Skip to main content

Our Research Team


Director/Principal Investigator

ldmedina_headshot_2.jpg Dr. Luis D. Medina is a bilingual and bicultural, licensed clinical psychologist and cultural neuropsychologist. He received his B.A. in psychology from Yale University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology / neuropsychology from the San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Medina completed his clinical predoctoral internship at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center (geropsychology track) followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in adult clinical neuropsychology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. As a member of the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center, he carried out postdoctoral research in cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Medina is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, where he directs the Collaborative on Aging Research and Multicultural Assessment (CARMA). He is also the director of the NIH-funded Engaging Communities of Hispanics/Latinos for Aging Research (ECHAR) Network, a multi-site collaborative effort to address the limited diversity in aging research samples. His research examines the cultural neuroscience of cognitive aging, particularly in the context of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), as well as the clinical assessment and diagnosis of ADRD in underrepresented populations.

Lab Coordinator


Kasey J. Escamilla graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Chinese. During her time at UT Austin, Kasey was a research assistant for the Mechanisms Underlying Neurocognitive Aging Lab. Her research interests include cultural neuropsychology and the intersection of culture, cognition, and aging. She hopes to conduct research that contributes to minimizing health disparities in brain health and improving neuropsychological assessment in culturally diverse populations. In the future, Kasey hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology.

In her free time, Kasey enjoys tending to her garden, gaming, hanging out with her cat Dino, and reading fantasy novels.


Postdoctoral Scholar

Mirna Arroyo Head Shot

Dr. Mirna Luz Arroyo Miranda aspires to combine her professional experiences as an attorney and epidemiologist in the creation of evidence-based public health policies that effect social change. Dr. Arroyo completed a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus. She also obtained a Juris Doctor degree in 2000, being admitted into the legal practice in 2002. In 2018, she graduated from the Doctorate of Public Health in Epidemiology Program at Ponce Health Sciences with academic honors. Dr. Arroyo performed a 3-year fellowship at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration where she assisted in the creation of the governance infrastructure and implementation of the “Medical Device Epidemiology Network” (MDEpiNet).

Since 2019, Dr. Arroyo has been an adjunct professor at the Public Health Program of the Ponce Health Sciences University, where she teaches graduate-level courses in epidemiology education and public health policy. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at the Ana G. Mendez University, teaching such courses as biostatistics and research methodology.

Dr. Arroyo’s main area of training is in physicians’ practices in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). She developed a novel instrument to assess primary care physicians’ beliefs and practices regarding ADRD using structural equation modeling techniques, and her work has earned her international recognition. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Arroyo has shifted her work focus into public health policy and management of the epidemic, performing comparative analysis of the management and policies in countries who are successfully managing the epidemic. In particular, her main focus of research is contact tracing as an effective tool to contain the disease, gather vital data, and improve cost-effectiveness of the epidemic response. Her latest publication on the topic, “El rastreo: arma poderosa contra el coronavirus,” was recently published in the El Nuevo Día newspaper.

Graduate Students


Stephanie Torres is currently completing her predoctoral internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a Clinical Neuropsychology graduate student interested in neuropsychological functioning across the lifespan in diverse groups. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience and behavior from the University of California, San Diego in 2013. Her research interests are in the intersection of culture, cognition, and lifespan development in the context of health disparities. Some specific interests include: typical and atypical neurodevelopment, cross-cultural neuropsychology, early life predictors of late-life cognition, and resilience factors on the prediction of brain health/cognition in diverse groups. In the future, she hopes to obtain a tenure-track position at a top-tier research university, while also practicing as a bilingual (Spanish-English), bicultural neuropsychologist. Her long-term aims are to address the underutilization of mental health services in minority populations and assist in the development of culturally-sensitive neuropsychological assessments. In addition to this, she has a strong interest in addressing diversity issues in the field of clinical psychology and aims to work towards strengthening the support for graduate education and diversifying the psychology pipeline. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Houston food scene with her corgis Churro and Choco.


Andrea Ochoa is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UH and belongs to the Neuropsychology concentration. Before graduating from UH with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Biology, she served as a research assistant at the Developmental Neuropsychology Lab and completed a senior honors thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Paul Cirino. Currently, she is interested in brain-behavior relationships and functional outcomes in clinical populations, particularly those involving acquired brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases. She has the goal of helping address these subjects from an intersectional perspective and promote culturally-competent approaches to the biopsychosocial model of behavioral health, especially as it regards empirical overlaps of cognition, culture, and aging. 

In her free time, aside from venturing into the diverse food and entertainment options that thrive in Houston, she enjoys subversive television and comedic journalism shows. She also loves reading; if you find her invested in a book, it is likely to be a fantasy novel, a memoir, or any work written by Dr. Oliver Sacks.

Michelle Martinez is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UH and belongs to the Neuropsychology concentration. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and minors in Anthropology and Bioethics. Her research interests include: cross-cultural neuropsychology, Alzheimer’s disease, and social determinants of health. More specifically, she is interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on community engagement and research dissemination and developing culturally sensitive, valid assessments that accurately aid in the treatment outcomes of racially/ethnically diverse populations.

In her free time, Michelle likes to cook, journal, and hang out with her family and her dog. She also enjoys watching the Office, traveling, and listening to music.

Joshua M. Garcia is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UH and belongs to the Neuropsychology concentration. He graduated from UH with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. He was born in Dallas, Texas, grew up in Northern Virginia, and attended high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina before moving to Houston, Texas. During his undergraduate studies, Josh served as the Officer of Academic Affairs for his local Psi Chi Honor Society chapter and assisted in research with the Anxiety and Health Research (AHRL) Laboratory. Josh also participated in various research training programs at UH (HERESURFPURSPharis) and was a STAR-U 2020 Scholar at Columbia University. His experiences have inspired a career of advocacy within the interdisciplinary fields of empirically based health care, in the specific role as a cultural neuropsychologist and data analyst.

Alexa S. Gonzalez is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UH and belongs to the Neuropsychology concentration. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior. Before coming to UH, she worked as a research assistant at the University of Miami’s ALS Center and then completed a Master of Science in Psychology at Villanova University. Currently, her research interests include cultural neuropsychology, early detection of memory decline in Hispanic/Latin American individuals, and neuroimaging. She has the goal of advocating for racially/ethnic diverse populations through assisting in the formulation and validation of culturally-sensitive neuropsychological assessments and aims to integrate factors of diversity and social justice into the field of clinical psychology.

In her free time, she enjoys learning about the food scene in Houston and taking walks around Hermann Park with her partner and her dog, Chewy. She also enjoys dancing, cooking, and adding her own twist to new cookie recipes.



Research Assistants


fuentes_headshot_2022.jpg Carlos Fuentes is a fourth-year undergraduate at UH majoring in Health (Public Health) and double minoring in Biology and Medicine & Society. A first generation college student, he plans to pursue an MD/MPH, and hopes to someday leverage his education and research experiences to drive impact within his community. His academic interests include H/L health, social determinants of health, and health risk behaviors. When he is not engaged in research, mentorship, or a community service project, Carlos enjoys dancing Zumba, coloring books, and spending time with his friends and family.
mayes_headshot_2022.jpg Janay Mayes is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a BA in psychology. She attended the Hot Metal Bridge post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include cultural neuropsychology and health disparities. She plans to attend graduate school to further pursue this research and become a Neuropsychologist. As a born and raised Florida native she loves the beach but also enjoys traveling, yoga, and shopping.
rizvi_headshot_2022.jpg Sarah Rizvi is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Health. After graduating, she aims to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She was born and raised in Texas, and is of Pakistani origin. Sarah is also a part of different organizations within UH. In her free time she loves to read novels, sing and learn new instruments, watches numerous shows, and enjoys weightlifting. However, most of the time you will find her nose stuck in a book.





arratia_headshot.jpg Andrea Arratia, Undergraduate RA Anoushka Gokhale, Undergraduate RA sharonjohn.jpg Sharon John, Undergraduate RA
ayesha-khan1.jpg Ayesha Khan, Undergraduate RA img_1241.jpg


Yenifer L. Morales, Undergraduate RA


Keisjon Mosby, Undergraduate RA


Jai Sehgal, Undergraduate RA

ksilos.jpg Karla Silos, Undergraduate RA hannah-stamps-headshot-032019.jpg Hannah Stamps, Undergraduate RA
tesfamariam,-orit_headshot.jpg Orit Tesfamariam, Undergraduate RA james-wang3.jpg James Wang,
Post-Baccalaureate RA