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Our Team

SACH Director


Sack Director

Candice A. Alfano, Ph.D.

caalfano@uh.edu

Dr. Candice Alfano is Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist, and Director of the Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston (SACH) at the University of Houston. She is also a Fellow of the  HEALTH Research Institute at  UH. Dr. Alfano received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2005. The overarching focus of her research program is on the interactions among mental and physical health and sleep-wake processes across the life span to inform prevention and intervention efforts. She is particularly interested in studying marginalized (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, children in foster care) and elite populations (e.g., astronauts, top athletes) and whether high quality sleep can buffer against a range of potential negative outcomes. Dr. Alfano’s has served as PI or co-PI on grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She has served on the scientific council of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the board of directors for the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM), and as Associate Editor for Journal of Anxiety Disorders. She has published more than 100 scientific papers, chapters, and books.


Associate Clinical Director


Sack Director

Andres G. Viana , Ph.D., ABPP.

agviana@uh.edu

Dr. Viana is Assistant Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical child psychologist, and Director of the Child Temperament, Thoughts, and Emotions Laboratory at the University of Houston. He also serves as Associate Clinical Director of the Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston. Dr. Viana received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from Penn State University and completed his psychology residency training at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), where he remained as a tenure-track member of the Psychiatry department until 2015. Dr. Viana’s program of research is grounded in the developmental psychopathology perspective to psychological functioning and focuses on the study and assessment of risk factors for childhood psychopathologies, with an emphasis on temperamental, emotional, cognitive, and parenting factors that may exacerbate anxiety, as well as the nature of the covariation among these processes. A growing aspect of his research program involves cognitive and emotion-related factors associated with risk behaviors in children with internalizing difficulties. Dr. Viana’s research has been funded by the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He is the recipient of several awards, including the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Career Development Award, NIMH’s Child, Intervention, Prevention and Services (CHIPS) Fellowship, and UMMC’s Faculty Research Mentor Award. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders and the Child and Youth Care Forum.


Graduate Students

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Anthony Cifre

abcifre@cougarnet.uh.edu

Anthony is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. Anthony previously earned his undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from West Virginia University. He then went on to pursue his M.S. in Sport Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University while also working as a Student Clinician and Research Assistant at Yale University. As his main research focus, Anthony is interested in the bidirectional relationship between sleep and mental illness. Additionally, he is interested in behavioral interventions, including exercise as an intervention, for treating anxiety, trauma, and sleep disorders.

Graduate student

Rogelio Gonzalez

rdgonza9@central.uh.edu

Rogelio Gonzalez is a graduate student in the lab. He previously attended California State University San Marcos where he earned his Masters degree in experimental psychology investigating culturally–specific expressions of anxiety and depression in young children as well as better understanding barriers to mental health service utilization in Mexican farmworker families. Broadly, his current research interests include anxiety disorders and sleep problems in Hispanic youth.



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Jinu Kim

Jinu Kim is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. Jinu graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Psychology with a Neuroscience concentration. He earned his Master's degree in Clinical Psychology with a Neuropsychology concentration at Columbia University. Broadly, his research interests include the bidirectional relationship between sleep and emotion regulation in child populations. Additionally, he is interested in the neural and psychophysiological correlates of emotion regulation and mindfulness, in the context of emotional disorders.



Graduate student

Annika Myers

ammyers4@cougarnet.uh.edu

Annika is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating, Annika worked as a research associate for studies conducted by the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness and the University of Wisconsin-Madison psychiatry department. She primarily worked with children and adolescents in research examining the impact of sleep apnea and PTSD on sleep and daytime function. Annika’s current research interests include the neurobiological relationships between sleep quality and emotional regulation, and how these relationships are affected by trauma.



Graduate student

Megan Rech

megan.rech@gmail.com

Megan is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology from Rice University. After graduating, Megan taught 7th grade science at a public charter school in Houston as a Teach For America corps member. She then transitioned back into research, working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine in the departments of Genetics and Psychiatry. Most recently, Megan has worked as a Research Coordinator for The Menninger Clinic’s adolescent inpatient unit, where her research focused on the relationship between sleep, emotion regulation, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. She hopes to build upon this work and continue investigating these relationships, particularly among children and adolescents. Broadly, she is also interested in exploring whether interventions targeting sleep disturbances can in turn prevent or improve comorbid mental disorders.



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Christine So

cjso@uh.edu

Christine is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. Prior to moving to Houston, she worked for 5 years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) just outside of Washington, D.C., and she also earned her Master’s in Biological Psychology from American University. At the WRAIR, Christine worked in two departments revolving around sleep research and military psychiatry research. Her current research interests broadly involve the bidirectional relationship between sleep and anxiety/posttraumatic stress disorder, particularly in the military population.