Noura Alavi, B.A.

Project Coordinator

Noura graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduating, she worked as a research assistant in the Anxiety & Health Behaviors Lab and as a regional coordinator for the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program. She is currently a project coordinator for two NIH funded clinical trials examining Social Anxiety Disorder, Postraumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, and smoking cessation. Noura’s research interests include anxiety, trauma, and mood disorders, with an emphasis on youth and multicultural populations. Noura plans on pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling or clinical psychology.


Christy Dutcher, M.Ed.

Project Coordinator and Research Associate Clinician

Christy received a B.A. in Psychology from St. Edward’s University and a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. After graduating, Christy worked as a Project Coordinator for Dr. Anka Vujanovic’s Randomized Controlled Trial of a Novel Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for PTSD and Cocaine Dependence at UT Health Science Center (2013-2016). She is currently a Project Coordinator for a NIH funded clinical trial examining the dose timing of D-Cycloserine to Augment CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder and a research therapist for studies examining Social Anxiety Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, and smoking cessation. Her research interests include trauma, anxiety, diagnostic comorbidity, addiction, and emotional regulatory processes. Christy is interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Haley Conroy, B.A.

Project Coordinator

Haley graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May of 2017, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Communications. She is currently a Research Associate for two funded clinical trials uniquely targeting smoking cessation by examining the efficacy of exercise as an intervention for highly anxious adults and standard smoking cessation CBT coupled with a computerized task. Haley’s research interests include social and generalized anxiety, trauma, and the etiology of anxiety disorders. Haley plans on pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, and is passionate about the idea of treating unique individuals while simultaneously contributing to the development of standardized interventions.

Zane Freeman, B.A.

Project Coordinator

Zane graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to joining the Anxiety and Health Behaviors Lab, Zane worked as a research assistant in the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Lab with Dr. Robert Josephs, where he studied the effects of hormones in anxiety and stress reactivity. He also spent time as a research assistant in the Mood Disorders Lab. Currently, Zane works as a project coordinator for a study examining exercise augmentation for smoking cessation in anxiety sensitive adults. His research interests include the etiology of anxiety and stress related to psychopathology, mindfulness-based interventions for anxiety and stress, and sex differences among hormones, behaviors, and response to treatment. Zane plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


Melissa Van Veldhuizen, B.A.

Project Coordinator

Melissa Van Veldhuizen graduated from Iowa State University in May 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. During her time at Iowa State, she participated in research laboratories, completed an internship as a peer advocate at a shelter for abused women and children, and worked as a caregiver for the mentally and physically disabled. She is currently employed as a project coordinator for the Anxiety and Health Behaviors Lab. She manages two studies in a hospital setting; one that examines efficacy of virtual reality as a treatment for pain and another that tracks trauma patient symptoms and aims to understand how individuals process trauma. Melissa is passionate about mental health and improving the lives of those who are afflicted by mental illness. Her research interests include mood and anxiety disorders in adults and she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology.



Carlos F. Tirado, M.D.

Study Physician

Dr. Tirado is board certified in general and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Tirado received specialty training in addiction psychiatry and research at the Center for Studies on Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania and has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health. Dr. Tirado has conducted health disparities research on Hepatitis C treatment in US veterans and adolescent addiction supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Tirado has served as Scientific Coordinator for the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Texas Node and Director of Clinical Research Fellowship Training in Addiction at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Tirado’s academic, clinical and consulting work has focused on medication assisted treatment of addiction, treatment of chronic pain and co-morbid addiction, phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, training medical professionals and implementation of evidence-based behavioral and medication programs. Dr. Tirado is also trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing and has supervised clinicians ranging from physicians to licensed chemical dependency counselors. Dr. Tirado is currently in private practice in addiction psychiatry.