Paul D. Hastings, Ph.D.

Lab Director

I am a developmental psychologist and Professor of Psychology, past Chair of Psychology, and past Interim Dean of the School of Education at the University of California Davis. Prior to moving to UC Davis, I completed my studies in Canada at McGill University (B.S.), the University of Toronto (M.A., Ph.D.) and the University of Waterloo Ontario (post-doc), and then worked at the National Institute of Mental Health intramural program (Bethesda, Maryland) and Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec). My graduate research focused on studying parents and parent-child relationships, and the relationship contexts of children’s lives – families, peers, communities and cultures – continues to be core parts of my current research. In most of my work, I examine how relationships and life contexts function together with mechanisms of neurobiological regulation to shape adaptive and maladaptive development from early childhood into early adulthood.


Ryan Hodge

B.S. Neuroscience, Physiology and Behavior, UC Davis
M.S. Child Development, UC Davis


I am a doctoral student in the Human Development Program researching positive youth development applications of adolescent socio-emotional and neurobiological development. Overall, my research aims to assess individual difference characteristics that may contribute to adaptive functioning and positive developmental trajectories. My current research projects are aimed at exploring adolescent autonomic and neural functioning as predictors of prosocial and empathic behavior development. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, hiking, learning languages, and cooking new recipes.


Lindsey Partington

M.A. Developmental Psychology, Claremont Graduate University

I am a doctoral student in the Human Development Program researching parental socialization of children’s positive socioemotional development. I am particularly interested in the interaction between positive parenting practices and children’s autonomic physiology in influencing children’s well-being and prosocial development. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor recreation, baking bread, and playing with my cat and dog.


Rashmi Risbud

BS: Neuroscience,Physiology and Behavior (NPB): UC Davis
MA: Psychology: San Diego State University
I am a graduate student in the Psychology program. My research interests are primarily focused on the role of emotion regulation in healthy development in children and adolescence, and prevention of mental illnesses through studying physiology and children’s socialization. I have worked in other areas of developmental psychology as well as caregiving research in the past. In my free time I enjoy ocean swimming, painting, and hiking with my dog. Please feel free to contact me via email if you’d like to learn more!

Vincent Chávez

B.A. Psychology, UC Riverside

I am a graduate student in the Psychology program. My research interests focus on studying self-regulation (e.g., emotional, physiological, and behavioral) in health, stress arousal, and health disparities among youth. I am particularly interested in better understanding their interactive influence among youths’ cardiac health over time through a developmental-sociocultural lens. I hope my work can empower individuals to take an active role in their health and well-being (e.g., adaptive coping and regulation skills, healthy food choices, stress management). In my free time, I enjoy trying new coffee shops and spending quality time with my mini-goldendoodle, Canelo.


Scarlett Lopez-Aguilar

B.A. Psychology,  UC Davis

I completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UC Davis. There I was involved in the HERD Lab as a research assistant before becoming Junior Specialist for the HERD and SES Lab. I am broadly interested in studying family dynamics, resilience in the face of adversity and developmental trajectories. In my free time I enjoy crocheting, dancing and watching a good movie. 


Tiffany Chen

I am a third year undergraduate majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior and minoring in Psychology. I am interested in exploring how different environmental and biological factors shape mental health and development. I am currently on the pre-health track, but am also interested in programs focused on health and research. In my free time, I like to draw, play the piano, and go on walks.

Briana Bayan

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis. Majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Community & Regional Development and Global International Studies. I am interested in exploring social and developmental psychology in relation to socioeconomic factors. I would like to later pursue a graduate degree in Industrial- Organizational Psychology. In my free time, I enjoy painting, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Heather Elahi

I am a first-year clinical psychology doctoral student at Alliant International University in Sacramento. I am interested in studying children and adolescents with overlapping neurodevelopmental disorders. I enjoy working in the lab and I’m gaining good research experience. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, baking, and reading.

Savannah Espinola

I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in biopsychology. I am interested in the adversities children experience in the foster care system and how those challenges promote resiliency. I am also interested in why some children are still able to thrive in their adverse environment, while others aren’t. I plan on pursing a clinical psychology degree and work with children who are at risk. In my free time, I enjoy collecting plants, eating, and watching movies.

Ruben Tafolla

Hello, my name is Ruben Tafolla, I’m from the Central Valley here in California, and I am a 4th year Senior at UC Davis. I’m majoring in Human Development & Psychology and plan to enter a graduate nursing program upon graduating. I am interested in case management for psychiatric and mental health patients, hopefully entering research in the future to explore developmental psychology and topics like resilience and ACEs. Some of my favorite activities when not working with the HERD lab include exercising at the ARC, reading classic books, and cooking but don’t ask me to bake though.

Gill Antiporda

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at UC Davis. I am currently planning on pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology to study adverse childhood experiences and childhood trauma, specifically their unique impacts on ethnic and racial minority youth. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, being outside, and going on picnics.