Current Lab Members

Laboratory Director

Christopher Beevers, Ph.D.Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 12.46.20 PM

Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
Publications: Google Scholar

Christopher Beevers, Ph.D., director of the Mood Disorders Laboratory, received his doctorate in adult clinical psychology from the University of Miami in 2002. He completed his internship and post-doctoral training at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island and joined the psychology department at the University of Texas in January 2005. He has received the President’s New Researcher Award from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy and was a Beck Scholar at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research. He is currently Associate Editor at Clinical Psychological Science and a member of several editorial boards for leading journals in his research area, including the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Cognitive Therapy and Research. Dr. Beevers’ primary research interest focuses on the cognitive etiology and treatment of major unipolar depression. He is very interested in using experimental psychopathology methods to identify factors that maintain depression and translating these findings into effective interventions for depression and related psychopathology (e.g., anhedonia, negative affect). 

Research Faculty/Post-Docs

Jason Shumake, Ph.D.

Biostatistician / Research Assistant Professor

Jason Shumake received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Texas in 2004, with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience and a supporting portfolio in statistics and computational modeling, and he completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany, in 2007. Dr. Shumake’s primary research interest is building models from longitudinal data sets to classify and predict behavior and responses to interventions. He is excited by the advancement of personalized medicine through data science, which he believes is critical for translating prediction research into individualized treatment recommendations. He is particularly interested in using statistical and machine learning algorithms to search for novel combinations of genetic, neural, and behavioral features that predict treatment response. His current projects involve mining anatomical and functional brain imaging data, eye tracking data, and psychometric data from depressed individuals to predict longitudinal mood changes that occur both naturalistically and in response to antidepressant medication and cognitive therapy.

Graduate Students

Mary (Molly) Eileen McNamara, B.A.Email:

Mary (Molly) received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. While at Stanford, she worked in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Lab on research investigating both the use of interpretation bias training with adolescents, as well as how parenting styles might affect neural development in teens with varying levels of suicidal ideation. After graduation, Molly worked as a project coordinator in the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic at UC Berkeley, launching a randomized controlled trial of a novel, adjunctive intervention designed to support patient memory for treatment.

Molly joined the Mood Disorders Laboratory as a doctoral student in 2018. She is interested in how cognitive biases and cognitive control might contribute to differences observed in depression both intra and inter-individually. She is also interested in the ways that translational research can help identify and influence treatment targets, as well as inform more personalized treatment planning.

Mackenzie Rae Zisser, B.A. 


Mackenzie received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California- Berkeley in 2017. During her time at Berkeley, she worked with Dr. Sheri Johnson studying mental health in entrepreneurs and the interaction of gender, social dominance, and unipolar depression. After graduation, she worked as a project coordinator at the UC Berkeley CALM Laboratory managing an online treatment program for people with high levels of aggression and emotion-related impulsivity. She also worked as a research associate in the Berkeley Psychophysiology Lab gathering psychophysiological data in patients with dementia and their caregivers.

Mackenzie joined the Mood Disorders Laboratory in 2019. She is interested in using technology to enhance the study and treatment of depression through internet- based interventions and ecological momentary assessment techniques.

Andrew Levihn-Coon, B.A.


Andrew graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy. After graduating, he was a research coordinator for Mark Powers, Ph.D., and Jasper Smits, Ph.D., at The University of Texas at Austin where he coordinated two randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of virtual reality as treatment for arachnophobia and as a pain management intervention for hospital patients at Dell Seton Medical Center. At UT he also assisted in projects examining treatments for social anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, and smoking cessation, with an emphasis on CBT and exercise augmentation. Andrew then worked as a clinical research coordinator for Anne Richards, M.D., M.P.H., at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center coordinating a randomized placebo-controlled clinical drug trial of doxazosin for PTSD nightmares, sleep disturbance, and overall PTSD symptoms.

Andrew joined the Mood Disorders Laboratory in 2019. He is deeply interested in improving treatments for depression with a focus on behavioral change interventions that target exercise, sleep, diet, and social engagement. He is also interested in using mobile sensing data to personalize treatments for depression and to study a treatment’s effectiveness. Andrew remains passionate about reducing the stigma of mental illness so more patients in need seek effective evidence-based treatments.

Rachel Weisenburger, B.A.


Rachel graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, with a dual degree in Psychology and the Comparative History of Ideas in 2017. While at UW, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Katie McLaughlin’s Stress and Development Lab and in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy. After graduating, Rachel spent a year serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Nashville, TN, where she worked as a college access counselor. Rachel then joined the Stanford SNAP Lab as a research coordinator, where she managed a longitudinal study examining the effects of early life stress on neurobiological, behavioral, and cognitive development across adolescence.

Rachel joined the Mood Disorders Laboratory in 2021. She is interested in the role cognitive biases play in the development and maintenance of depression, and how these biases impact the way people think about themselves and their interpersonal relationships. Rachel is also interested in psychopathology classification and utilizing dimensional and symptom-level approaches to studying depression in her research.

Maria Dekhtyar, M.A.



Maria graduated from Boston University with a degree in neuroscience and psychology. She was a research assistant at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Aging Brain Study, and later a lab manager at Boston University Aphasia Research Lab.

Maria joined the Mood Disorders Lab in 2022 during her 4th year of doctoral training (she was initially working in the Haley Clinical Neuroscience Lab). Maria is interested in the treatment of depression in post-stroke populations.

Research Staff & Volunteer Research Assistants

Beatrice Fadrigon, MIMS
Headshot of Beatrice Fadrigon, Lab Coordinator

Lab & Study Coordinator

Beatrice graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. There, she researched how youth developed their racial consciousness in the CAMBIAR Collective Lab which has since moved to the University of Illinois, Chicago. They also completed their own studies on the LGBTQ+ community, mental health, and technology. Later, they graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a Masters in Information Management and Systems.

Beatrice joined the lab in 2023 and is interested in how technologies can be used for social good and mental health. She hopes to pursue a PhD one day.

Ariel Tseng, B.A.

Lab & Study Coordinator

Ariel graduated from University of California, Davis in 2018 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Human Development. After graduating, she spent three years working as a psychological technician supporting outpatient mental health services for injured workers at the Trauma and Stress Recovery Center in Oakland, CA. Ariel then began working as a lab manager in the Youth Development in Diverse Contexts Lab at Fordham University, where she coordinated an R01 longitudinal study investigating race-related sleep disparities.

Driven by her interest in experimental methods and treatment interventions for depression, Ariel joined the Mood Disorders Lab in Spring 2024 to further enhance relevant research skills and knowledge. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, envisioning a future where research and clinical practice intersect to address challenges in depression treatment, particularly within marginalized communities.

Rishitha Garlapati 
Volunteer RA, Psychology Major

Rishitha Garlapati is currently a junior working on obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduating, she is looking to attend medical school in hopes of pursuing her interest in healthcare and becoming a well-rounded physician while also conducting independent research. She is currently working on her honors thesis project where her research pertains to mood and anxiety related disorders and their effect on cognitive decision-making in students. She has experience working in a research lab that focuses on seeking evidence-based treatments for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders and assisted with various data imaging processes.

In joining the Mood Disorders Lab, Rishitha is excited to obtain a more specific understanding of mood related disorders such as depression, by assisting with current studies that look into various non-invasive intervention methods to help alleviate symptoms associated with depression.

Nina Nguyen
Volunteer RA, Psychology Major

Nina is a sophomore at UT Austin studying psychology who is interested in being involved in academic research. After graduating, Nina plans to go to optometry school to gain a deeper understanding of how the eye functions and eye health. She has previously worked at the Controlled Attention and Memory Lab at UTA as a research assistant, collecting participant data regarding individual differences on attention.

Nina joined the Mood Disorders Lab in 2024 with the goal of learning more about the intersection between mood disorders, specifically depression, and eye-tracking within the treatment research to help the millions of people affected per year by mood disorders.

Darya Ellalasingham
Volunteer RA, Psychology Major
Darya Ellalasingham is in her junior year and is majoring in Psychology and Human Dimensions of Organizations, with a minor in Educational Psychology. After graduating, Darya hopes to pursue her PhD in Counseling Psychology and work as a therapist.  In addition to the MDL, Darya is currently working with the CNE Lab at UT, where she is working with suicidal populations, as well as the Coping and Stress in Education Lab, which is currently focusing on teacher stress. 
Darya is excited to work with MDL and narrow her focus in the field of mood disorders, especially depression. She hopes this experience will give her a better understanding when working with future patients who may have such disorders. 
Emma Lopez
Volunteer RA, Psychology Major

Emma Lopez is a sophomore pursuing a B.A. in psychology with a minor in Kinesiology and
Health Education. After graduating, Emma hopes to pursue either a PhD or master’s in clinical
psychology. She has previously volunteered as a research assistant with the Austin Thought Lab,
a cognitive development lab at UT, as well as served as a helpline specialist for the National
Alliance on Mental Illness. In addition to her academic interests, Emma is involved in Texas
Brain Exercise Initiative, Psi Chi, and Texas Running Club.
Emma joined the Mood Disorders Lab in 2024 in hopes of narrowing her interests within the
psychology field and gaining a better understanding of novel treatments for depression. She
looks forward to gaining valuable research experience and hands-on experience in interacting
with participants.

Simon E Purto (‘per – toe’) (He/Him)
Volunteer RA, BS Liberal Studies Oregon State University (Go Beavers!)

Simon is a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Texas Austin that is career
changing following retirement from the United States Air Force, where he was a flight
training instructor. Simon has experience in multiple aircraft and mission types, over
4000 flight hours and multiple medals and decorations for distinguished service. Simon
joined the lab in 2024 to gain research experience.