Smoking Cessation Study Featured in The Daily Texan

An AHBL study, which combines smoking cessation and exercise in partnership with the YMCA and CPRIT, has been featured in The Daily Texan. Read more about how exercise can help with smoking cessation here!

Recent graduate Johnna Medina presents at the 2017 APA Convention

Johnna Medina presented her work, Yoga for Depression: New Research on Efficacy, Mechanisms and Acceptability, in a symposium at APA Convention, Division 12 Society of Clinical Psychology in Washington, D.C.

Graduate student Johnna Medina graduates

Johnna Medina has graduated the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program and will be moving on to a post-doc position at Stanford. Congratulations Dr. Johnna Medina!


Jolene Jacquart presents at the ISSP 14th World Congress of Sports Psychology in Seville,Spain

Jolene presented her research in a symposium for Exercise & Mental Health in Clinical Populations. Read more about the talk, titled “An Exercise Augmented Smoking Cessation Treatment for Individuals with High Anxiety Sensitivity: The Relationship Between Attendance Patterns and Quit Success” here!

Michelle Davis receives the Ira Isco Fellowship for 2017

Michelle, our 5th year graduate student, was awarded the 2017 Ira Isco Fellowship for her excellent academic record. Read more about this prestigious award here! Congratulations Michelle!!

Scarlett Baird receives Lee Willerman Award

Scarlett, our 3rd year graduate student, was awarded the Lee Willerman Award for Excellence in Research for her first author journal article titled “Reducing Approach Bias to Achieve Smoking Cessation: A Pilot Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Read more about previous recipients here! Congratulations Scarlett!!


Dr. Powers participated on the “Virtual Reality Therapy: Treatment for the World” panel at the 2017 SXSW in Austin, Tx

Dr. Mark Powers discussed the role of Virtual Reality as a treatment method for mental health issues. Read more about it here!


CPRIT awards grant to Dr. Jasper Smits

Dr. Jasper Smits was given the “Individual Investigator Research Awards for Prevention and Early Detection Award” by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for his grant titled Exercise as an Aid to Smoking Cessation in Anxiety Vulnerable Adults. Congratulations Dr. Smits! Read more about it here!


Graduate student, Johnna Medina, will be a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford University Medicine

Johnna Medina will continue her research training as a post-doc at Stanford University Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, CA. Congratulations Johnna!

Graduate student, Michelle Davis, matches for internship site

Michelle Davis, our 5th year doctoral student, has matched at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tx for internship! Congratulations, Michelle!
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Dr. Smits interviewed for NY Times article on the benefits of exercise on mental health

In a NY Times article, Dr. Jasper Smits talks about the benefits of exercise for stress and depression.
Ole Miss

Project coordinator, Sara Witcraft, has accepted graduate school offer

Sara Witcraft will be leaving the AHBL at the end of summer to attend graduate school at the University of Mississippi’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. Congrats, Sara!
daily texan

Exercise mimics anxiety symptoms, helps anxious smokers quit

Drs. Smits and Powers and graduate student Michelle Davis were quoted in an article in the Daily Texan. Their research has indicated that exercise helps smokers quit and stay quit by lowering anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of bodily sensations associated with anxiety.


Smits’ research suggests exercise helps anxious people quit smoking

Exercise helps smokers with a high risk for cessation failure due to emotional distress finally kick the habit, according to new research spearheaded by Dr. Smits. Read the full article here!

Miami VA

Graduate student, Johnna Medina, matches for internship site

Johnna Medina, our 5th year doctoral student, has matched at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami, Florida for internship! Congrats, Johnna!


Study clinician, Anne Kleinsasser, accepts graduate school offer

Anne Kleinsasser, our research associate clinician, has accepted an offer to attend Baylor University’s funded Psy.D. program. Congrats, Anne!


Graduate student, Jolene Jacquart, wins APA, UT award

Second year graduate student, Jolene Jacquart, has been awarded the American Psychological Foundation Graduate Research Scholarship ($1,000) and UT’s 2015 Grammer Fellowship for Mental Health Research ($2,500) for her innovative research on exercise augmentation for acrophobia! Congrats, Jolene!

The Guardian

Exercise Augmentation for PTSD

Dr. Smits is interviewed in The Guardian on his research on exercise’s efficacy for treating PTSD. See the article here!


Student Awarded First Place

First-year graduate student, Santiago Papini, won first place at the annual International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) meeting for his poster titled Trajectories Of Early Response to Treatment Predict Post-Treatment Outcomes among Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This award is presented annually to recognize excellent work in a poster submission to the ISTSS Annual Meeting. The winner is selected by a panel of judges among a pool of finalists.


The Exercise Prescription

See Dr. Michael Otto, who collaborated with Dr. Smits, speak about their book Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven strategies for overcoming depression and enhancing well-being here!


Read some of our students’ most recent publications:

Exercise for depression & related gene biomarkers

Effects of hatha yoga on distress tolerance

Meta-analysis of efficacy of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

TarantulaManExercise beneficial for PTSD

Dr. Powers gives a talk on local radio station KUT on the benefit of exercise for individuals who suffer from PTSD. Click here to listen to his talk!


GoosefleshExercise for Mental Health

Dr. Smits gives his input on exercise in the world of mental health. Please click here to learn more about the effect exercise may have on your mood.


Anxiety & Health Behaviors Lab Featured on Austin’s KXAN

Please click here to see how two of our studies are working to help smokers kick the habit this holiday season.


Biobehavioral Mechanisms Underlying Yoga’s Effects on Nicotine Withdrawal

Johnna Medina receives an NIH grant to study biobehavioral mechanisms underlying the effects of yoga on nicotine withdrawal. Please click here for more information.

photoMichelle Davis presents at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford 

One of our graduate students presented her research on attention bias and social anxiety disorder treatment at the University of Oxford in July prior to attending the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies conference (BABCP) in Birmingham, UK.


avatars-000003566048-0n4ruk-cropMark Powers was selected to be a Beck Scholar 

This prestigious award is given each year to a handful of faculty interested in improving and developing their skills in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Dr. Aaron Beck, one of the world’s leading researchers in psychopathology,  established this treatment in the 1960’s. It has since become the gold standard for psychotherapy- please click on the following link to learn more about this amazing institute: Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research Congratulations Dr. Powers!

Run WorldDrs. Powers & Smits Featured in “Runner’s World Magazine” 

“Running Back From Hell”  emphasizes the importance of running as a potential intervention for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Check out the article to read about how this simple exercise is transforming lives!


05222013-ptsdPTSD Predictors Makes ISTSS News  

Drs. Powers and Smits recently published a paper examining possible predictors of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The findings are highly relevant as they could potentially boost prevention efforts and help those who have experienced a trauma. Check out “Assessment of Post-Traumatic Injury Risk: Whom Should We Keep an Eye On?” to read about those most at risk.


imagesCould regular exercise be the solution to anxiety?

 Dr. Smits and colleagues recently found that exercising regularly for as little as two weeks can lead to improvements in anxiety sensitivity. Read more about the amazing health benefits (including improved mood) in “Health: Exercise benefits the body and brain.”


social-anxiety-disorderStudy on Social Anxiety Disorder Makes MDLinx  

Dr. Smits recently published findings on yohimbine as an augmentative strategy for exposure therapy among those with social anxiety disorder. The results were promising; yohimbine seemed to improve social anxiety symptoms, particularly when combined with successful exposure sessions. Better yet, the patients were more likely to report the effects as beneficial, suggesting that this may be a route to improve overall session success. These findings may help clinicians improve the effectiveness of their therapy sessions and enhance a patient’s learning experience-without significant side effects. Learn more here.