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Personnel

TaSSC Director

Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Anka Vujanovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Vujanovic is an Associate Professor of Psychology and licensed clinical psychologist. She is the Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center and Co-Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Clinic of Houston. Dr. Vujanovic received a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont in 2009, upon completing the pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship program at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Vujanovic’s research program is focused on three interwoven lines of inquiry: (1) investigation of etiological and maintenance processes related to PTSD; (2) exploration of clinically significant correlates of trauma exposure and PTSD (e.g., suicidality); and (3) examination of biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the comorbidity of PTSD and substance use disorders. The overarching aim of this program is to expand upon our understanding of the etiology, course, and phenomenology of PTSD/subclinical posttraumatic stress and related conditions so as to improve extant treatment approaches and develop novel intervention strategies. 


Graduate and Undergraduate Students

The TaSSC is actively recruiting creative and energetic graduate students, undergraduate students, and post-baccalaureate research assistants to join the team. For more information, please visit the Join Our Team page. 

Visiting Scholar

Dr. Blaž Rodič

Dr. Blaž Rodič, Ph.D.

Dr. Blaž Rodič is an associate professor of Information Studies at the Faculty of Information Sciences in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. He received a doctoral degree in Organizational Sciences from the University of Maribor. His research interests include development of System Dynamics, Discrete Event System and Agent Based Models of organizational and social systems and development of Multi Criteria Decision Analysis and simulation based solutions for decision support. He has published over 90 papers including 16 in JCR/WoS/SCOPUS indexed publications. He can be reached at brodic@uh.edu.


Program Manager

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Faith Nomamiukor, B.S.

Faith Nomamiukor is the program manager of the TaSSC. She is a recent graduate of the University of Houston Honors College, where she majored in psychology and minored in African American Studies. Faith’s research interests include sexual trauma, human trafficking, and racial differences in PTSD symptom presentation. Faith plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Postdoctoral Fellow

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Tannah E. Chase, Ph.D.

Tannah is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Houston, where she is working with Drs. Gallagher and Vujanovic as Assistant Clinical Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Clinic of Houston (TrACH). She received an M.A. in clinical psychology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Houston. Tannah worked with Dr. Peter Norton as a predoctoral-level clinician and researcher in the Anxiety Disorder Clinic at the University of Houston from 2012 to 2014. Since 2014, she has worked with Dr. Ellen Teng as a practicum student, research assistant, and now psychology intern at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her interests are in transdiagnostic interventions for anxiety-and trauma-related disorders, and through her research and clinical pursuits, she is devoted to improving the effectiveness and access to empirically-supported care.


Graduate Students

Brooke Bartlett, M.A.

Brooke Bartlett, M.A.

Brooke is a second-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program and a graduate research assistant in the TaSSC at the University of Houston. She received a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Irvine in 2011, and a M.A. in psychology from Boston University in 2013. Since 2013, Brooke worked with Dr. Karen Mitchell as a Psychology Research Technician in the National Center for PTSD - Women's Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine. With Dr. Mitchell's guidance, she explored multiple research questions surrounding etiology and risk factors for the development of eating disorders and PTSD, with a focus on intimate partner violence, among veterans and active duty military members. Her current research interests focus on the etiology and treatment of trauma-related pathology, with a focus on risk and resilience factors. CV


Antoine Lebeaut

Antoine Lebeaut, B.A.

Antoine is a first-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program and a graduate research assistant in the TaSSC at the University of Houston. He received his B.A. in psychology from Franklin & Marshall College in 2015. Following graduation, Antoine completed a research assistantship with Dr. Dean McKay at Fordham University, exploring the etiology and maintenance of comorbid OCD and PTSD. Recently, he was a research assistant at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, working with Dr. Steven Silverstein on a study evaluating the effectiveness of a novel behavioral intervention for children with externalizing behaviors and with Dr. Judy Thompson on a study investigating the efficacy of a visual remediation intervention for schizophrenia. Antoine's current research interests involve identifying risk factors that influence the transition from trauma exposure to PTSD and improving the efficacy of treatment for trauma-related disorders.


Lia Smith, B.A.

Lia Smith, M.A.

Lia is a second-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program and a graduate research assistant in the TaSSC at the University of Houston. She received a B.A. in psychology from Wheaton College in 2013. While there, she also earned a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources for her research with trauma-exposed women and children in Huánuco, Peru. Most recently, Lia studied biopsychosocial mechanisms related to alcohol and nicotine dependence with Dr. Andrea King at the University of Chicago. She also was a behavioral health intern with Dr. Karla Torres at Lawndale Christian Health Center, an inner city primary care clinic on Chicago's west side. Her current research interests focus on the risk and resilience processes at the intersection of addictions, trauma, and health disparities. CV


Maya Zegel

Maya Zegel, B.A.

Maya is an incoming doctoral student in the clinical psychology program and will be a graduate research assistant in the TaSSC at the University of Houston. She received her B.A. in psychology with a minor in public health from Boston University in 2016. After graduation, Maya at worked McLean Hospital with Dr. Amy Janes in the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory and Dr. Scott Lukas in the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory. At McLean, Maya coordinated multiple projects using fMRI and EEG to examine individual differences between cigarette smokers and those with major depressive disorder. She also worked on studies focused on individuals with alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana use disorders, respectively.


Affiliated Graduate Students

Kendall Pfeffer

Kendall Pfeffer, B.A.

Kendall is a Research Assistant and Web-Site Coordinator in the TaSSC. She is a second-year master’s student in the counseling psychology program at the University of Houston. Kendall is working on a collaborative initiative with the Houston Fire Department. She received a B.A. in English from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2011. For the past few years, Kendall has been working as an executive function coach for students with ADHD and individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries. Kendall’s research interests include Complex PTSD, the transgenerational effects of trauma and PTSD, and the risk and resilience factors for PTSD. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants

Alicia Lopez

Alicia Lopez, B.S.

Alicia Lopez is a Research Assistant in TaSSC. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S in psychology and a minor in sociology. Alicia is also a research assistant in the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory. Her research interests include anxiety, PTSD, and mood disorders. Alicia plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Adaeze Alozie

Adaeze Alozie

Adaeze Alozie is currently a research assistant in the TaSSC. She is pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology at the University of Houston. Her research interests include stress management, anxiety, and depression. She is also interested in studying stigma relating to mental illness among immigrant populations, and how that may lead to a stressful environment for first generation adolescents/young adults who struggle with mental illness. Adaeze plans to obtain her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Zaineb Brown

Zaineb Brown

Zaineb Brown is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC. She is pursuing a B.A. in psychology at the University of Houston, with a minor in LGBT Studies. Zaineb’s research interests include schizophrenia and other related disorders, family relations, and socio-economic mobility. Following the receipt of her Bachelor’s degree, Zaineb plans on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.


Anna Galan

Vitor Finatto

Vitor Finatto is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC. He is pursuing a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Houston, with a minor in History. Vitor’s research interests include PTSD, anxiety, and depression disorders, with focus on veterans of the United States military and law enforcement/first responders personnel. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and become a Licensed Psychologist.


Anna Galan

Anna Galan

Anna Galan is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in sociology with a minor in psychology at the University of Houston. Anna’s research interests include child development, education, school psychology, and clinical psychology. She plans to pursue a Masters degree in school psychology and aspires to work with students in schools from underprivileged communities.


Abigail Hernandez

Abigail Hernandez

Abigail Hernandez is a research assistant in the TaSSC. She is currently working towards obtaining a B.S. in psychology with a minor in biology. She is also a research assistant in the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory. Her research interests include anxiety, mood disorders, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of trauma. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology.


Layla Kratovic

Antonio Johnson

Antonio Johnson is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC. He is a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in psychology with a minor in sociology. Antonio's research interests include substance abuse, sexual trauma, and PTSD. He is particularly interested in how the various facets of these disorders may differ across and within racial/ethnic groups. He plans to pursue a Masters degree in Clinical psychology.


Layla Kratovic

Layla Kratovic

Layla Kratovic is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in psychology and a minor in human resource management at the University of Houston. Layla is also a research assistant in the Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston. Her research interests include trauma, substance abuse, and treatment development for depression and anxiety disorders. She is also interested in research regarding the maximization of efficiency within professional settings. Layla plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Layla Kratovic

Matthew Nguyen-Lanau

Matthew Nguyen-Lanau is a Research Assistant in the TaSSC who is currently working on obtaining a B.A. in psychology. His research interest lies in the accumulation and effects of stress and trauma on police officers and those in similar professions. He plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with the aspiration of one day opening up his own practice.


Layla Kratovic

Sara Zare

Sara Zare is a research assistant in the TaSSC. She is currently obtaining a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology at the University of Houston. Sara is also an officer in an anti-human trafficking organization called Modern Abolitionist Coalition. Her research interests include trauma and anxiety, particularly in underserved populations such as immigrants and refugees. Sara plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.