Research Team


Carla Sharp

Carla Sharp

Dr. Sharp trained as a clinical psychologist (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) from 1994-1997, after which she completed a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychopathology at Cambridge University, UK, 1997-2000. In 2001, she obtained full licensure as a clinical psychologist in the UK. From 2001-2004 she was appointed as a Research Post-doctoral Fellow in Developmental Psychopathology, Cambridge University. In 2004, she moved to the United States to take up an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. She obtained provisional licensure as Clinical Psychologist in Texas in 2008. In 2009, she was appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston.

Her published work includes over 100 publications reflecting her interests in the social-cognitive basis of psychiatric problems and problems of behavioral health, and the application of this work in developing diagnostic tools and interventions. She has co-authored three books: An edited volume with Springer titled The Handbook of Borderline Personality Disorder in Children and Adolescents, an edited volume with Oxford University Press titled Social cognition and developmental psychopathology and a book with MIT Press titled Midbrain mutiny: Behavioral economics and neuroeconomics of gambling addiction as basic reward system disorder.

Assistant Lab Director

Carolyn Ha

Carlolyn Ha

Carolyn is a fifth year doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston, in the child and family track. She has recently been awarded with the National Research Service Award from the NIMH for her predoctoral training. Her current research interests are broadly in the areas of developmental psychopathology with a specific focus on social cognition, emerging borderline personality disorder (BPD), and externalizing problems in youths. Other areas of interest include treatment outcome, measure development, and the use of functional neuroimaging (fMRI) in psychological research. Carolyn has successfully proposed her dissertation, which focuses on the effects of intranasal oxytocin on social cognitive functioning in adolescents with and without BPD. Her prior external practicum rotations have included UT-Harris County Psychiatric Center and DePelchin's Children's Center. She also has completed clinical and research work at The Menninger Clinic, Adolescent Treatment Program, as a part of the Duncan Family Fellow position for the 2012-2013 academic year. Currently, she will complete her external practicum rotation at Texas Children's Hospital, The Center for Children and Women.

Lab Manager

Kaitlin Pham


Kaitlin is currently a senior, pursuing a B.S. in psychology and a minor in Biology. I joined the developmental psychopathology lab this summer as a research assistant on the ATP study. Along with research, I also volunteer at Memorial Hermann Southeast in the medical/surgical unit and the occupational therapy unit. My research interests include social cognition, borderline personality disorder and adolescent suicidality. After graduation I hope to continue research and ultimately pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Clinical Psychology Graduate Students

Allison Kalpakci

Allison Kalpakci

Allison is in her third year in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Houston. She is primarily interested in interpersonal processes that relate to the development of Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescents. Allison's thesis utilized a multi-method approach to examine the relation between shame and borderline personality disorder in adolescents with BPD. For her dissertation, she is interested in applying naturalistic methodological approaches, like ecological momentary assessment, to study interpersonal behavior in adolescents with BPD.  Her current external practicum placement is at the Dialectical Behavior Therapy center.

Will Mellick

Will Mellick

Will is a third-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychopathology Lab. He completed his undergraduate studies at Syracuse University and received a second bachelor's from Portland State University. His research interests broadly lie in the study of social cognition in adolescent depression. He is particularly interested in applying experimental methodologies to his work. Will’s thesis utilized a behavioral economic approach to examine the relation between adolescent depression and interpersonal trust. Will was a recipient of the University of Houston's Lynn P. Rehm Graduate Student Scholarship and Presidential Graduate Fellowship. His current external practicum placement is at Harris County Psychiatric Center.

Claire Hatkevich

Claire Hatkevich

Claire is a second-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program and Developmental Psychopathology Lab. Claire completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Delaware; during this time, she assisted with a clinical trial at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on adolescent suicidality. As a graduate student, she is primarily interested in nonsuicidal self-injury and suicidality, and more specifically, the precipitants and experiences which maintain these behaviors. Claire co-coordinates and works as research assistant for the adolescent study, "Early Markers of Suicidal Behaviors" at the Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC). Claire has been recipient of the First Year CLASS Graduate Assistantship and University of Houston Recruitment Award. 

Charles Jardin


Charles recently completed his first year of the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Houston, in Houston, Texas, and as a graduate research assistant with both the Developmental Psychopathology Laboratory and the Anxiety and Health Laboratory/Substance Use Treatment Clinic, under the supervision of Drs. Carla Sharp and Michael Zvolensky, respectively. His research interests focus on risk behavior across the transition from adolescence to adulthood, including substance use and sexual risk behavior. Informed by a developmental psychopathology framework, his present research efforts are exploring risk and protective factors that influence decision-making across development, with an emphasis on attachment and trauma; investigating transdiagnostic mediators and moderators of risk behavior, such as positive/negative reinforcement and emotion processes; and examining risk behavior dimensionally and categorically to better understand the transition from normative to pathological risk-taking. As an incoming student, he received the University Presidential Graduate Fellowship. Currently, he is a clinical research assistant at the Harris County Psychiatric Center and The Montrose Center. Prior to beginning the UH doctoral program, Charles completed the Master of Divinity at Duke Divinity School, Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, and served as a congregational pastor in Durham and a clinical hospital chaplain in Houston.

Salome Vanwoerden


Salome is a first-year doctoral graduate student in the Developmental Psychopathology lab. She received her undergraduate degree from Rice University and has worked as a research coordinator at The Menninger Clinic for the last two years. Her primary research interest is social cognition, specifically theory of mind. She is also interested in exploring how attachment and family dynamics contribute to the development of theory of mind. For her master’s thesis, she hopes to examine interpersonal theory using an experimental task in an inpatient sample of adolescents. Salome is a recipient of the Presidential Graduate Fellowship.

Students on Internship

Tyson Reuter


Tyson is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the child-family track. He graduated summa cum laude with honors from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, receiving his B.A. in psychology and philosophy. He was previously project leader for the NARSAD study and project co-coordinator for the HCPC project. His previous external practicums were the Menninger Clinic and a local private practice, where he provided assessments and psychotherapy for inpatient and outpatient adolescents and adults. His master's thesis examined the relation between borderline features and teen dating violence, and his dissertation examines teen dating violence in sexual minority youth. He is currently completing his pre-doctoral internship at Northwestern Medical School, where he studies health behaviors in sexual minority youth, works in an infectious disease clinic, and provides services at a community clinic serving the greater LGBT community in Chicago.

Amanda Venta


Amanda is in her fifth year of the Child and Family track of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program and is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at Baylor College of Medicine, DePelchin Children's Center. Her primary academic interests are the protective effects of attachment security, with related interests in emotion dysregulation and social cognition. Her master's thesis, entitled "Attachment style as a risk factor for suicide-related behaviors in youth," was completed Summer 2012. Her dissertation, currently underway, is entitled "Oxytocin and social engagement," and examines trust and maternal attachment via intranasal administration of the hormone oxytocin. This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Recent Graduates

Elizabeth Ross, Ph.D.

Robert Seals, Ph.D.

Heather Pane, Ph.D.

Kelly Green, Ph.D.

Stephanie Kovacs, Ph.D.

Teona Amble, Ph.D.

Research Assistants

Ashley Coleman


Ashley graduated magna cum laude from Mercer University in Macon, GA in May 2014. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and Christianity. Some of her undergraduate experiences include designing and running her honors research experiment, entitled the Effects of Service Learning on Cognitive Development, and two field placements working with students with emotional and behavioral problems at a local school. Ashley is currently working as a Research Assistant in Dr. Sharp's lab and is serving as the coordinator for two ongoing studies focused on social cognition. Her future plans are to complete a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. She is most interested in studying conduct disorders and ADHD.

Robyn Douglas


Robyn is a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S in Psychology with a minor in Human Resources Management. She recently joined Dr. Sharp's lab as a research assistant for the Adolescent Treatment Program and Harris County Psychiatric Center studies. She is also currently an assistant in Dr. Yoshida's Cognitive Development Lab as of March 2014. Upon graduation, she is interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Her research interests include trauma, anxiety, depression, suicidality, and self-injury in children and adolescents.

Babetta Mathai


Babetta graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S in Psychology and a double minor in Neuroscience and Philosophy in December 2013. She previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant in a Neuroscience lab at Texas A&M. Shortly after graduation, she joined Dr. Sharp's lab to gain more experience in research and further explore her research interests. Currently, her interests lie in the area of culture, ethnicity, and mental health; chronic pain; learning and attention disorders; and suicidality and depression in adolescents and young adults. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in Clinical Psychology by obtaining a doctoral degree and continuously learning and growing through research.

Tanveer Otal

Tanveer Otal

Tanveer is currently a senior at the University of Houston. She will complete her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health Education in the Summer of 2014. Upon graduation Tanveer plans on continuing her education through research in psychology and pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. Tanveer started working at the Developmental Psychopathology Lab in May 2014 as the Lab Manager. She joined at Dr. Tackett’s Personality Across Development Lab in January 2014, where she works as a Project Coordinator for the Texas Twin Project. Tanveer also works at Dr. Zvolensky’s Anxiety and Health Research Lab-Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic as a research assistant. Tanveer has a wide range of research interests, which include substance abuse and addictive behaviors, juvenile perpetrators and victims of child abuse, emotional self-regulation, and borderline personality disorder.

Maria Poston


Maria holds a B.A. in Psychology from Baylor University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She joined Dr. Sharp's Developmental Psychopathology Lab in August 2013 and has been assisting with the Oxytocin project. Her interests include social cognition, personality disorders, attachment research, and the intersection of philosophy and psychology. Maria also works at the University of Texas-Harris County Psychiatric Center providing individual and group therapy for adolescents.

Kiana Wall


Kiana is a junior in the Honors College at U of H pursuing a BA in psychology with a minor in Communication Disorders. I just started in Dr.Sharp's lab in May. I'm mainly interested in psychopathology, both adult and adolescent. Specifically mood and personality disorders, and schizophrenia. After I receive my BA I would like to pursue my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. 

Jacob Walla


Jacob is a rising senior at Rice University, majoring in Psychology. I have worked in Professor Hebl's Diversity & Discrimination lab for two semesters, and I have interned for an Autism program at a mental health center. My primary research interests involve children & adolescents, and the mental health issues/developmental issues concerning that population. I joined the Sharp lab May 2014 and I will be working here until the end of Spring 2015. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and ultimately I'd like to be a therapist for children & adolescents. 

Nicholas Crist


Nicholas Crist is a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and with a minor in Biology. He joined Dr. Sharp's lab in June 2014 and is assisting with the Adolescent Treatment Program and Oxytocin projects. His current research interests include PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder.  Following graduation, Nic plans on attending medical school with the goal of practicing psychiatric medicine.