Emotion, Depression, and Development

Supervising Faculty: Lauren M. Bylsma, Ph.D.

Dr. Bylsma, BylsmaL@pitt.edu

Area of Research: Clinical, Developmental, Experimental Psychopathology, Psychophysiology

Description of Research: Our research program focuses on neurobehavioral indices of emotional processing and regulation in adolescent youth with depression or at elevated familial risk for depression. We will be starting a new project in January 2017 that will examine links between the gut microbiome, cardiovascular psychophysiological responses to stress, neural indices of reward (using event related potentials), and clinical outcomes in high risk, depressed, and healthy adolescent youth. 

Duties of Students: Students will assist with data collection and data management, including interacting with participants (youth participants and their participating parent) during psychophysiology protocols, processing psychophysiological data, and managing self report data. Students will also assist with recruitment efforts, including screening potential participants by phone. Motivated students can also be involved in data analysis and conference presentation or manuscript preparation (including working with archival data collected from other related projects). The gut microbiome processing and analysis will take place at another site, but students can assist with explaining the fecal sample collection procedures to participants. Opportunities are also available to observe clinical interviews. 


  • Two semester commitment required.
  • GPA of 3.3 or higher required.
  • Having some prior experience with research, working with children or patients with mental health disorders, and statistical or programming experience are helpful to get the most out of this experience.

Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 1-3