psychology at the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning at Beijing Normal University, where she studied the brain mechanisms involved in craving and cognitive control deficits in Internet gaming disorder. During her Ph.D. studies at the Faculty of Psychology at Beijing Normal University, she shifted her focus to investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the impact of marital interactions and responses to the social world on marital well-being. Currently, she is using behavioral and neuroimaging data to explore the facilitators and barriers to social connection and mental health in the context of romantic relationships. She hopes that her research will contribute to improving romantic relationships and preventing mental health problems. In her free time, Shanshan enjoys listening to music, watching basketball games, and savoring delicious foods.
Diego Guevara Beltran, PhD
Diego received his bachelor’s degrees in psychology and evolutionary anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He then completed his M.A. in social psychology at Arizona State University (ASU), where he employed experimental methods to show how sharing food can inadvertently reduce perceptions of interdependence and hinder cooperation by activating a scarcity mindset and disease avoidance concerns. He continued at ASU to complete his PhD in social psychology, where he employed longitudinal methods to show how experiences of need, and helping in others when in need, might cultivate an empathetic disposition over time and allow people to recruit help from others during future times of need. He is currently a postdoc working with Dr. Jessica Andrews-Hannah and Dr. Dave Sbarra on the Connected Lives: Overcoming the Self through Empathy (CLOSE) study. Overall, Diego’s research aims to understand the psychological underpinnings of cooperation: why do people cooperate (i.e., what are the costs and benefits of cooperation)? What are the psychological mechanisms that facilitate (or hinder) cooperation? And what are the consequences of cooperation (or failing to cooperate) for social relationships and wellbeing?
Andrea Coppola, M.A. (Graduate Student)
Andrea is a clinical psychology PhD student at the University of Arizona where she is jointly advised by Dr. Andrews-Hanna in the NET Lab and Dr. Dave Sbarra in the Lab for Social Connectedness and Health. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and managed Dr. Jim Coan’s Virginia Affective Neuroscience Lab after graduation. She is broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms of the link between social relationships and health. Currently, she is interested in how supportive relationships are established and maintained, and factors that might make those processes difficult for some (e.g., depression, rumination, self-focus). In her free time, Andrea enjoys making puns, eating carbs, bouldering, and befriending every dog she encounters. Andrea is currently completing her predoctoral clinical internship at the San Diego VA Healthcare System/UCSD Internship Consortium.
Eric Andrews, MA
Eric is a graduate student in the CNS program, where his research interests revolve around using techniques to deepen our understanding of the neural underpinnings of affective/cognitive interactions. More specifically, Eric is interested in the relationship between threat-ladened episodic memory and cognitive rigidity (such as a persistent rumination on distressing experience or a bias against the incorporation of potential safety cues from ambiguous or complicated contexts). He is a graduate of the University of NH where he received his B.A. in Psychology and his M.A. in Counseling. Prior to starting the program at UA, Eric worked as a research assistant at both Dartmouth College and the University of Denver. He has been working as a psychotherapist in private practice since 2008 and maintains a small client base helping individuals with anxiety and trauma-related disorders.
Mariam Hovhannisyan, BS
Mariam is a clinical psychology student co-advised by Drs. Andrews-Hanna and Matt Grilli. Mariam is generally interested in how memory changes in older age. Before joining U of A as a graduate student, Mariam worked at Duke University as an RA in the Electric Dino Lab on projects involving memory, aging, neuroimaging, and brain stimulation. She received her B.S. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. In her free time, Mariam is probably dancing or cooking, or doing both at the same time!
Vannia A. Puig Rivera
Vannia is a Ph.D student in the Cognitive and Neural Systems program and the 2023 University Fellow awardee for the Department of Psychology. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she moved to the United States upon completing her B.A. in 2014 to strengthen her research skills and pursue graduate school. After working as a research assistant in the University of Chicago and completing a Master's Degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she has decided to focus her work on internally-guided cognition. Specifically, she’s interested in how internally generated thoughts guide human behavior, emotion, cognition, and vice-versa. Now, after three years in Ohio doing research with the Air Force Research Lab - Applied Neuroscience Division, she has returned to Academia and looks forward to furthering her research expertise at the NET Lab. As for her hobbies, she enjoys hiking, weight-lifting, spending time at the pool, and dancing.
Staff & Undergraduate Research Assistants
Delaney graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Psychological Sciences in 2022. After gaining experience in psychological research under Dr. Andrews-Hanna during her undergraduate studies, Delaney joined the NET Lab and Human Memory Lab as a study coordinator for the C.A.R.E. study in August 2022 and started as the lab manager after graduating in December 2022. Delaney's research interests include the effects of mindfulness on cognition and behavior. In her free time, Delaney can be found reading a good book and exploring Tucson!
Joanna graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Psychology and a Sequence in Leadership in 2022. She currently works as the project coordinator for the Couples Research Study. Before coming to U of A, Joanna worked at the Umanath Memory and Aging Lab as an RA and has since been interested in memory and aging, as well as research in general. Outside of the lab, Joanna enjoys weightlifting, volunteering, and cooking. You may also find her in an Army uniform, as she serves in the Army Reserves as a Chemical Officer.
Kayleigh graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Psychological Science in 2023. As an undergraduate, Kayleigh did work in many different labs, including the SuRRF Lab under Dr. John Ruiz, the Self & Attitudes Lab under Dr. Jeff Stone, and, in the College of Public Health, she worked for the Community Research, Evaluation & Development (CRED) program under Dr. Michelle Walsh. Kayleigh landed in the NET Lab her senior year, where she completed a capstone project on adult attachment and its neural and physiological underpinnings – a topic she hopes to pursue for her PhD in the not-so-distant future. Her passion for and curiosity about adult attachment matched her up with the Couples Research Study, on which she is now a research technician. If you run into Kayleigh, you will likely hear her talking about her two cats, who are the joy of her existence. She also loves running, doing anything outside in the mountains, listening to NPR, and staying in for a nice TV/knitting day.
Recent Lab Alumni
Quentin Raffaelli, Ph.D. - Former Ph.D. student in the CNS program
Katherine Richard, - Former CLOSE project coordinator
Ethan Hudgens, BA - Former Undergraduate Thesis student
Surya Fitzgerald, BS - Former Undergraduate Thesis student
Isaac Zwinger-Nathanson, BA
Lexie Lichty, BS
Methmi Jayasinghe, BA
Erin Maresh, Ph.D. - Former Postdoc
Caity Cegavske, BA - Former Study Coordinator
Freya Abraham, BS
Heba Saeed, BS
Johannes Alvarez, BS - Former Undergraduate Thesis Student
Jonah Vega-Reid, BS - Pursuing a Master of Public Health at UA
Kate Chambers, BS - Former Undergraduate Thesis Student
Venessa Figueroa, BS
Daniel Hernandez, BA/BS - Former post-Bac student, now pursuing a Ph.D. at UA
Hannah Burns, BS - Former Undergraduate Thesis student
Chris Griffith, BS - Former Study Coordinator - Pursuing a Ph.D. at UCCS
Ramsey Wilcox, BS - Former Study Coordinator - Pursuing a Ph.D. at UI
Darya Zabelina, Ph.D. - Former Postdoc - Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas