Skip to main content

Current Personnel

Director

michael-zvolensyal-torres-photography-02.jpg

Dr. Zvolensky is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Houston and Director of the Research on Emotion, Substance Use Treatment Outcomes, and Racial Equity (RESTORE) Laboratory and Substance Use Treatment Clinic. He has published over 800 peer-reviewed articles and books/book chapters on the co-occurrence of anxiety and stress-related psychopathology with substance use disorders, health behavior problems, and physical illness (e.g., chronic pain). His work is globally aimed at eliminating inequalities in psychopathology, addictive, and other health risk behaviors through translational research. He has utilized a variety of methodological tactics in his research program, including community-based participatory research (CBPR), laboratory studies, epidemiologic-field (cross-national and prospective), Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), and randomized clinical trials. He has been involved in over 70 NIH grants as PI, Co-PI, or co-investigator. His research program has received awards from numerous organizations, including the American Psychological Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Association for Advancement of Cognitive and Behavior Therapy, and Association of Academic Health Centers.

A major contribution of Dr. Zvolensky’s laboratory has been to elucidate why people who experience anxiety/depressive-related vulnerabilities are more prone to substance use disorders; and why people with substance use disorders are more prone to anxiety/depressive-related disturbances. His team has led efforts to develop integrative theoretical models of anxiety-substance use disorder comorbidity that identify (malleable) cognitive-affective mechanisms underlying their association. This work is important for designing targeted assessment batteries that can be used to identify high-risk individuals most in need of (specialized) intervention; elucidating mechanisms underlying anxiety/depressive-substance use disorder comorbidity; and developing 'next generation' treatments for these conditions that target the most etiologically potent facets. Within this context, Dr. Zvolensky’s work collectively falls in three, interrelated streams that deal with (a) transdiagnostic processes underlying emotional disorder-substance use disorder comorbidity; (b) mediating and moderating factors involved in the expression, onset, and maintenance of anxiety/depression psychopathology for groups subject to health inequalities; and (c) theoretically-driven and process-based treatment development work that is community-friendly. (Google Scholar)

 

Co-Directors

Lorra Garey, Ph.D.

Lorra Garey

Dr. Lorra Garey is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston. Her primary research interests focus on elucidating and attenuating health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations by examining the interplay between substance use and psychological vulnerabilities and addressing malleable risk factors, including tobacco use, in the context of transdiagnostic interventions. Within this model, Lorra is particularly interested in the efficacy of brief, personalized feedback interventions to reduce tobacco use, alcohol use, and symptoms related to anxiety and depression among smokers with co-occurring psychopathology and tobacco dependence. (Google Scholar)

 

Brooke Redmond, Ph.D.

Brooke Kauffman

Dr. Brooke Redmond is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston. Her research interests focus on innovative and integrative treatment methodologies aimed at improving health behaviors (e.g., emotional eating, physical inactivity). Specifically, she is interested in transdiagnostic vulnerabilities (e.g., anxiety sensitivity, distress intolerance) that may underlie these problematic health behaviors. (Google Scholar)

 

 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Luke Heggeness, Ph.D.

luke-headshot-restore.jpeg

Dr. Luke Heggeness is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Houston. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University. Dr. Heggeness' research broadly focuses on mental health difficulties related to substance misuse, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. His research predominantly examines drug and alcohol use, and modifiable transdiagnostic vulnerabilities (e.g., rumination, distress tolerance), within an emotion regulation framework. In particular, Dr. Heggeness aims to elucidate clinically relevant correlates, consequences, and explanatory mechanisms of affect-driven substance use behaviors to help address mental and physical health disparities often observed among underserved populations. (Google Scholar)

 

Laboratory Coordinator

Andre Bizier, B.S.

andre-headshot.jpg

Andre Bizier graduated with a B.S. in Psychological Sciences and a minor in English from the College of William & Mary, where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Stress & Emotion Laboratory. His research interests primarily focus on the evolutionary underpinnings of attention-deficit, obsessive-compulsive, and generalized anxiety disorders. He is also interested in the cognitive and behavioral impact of stigmatization, particularly the toll that stigma inflicts on those suffering from various mental health disorders. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the near future.

 

 

 

Pre-Doctoral Graduate Students

Brienna Fogle, M.A.

Brienna Fogle

Ms. Brienna (Meffert) Fogle is a third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky in May 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology, a B.A. in English, and a minor in Biology. Her research interests primarily focus on the comorbidity of trauma and substance use. She is also interested in understanding the impact of transdiagnostic risk and maintenance factors on the development and maintenance of co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, and related disorders. (Google Scholar)

 

 

Kara Manning, M.A.

kara-headshot.jpg

Mrs. Kara Manning is a sixth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston (currently on internship at the Boston VA). She graduated from Southwestern University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. Her research focuses on understanding the complexities of severe fatigue, and fatigue disorders among adults. She primarily focuses on understanding the mechanistic effect of severe fatigue on substance using behaviors, and transdiagnostic vulnerability factors (i.e. distress tolerance, anxiety sensitivity) that may exacerbate such relations. (Google Scholar)


Angelina Mayorga, M.A.

Angelina Mayorga, B.S.

Ms. Nubia Angelina Mayorga, M.A., is currently in her fourth year as doctoral student within the UH Clinical Psychology program. Ms. Mayorga recieved her B.S. in psychology from the University of Houston with a minor in Spanish in 2017. Her research interests include exploring underlying transdiagnostic factors within the context of mental health, substance use, and physical health among ethnic minority populations, in particular among Latinx individuals. Ms. Mayorga is also interested in improving the integration of culturally tailored treatments among minority populations and examining predictors of treatment outcome. (Google Scholar)

 

Pamella Nizio, B.S.

nizio-p.pngMs. Pam Nizio is a first-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Houston with a minor in Human Resource Management. Her research interests focus on transdiagnostic mechanisms relevant to the onset, persistence, and resolution of substance use and mental illness, and the development of integrated treatment methods for addiction and psychopathology that are both highly accessible and use methodology that allows for personalization (e.g., mobile phone-based, computer-based, ecological momentary assessment [EMA]). (Google Scholar)

 

Michael F. Orr, M.A.

Michael F. Orr, B.A., B.S.

Mr. Michael Orr is a third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. He completed his B.A. in psychology and his B.S. in human physiology at Gonzaga University in 2015. His research interests focus on innovative and integrative treatments methodologies aimed at comorbidity of anxiety, depression and legal(ish) substance such as alcohol, tobacco, opioids, and cannabis.(Google Scholar)


Andrew Rogers, M.A.

andrew-headshot.jpg

Mr. Andrew Rogers is a sixth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston (currently on internship at the University of Washington Medical Center). He completed his B.A. in psychology at Tufts University in 2014, and completed his M.A. at the University of Houston in 2018. His research focuses on the intersection of chronic pain and associated conditions, including substance use, as well as psychological mechanisms that may underlie these relations (e.g. anxiety sensitivity, emotion regulation, pain-related anxiety). Andrew is involved in experimental, intensive longitudinal, and intervention research to develop and improve brief interventions to reduce the disease burden of chronic pain and substance use disorders, with a focus on opioids and alcohol. Andrew is the recipient of a pre-doctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (Google Scholar)

 

Justin M. Shepherd, M.S.

Justin M. Shepherd, M.S.

Mr. Justin Shepherd is a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2013 with a B.A. in psychology, received his M.S in clinical psychology from Rivier University in 2015, and completed his M.A. in clinical psychology at the University of Houston in 2019. He has charted a line of work focused on identifying risk and protective factors for addictive behavior in an effort to mitigate health-related disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations. In particular, his work aims to elucidate and target malleable psychological mechanisms, such as pain-related anxiety, that underlie relations between nicotine and tobacco use and mental and physical health outcomes. Mr. Shepherd is the recipient of a pre-doctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (Google Scholar)


Tanya Smit, M.A.

Tanya Smit

Ms. Tanya Smit is a third-year doctoral in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Houston in 2018. Her research interests include substance use and anxiety-related disorders, particularly within chronic pain populations. Ms. Smit is also interested in exploring transdiagnostic vulnerabilities that may underlie substance use behaviors and problematic health behaviors. (Google Scholar)

 

 

 

Study Coordinators

Bryce Clausen, B.S.

bryce-headshot.jpg

Bryce Clausen obtained his B.S. in psychology with a minor in Medicine and Society from the University of Houston. He is interested in researching suicidality and the etiology of co-occuring substance use disorders. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the near future. (Google Scholar)

 

 

Cameron Matoska, B.S.

cameron-headshot.jpg

Cameron graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Statistics. His research interests primarily focus on the relationship between transdiagnostic vulnerabilities such as anxiety sensitivity & discomfort intolerance, and substance use disorders (namely, tobacco and alcohol use disorders). He is also interested in the development of both computerized and mobile interventions aimed at combating tobacco use in adolescents and young adults. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the near future. (Google Scholar)

 

Aniqua Salwa, B.A.

aniqua-headshot.jpg

Aniqua graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Medicine in Society. Her research interests include the effects of trauma and the maintenance and treatment of trauma-related disorders on minority populations. She hopes to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and focus on improving trauma-focused treatment outcomes among trauma-exposed minority populations, specifically those suffering from sexual trauma and interpersonal violence.

 

 

Chris Zappi, B.S.

chris-headshot.jpg

Chris earned his B.S. in psychology with minors in biological sciences and child development from Florida State University. In addition to spending time as an undergraduate research assistant, he has also worked as a registered behavior technician for children with autism. His research interests include anxiety and depression and how they relate to problematic substance use and traumatic experiences. In the future, he plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in psychology with the U.S. Air Force.

 

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Amena Alhassan

amena-headshot.jpg

Amena graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Health Communications. Her research interests include culture, music, art, substance abuse, emotions, suicide, and mental health stigma among Middle Easterners. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Anum Anwer

anum-headshot.jpg

Anum is currently a senior at the University of Houston set to graduate Spring of 2023. After completing her B.S in Psychology with a minor in Human Development & Family Studies, she aims to obtain a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include the exacerbated impacts of harsh parental discipline on children in South Asian populations and the cognitive impact of prolonged grief.

 

 

 

 

Katherine Bonilla

kathy-headshot.png

Katherine Bonilla is a sophomore at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of science in psychology. Her interest includes the effects of anxiety and depression amongst the Latinx population and the effects of weight-related psychological effects within the minority community. After graduation, she plans to pursue a medical degree.

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Chavez

ashley-headshot.jpg

Ashley is currently a student at the University of Houston set to graduate in 2024. After completing her B.A in psychology, she aims to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on forensics to pursue a career in forensic psychology. Her interests are mood and anxiety disorders in minority groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Linh Dinh

photo---linh-dinh.jpg

Linh Dinh is a junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. His research interests include environmental influences on the development of anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological conditions and disorders. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

Briena Dudley

briena-headshot.png

Briena is currently a senior at the University of Houston majoring in Psychology with a minor in HR Management. Her research interests include anxiety and substance use disorders. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology. 

 

 

 

Loren Duran, B.S.

loren-headshot.png

Loren graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Her research interests include the effects of positive habits and mindfulness on overall health, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

 

 

 

Rachel Eckert

rachel-headshot.jpg

Rachel is a senior at the University of Houston. After obtaining her BS in Psychology with a minor in Spanish, she plans to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

 

 

 

Sumbul Imran

sumbal-headshot.jpg

Sumbul is a senior at the University of Houston, pursuing a B.S in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Her research interests include substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school for Clinical Psychology.

 

 

 

Serena James

serena-headshot.jpg

Serena is a Junior pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Houston. Her research interests include the effects of trauma on emotion regulation, depression and anxiety within children, specifically in the Black community. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PsyD in Clinical Psychology.


Mahnoor Khatri

mahnoor-khatri.jpg

Mahnoor is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Houston majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology. Her current research interests include the etiology of synaptic disorders and psychopharmacology. Upon graduation, Mahnoor hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.


Victoria Manrique

victoria-headshot.jpg

Victoria is currently a Senior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Outside of RESTORE, Victoria is also a research assistant at UH’s Cognitive Development Lab. Her research interests include anxiety and depression, particularly in underserved populations. Upon graduation, Victoria hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.


Luis Maris

luis-headshot.png

Luis is a student at the University of Houston pursuing a B.A. in Psychology. Their current academic and research interests include the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Anxiety disorders, especially in individuals who identify as Black, Brown, and/or Indigenous. After graduation, Luis plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a focus on equitable mental health treatment for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.

 

 

Devanshi Mistry

devanshi-headshot.jpg

Devanshi is a Junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Biology and Health. Her research interests include anxiety disorders and depression, particularly among minorities and individuals who experienced trauma as children. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a medical degree and specialize in Radiation Oncology.


Trevor Serenil

trevor-headshot.png

Trevor is currently at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology. His research interests include PTSD amongst veterans, particularly anxiety and depression. Trevor is also the Vice President of the Student Veterans of America at the University of Houston. After graduation, he plans on pursuing graduate education in clinical psychology.


Igor Silva

igor-headshot.jpg

Igor Penedo Silva is currently a junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Technology Leadership and Innovation Management (TLIM). His research interests include mental health and disorders among children and teenagers, as well as the various factors affecting their behavior and development. Upon graduation, Igor hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology and continue his career in research.

 

 

Elisabeth Walla

ewalla.jpg

Elisabeth Walla is a junior Psychology major pursuing a Bachelor of the Arts degree and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Her research interests include the stigmatization of abortion and how this affects ethnic minority communities, and abortion’s relation to the development of PTSD and worse mental health outcomes among minority women. After graduation, Elisabeth plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and research various facets of abortion and womens’ mental health, particularly among underserved ethnic minorites.

 

 

Khadija Yusufali

khadija-headshot.jpg

Khadija is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in public health. Her research interests include substance use disorders and anxiety disorders. Upon graduation, she plans on pursuing an M.A. in counseling and then a Ph.D in clinical psychology.

 

 

 

Ian Zela

ian-headshot.jpg

Ian is a junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in marketing. His research interests include the mediating role of mindfulness in various aspects of mental health, substance abuse treatment in adolescents, and personality disorders. After graduation, he plans on pursuing Clinical Psychology at the graduate level.