Child Adaptation and Neurodevelopment (CAN) Lab
Lab Group Photo


Dr. Elisabeth Conradt portrait

Dr. Elisabeth Conradt, PhD, Director.

Dr. Elisabeth Conradt is an assistant professor in developmental psychology at the University of Utah. She received her PhD in clinical psychology in 2011 from the University of Oregon, where she worked with Jennifer Ablow and Jeff Measelle. Liz then trained with Barry Lester while on an NRSA-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University. Together with her collaborators, Liz studies the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the development of problem behavior in young children, with the goal of identifying who may be most susceptible to maladaptive developmental outcomes.

For a link to Dr. Conradt's CV, please visit her faculty webpage.

Sheila Crowell PhD portrait

Sheila Crowell, PhD, collaborator

Sheila Crowell’s research is focused on mechanisms underlying risk for suicide and severe psychopathology among intentionally self-injuring adolescents. She is particularly interested in researching biological vulnerabilities for emotion dysregulation (ED) and impulsivity and understanding how these vulnerabilities interact with potentiating environmental experiences across development (from conception onward). A unifying theme across her research is to better understand ED, including intergenerational and reciprocal transmission between parent and child, ED as a developmental precursor to psychopathology, psychophysiological, genetic, and epigenetic correlates of ED, and contextual processes contributing to ED within family and peer dynamics. As a lifespan developmental psychopathologist, Dr. Crowell is especially interested in elucidating early targets for intervention and prevention of depression, self-injury, suicide, and personality disorders.

Lee Raby PhD portrait

Lee Raby, PhD, collaborator

Lee Raby's research focuses on longstanding questions regarding the significance of early parent-child relationship experiences. Specifically, he is interested in understanding (a) the degree to which various early caregiving experiences predict individuals’ social, cognitive, and behavioral functioning during childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood as well as (b) the representational and physiological processes that may account for these enduring effects. Currently, he is investigating these issues among families with adopted children. The two-fold goal of this work is to deepen our understanding of the interplay of children’s genetically based characteristics and environmental experiences while simultaneously providing information about how parent-child relationship experiences can promote the healthy development of these at-risk children.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Betty Lin PhD portrait

Betty Lin, PhD

Betty is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah. She received her PhD in clinical psychology in 2016 from Arizona State University where she worked with Dr. Keith Crnic. Her research interests lie primarily in understanding how transactions between child and caregiver characteristics contribute to children's socioemotional development in high-risk samples beginning as early as the prenatal and early childhood periods. Specifically, her research thus far has focused on the effects of maternal perinatal well-being on children's regulatory development, the role of children's dispositional proclivities for reactivity (i.e., temperamental reactivity) in predicting adjustment outcomes, and the direct and indirect influences of caregiver coregulatory behaviors.

Graduate Students

Brendan Ostlund, graduate student portrait

Brendan Ostlund, MS

Curriculum Vitae

Brendan is a second year graduate student in the clinical psychology program. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Developmental Psychology. Broadly, his research aims to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the origins and developmental progression of childhood internalizing disorders. His current research examines the neural processes underlying the association between fetal exposure to maternal anxiety and fearful temperament in infancy. He ultimately aims to translate this research into effective prevention programs for children who are at increased risk of developing internalizing symptomatology.

Mindy Brown, graduate student portrait

Mindy Brown

As a graduate student in Developmental Psychology, I am thrilled to be studying under Dr. Elisabeth Conradt. I am interested in how factors such as maternal sensitivity and mothers’ life stress affect attachment and subsequent child self-regulation. I am excited about the possibility of applying this knowledge to inform parenting and early intervention studies for children at risk for psychopathology.

I am lucky to have five children, which have each been an intensive case study of their own, and an amazing husband of 20 years. When I’m not in the lab or spending time with my family, I like to read fantasy or paranormal fiction, play the piano, hike or do anything outdoors, and bake desserts.

Nila Shakiba, graduate student portrait

Nila Shakiba

I am a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Ellis. I have been collaborating with Dr. Elisabeth Conradt and her research team since Fall 2016. In my research, I am primarily interested in understanding how developmental experiences both prenatally and postnatally shape and calibrate the functioning of stress response systems (Biological Sensitivity to Context theory and the Adaptive Calibration Model). My second line of research focuses on understanding the psychophysiological mechanisms underlying individual differences in susceptibility to environmental influences, as well as how such individual differences moderate the effects of various environmental conditions, on health and developmental outcomes (Differential Susceptibility Theory).

Project Coordinators

Sarah Terrell, project coordinator portrait

Sarah Terrell

Sarah is the project coordinator for the CAN Lab and also works as a case manager at an Alternative to Incarceration inpatient treatment center. She received her bachelors in psychology from Virginia Tech in 2012. Since that time she has worked as a research coordinator at a child psychopathology clinic, a data reductionist at a transportation safety research center, and as a probation officer. She is interested in developmental psychopathology and passionate about criminal justice reform. She hopes to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology in order to work with youth involved with the criminal justice system. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking, skiing, and spending time with her border collie.

Nicolle Eldredge, project coordinator portrait

Nicolle Eldredge

Joining the CAN lab has helped me grow a love for developmental psychology. This lab allows me to see how children grow and learn. I also see the factors which influence children in different ways. When turning to epigenetics to determine the reasons behind environmental effects on children, this lab combines my two passions: psychology and biology. As an honors and premed student, I hope to complete an Honors Thesis using data collected from the BABY study. I also hope to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.

Research Assistants

Nour Jaatoul, Research Assistant portrait

Nour Jaatoul

My name is Nour Jaatoul and I am a junior undergraduate pre-med student pursuing an honors B.S. in Psychology. I have been interested in the fields of health and developmental psychology ever since I worked as a research intern at Aviva Family and Children's Services in Los Angeles in 2014. I am excited to continue working with the Child Adaptation and Neurodevelopment lab for a second semester, especially as its projects continue to expand to include Spanish-speaking participant populations. It is my goal to become a psychiatrist and to help at-risk youth and their families achieve a better standard of living. Fun fact!: I am fluent in Spanish and French.

Dylan Neff, Research Assistant portrait

Dylan Neff

Dylan is a transfer undergraduate Honors Psychology and Instrumental Music Performance double-major who initially attended the Minerva Schools in San Francisco, California. After graduating from the University of Utah, he wants to attend graduate school in clinical psychology where he will study the impacts of discrimination and other subjective experiences in LGBT and marginalized communities. His ultimate goal is practicing trauma and depression therapy.

Abby Bossart, Research Assistant portrait

Abby Bossart

Abby graduated in 2012 from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Her undergraduate studies included many courses in international development, global health and anthropology. Abby is currently working as a case manager with a non-profit in Salt Lake City, Utah aimed at helping and advocating for refugee women. Abby is interested in the connection between exposure to prenatal life stressors and the developmental consequences in children. Abby will be attending medical school in the fall of 2017. She hopes to become a primary care physician focused on preventative health measures to improve public health in the community and underserved populations. Abby enjoys working with the CAN lab! For fun, Abby enjoys spending time in the mountains, dancing, photography and traveling.

Ashma Shrestha, Research Assistant portrait

Ashma Shrestha

Ashma Shrestha is a recent graduate from the Psychology Department. She has been a part of the CAN lab since Fall 2015 where she has been an active Research Assistant and conducted her independent senior thesis project. She plans on pursing graduate school for Counseling Psychology and ultimately earn her Ph.D. She wants to serve the victims of sex trafficking, human trafficking, domestic violence and other victims of severe trauma to find coping and being self-sufficient mechanisms. She currently works in college access programs to actively mentor youths of color, bridge the gap, and prepare them to achieve higher education though a college access program called GEAR UP.

Samantha Llewellyn, Research Assistant portrait

Samantha Llewellyn

Samantha is a currently working on her bachelors in Psychology, with minors in Sociology and Human Development and Family Studies. After starting her bachelors at Salt Lake Community College, she is now finishing up at the University of Utah. Along with being a research assistant in the CAN Lab, she is also the secretary of the Psychology Student Advisory Committee and a member of Psy Chi. After completing her bachelors, Samantha plans to continue on to graduate school where she wishes to emphasize her work to infants and children.

Ashley Allen, Research Assistant portrait

Ashley Allen

Ashley is a junior working toward her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Factors certificate. Finishing her Associates degree in Psychology in Fall of 2016, Ashley is excited to now contribute to the field of developmental psychology by assisting in our research. She is highly interested in the development of psychopathology and ultimately desires to contribute to knowledge which can be applied and implemented to early interventions for children and adolescents. Ashley is passionate about attending graduate school, and hopes assisting in the lab will aid her in deciding which graduate programs she is most interested in.

Samantha Howell, Research Assistant portrait

Samantha Howell

My name is Samantha Howell. I am a Junior at the University of Utah studying Psychology. I am currently working in the Child Adaptation and Neurodevelopment Lab and really love learning about development. My goal is to get accepted into a Clinical Ph.D. program once I achieve my Bachelor’s Degree, and hopefully one day I can apply the work I am participating in in this lab to my career.

Landon Oswald, Research Assistant portrait

Landon Oswald

Landon is an undergraduate biology student who plans to attend dental school. He feels especially lucky to be part of a lab that focuses on the epigenetic mechanisms that impact a child’s development. Landon spends most of his free time in the outdoors exercising and enjoying nature.

Courtney Stormann, Research Assistant portrait

Courtney Stormann

Courtney Stormann is an undergraduate student at the University of Utah majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. Besides participating in the CAN lab, Courtney is also a teacher assistant for an abnormal psychology class and has worked with visually impaired women and women grieving the loss of a child during a previous internship. She hopes to continue her education in psychology by eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Amie Ayllon, Research Assistant portrait

Amie Ayllon

With future aspirations relating to children and families, the CAN Lab has proven to be a deeply meaningful experience in my studies. Having received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and another in Human Development and Family Studies, this lab and its associated opportunities are a perfect mixture of my academic loves. It’s such a blessing to be able to work alongside such inspired colleagues who are just as passionate about human growth and behavior as I am. I work as a Research Assistant for an exciting Psychology lab involving cognitive distraction while operating motor vehicles. My future goals include attaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and to ultimately become an RN for a pediatric hospital ward. In my spare time, I love to go on road trips with my wonderful husband, spend time with my expanding family, soak up the sunshine and lose myself in a good book.