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.

Congyu “Peter” Wu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Peter is a postdoctoral fellow with the Whole Community Whole Health grand challenge initiative of the University of Texas at Austin. With mentors and collaborators in psychology, medicine, and electrical engineering, he is working to create new and more effective methods to mine personal sensing data from smart, mobile, and wearable devices for mental health inference and intervention. Before joining UT Austin, he completed a doctoral degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, where he focused on the theories and techniques of processing social signals data captured in cyber-human systems such as physical proximity encounters and online social networks. He has strong interest in using sensing technology to measure the ways people engage in social interactions and respond to social stimuli as well as using machine learning to uncover their connections with health, cognitive, and performance outcomes.

Kimberly Ray, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Kimberly Ray, PhD is a Research Scientist working under the direction of David Schnyer, PhD and Christopher Beevers, PhD. She earned a bachelors degree in physics from Texas Lutheran University, and a PhD in Radiological Sciences with an emphasis on human neuroimaging from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.  She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California in Davis under the direction of Dr. Cameron Carter. Her research interests involve using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other imaging modalities to elucidate the functional and structural architecture of the human brain and examine how brain networks flexibly reorganize to efficiently carryout a given goal-directed task.

Graduate Students

Michael Mullarkey, M.A.

6th Year Doctoral Student (on internship)

Michael completed a BA/MA in Clinical Psychology at American University. He did intensive, in-home clinical work with youth and their parents in Maryland and Virginia before moving to North Carolina to do restorative justice work. He also worked in a lab at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Medical School, where he analyzed data from self-compassion and mindfulness interventions for youth.

Michael’s research at UT-Austin primarily involves taking a symptom-level approach to depression. His research focuses on identifying which symptoms might be most central to depression, evaluating which symptoms are most related to other important outcomes in people’s lives, and developing brief, accessible interventions to target particular symptoms. To investigate these questions, he often uses advanced analytic techniques such as network analysis and machine learning. His current projects are primarily focused on translating symptom-level findings into online, scalable, and targeted interventions for individual depression symptoms. Michael is currently completing his clinical internship at Stony Brook University. To read more, see Michael’s website:

Derek Pisner, M.A.

5th Year Doctoral Student in Cognitive Neuroscience

Derek joined the Mood Disorders Lab and Schnyer Cognitive Neuroscience Lab in 2016. He studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Virginia in 2011, and subsequently completed a post-baccalaureate degree in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has extensive experience analyzing diffusion MRI (dMRI) and functional MRI (fMRI) data, along with a particular expertise in the study of brain networks.

Currently, part of Derek’s research includes developing new methods and software for integrating neuroscience, data science, and clinical research. From a basic science perspective, he is also studying the neural mechanisms of rumination and negative attention bias in depression. In the long-term, Derek further hopes to explore how multidimensional phenotypes based on person-specific data (e.g. dynamic behavioral, demographic, genetic, and neural topographic) might be translated into actionable diagnostic and treatment information for clinicians.

Mary (Molly) Eileen McNamara, B.A.

3rd Year Doctoral Student

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. 

2nd Year Doctoral Student

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.

She is currently a first-year graduate student in the Mood Disorders Laboratory. 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.

1st Year Doctoral Student

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 is now a first year doctoral student in the Mood Disorders Laboratory. 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

Research Staff

Jocelyn Labrada, B.A.

Project Coordinator

Jocelyn graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. Her research interests include clinical and neuropsychology. She is particularly interested in the etiology of anxiety and mood disorders, as well as investigating effective treatments. Jocelyn plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.