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.


Lauren Gonzalves

M.S.W. from UC Berkeley
M.A. Developmental Psychology, UC Davis

Before coming to UC Davis, I worked as a clinical social worker with children and families with extensive trauma histories. This experience has guided my current research interests in the influence of early life adversity and parent-child relationships on the development of psychopathology. I am especially  interested in the intersection of environmental and physiological risk factors for adolescent suicidality.

Ryan Hodge

B.S. Neurobiology, UC Davis

I am a doctoral student in the Human Development program researching the impact of adverse social contexts on the neurobiological mechanisms (e.g., autonomic, neural) that underlie sociocognitive and affective functioning to subserve prosocial behaviors. I am particularly interested in the impact of discrimination, peer rejection, and chronic financial stressors on adolescent development. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, and cooking new recipes.

Lisa Johnson

B.A. Psychology, Temple University

I am a doctoral student in the Psychology graduate program researching positive youth development within the context of early adversity. I am especially interested in the interaction of environmental and physiological mechanisms underlying trajectories of adolescent adaptive functioning (e.g., self-regulation, coping, peer competence). In my free time, I enjoy reading surrealist fiction, hiking, and swimming. CV upon request.

Meital Mashash

B.A. Integrative Biology, emphasis in Human Biology & Health Sciences, UC Berkeley

I am a doctoral student in the Human Development program researching the impact of early life adversity on physiology and health. My current research focuses on the long-term effects of childhood adversity on inflammation, depression and obesity. I am interested in further studying the psychosocial and neurobiological mechanisms underlying maladaptive development, and I aim to explore resilience factors (e.g., genetics, parenting, attachment) that may buffer individuals from the negative consequences of early life adversity. In my free time I enjoy dancing, swimming, doing arts and crafts, and playing with my dogs.

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.

Elisa Ugarte

B.A. Arts and Humanities, Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile
M.A. Human Development and Education,
UC Berkeley

I am a doctoral student in Human Development broadly interested in how unpredictability shapes children’s and youth’s physiology and mental health. In particular, how unpredictability at different time scales, such as war displacement or fluctuations in day-to-day maternal mood, relates to neurobiology and psychopathology. Before coming to UC Davis, I worked as an elementary school teacher with underserved children and families in Santiago, Chile. This experience inspired me to learn how stressors get under the skin with the purpose of promoting social, health, and educational justice for Chilean children and youth’s biobehavioral development. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, hopefully around a bonfire, eating Lindsey’s bread, and all Harry Potter things.


Enya Daang

B.A. Cognitive Science, UC Berkeley

I am the junior specialist and lab coordinator for the HERD and SES Lab at UC Davis. Prior to joining the lab, I was involved in the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Lab and the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley. I am broadly interested in emotion beliefs and they interact with our emotion regulation and physiology. Outside of research, I love trying new foods, knitting, and watching Studio Ghibli films.


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.

Diana Mathis

I am in my last semester at Arizona State University and will be graduating in Spring 2022 with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. I also hold an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from Sac State. I am planning to pursue a doctorate degree in either clinical or counseling psychology with a research emphasis on gender and ethnic disparity in the STEM domain. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my two teenage children, where we like to paddle board, kayak, and travel as often as possible.