University of Pittsburgh | Department of Psychiatry

Meet Our Lab Members

Jay C. Fournier, Ph.D.

Lab Director

Dr. Fournier is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is a practicing clinical psychologist with an active research program in the cognitive affective neuroscience of personality and depression.

Dr. Fournier completed his undergraduate education in psychology and philosophy at Brandeis University, he earned his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and he completed his clinical psychology internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

Dr. Fournier’s research focuses on identifying patient characteristics that are associated with differential response to treatments for depression, including placebo, antidepressant medications, and psychotherapy. In addition, his work investigates the neural and behavioral mechanisms through which those characteristics either facilitate or inhibit response to relevant treatments. As such, Dr. Fournier’s research bridges work in clinical interventions, mood disorders, personality, and neuroscience.

Kale Edminston

Assistant Professor

Kale Edmiston uses neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques to better understand how the visual system functions in people with anxiety. He is particularly interested in how differences in visual perception might result in increased risk for the development of mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Edmiston’s previous work has included studies of social and emotional processing in mood disorders, as well as stress system function in autism and social anxiety. He completed his PhD in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, followed by postdocs at China Medical University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Edmiston is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

João Paulo Lima Santos

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Santos received his MD from Universidade de Fortaleza in 2013 and completed a Psychiatry Residency at the Hospital Universitário Walter Cantídio – Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC) in Fortaleza/Brazil in 2017.  His areas of expertise/interest include: Emotion regulation, Psychiatric disorders in youth, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Functional MRI, and Neuroimaging measures as predictors for psychiatric outcomes.

Nicole Roberts

Postdoctoral Fellow


Tyler Conrad

Research Specialist

Tyler Conrad received his undergraduate education from the Pennsylvania State University in Psychology. He has worked in other clinical research labs examining the effects of stress on interpersonal violence in military couples, as well as the effects of sleep deprivation on fear acquisition and extinction in the civilian population.

Katy-Lauren Ford

Research Coordinator

Katy-Lauren got her Ph.D. in Clinical Geropsychology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL in 2018, completing her Clinical Internship at the North Florida/ South Georgia VA in Gainesville, FL.  She has also worked as a Psychology Instructor at UA and Chatham University, and is especially passionate about researching mental health disparities and policy.

Ricki Stiffler

Ricki came to Pittsburgh at the age of 17 for school and has remained here since.  She loves the city of Pittsburgh, the Penguins and Steelers. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh and continued on to earn an M.S.W. in Psychiatric Social Work.  She has over 30 years of experience in Psychiatry.  Ricki first worked at Western Psychiatric Hospital in 1990 following graduate school. She held a variety of clinical positions at WPH including the emergency department, genetics, first-break psychosis, depression and suicidal behavior research before moving to data management and programming.  She has working in the Phillips Clinical & Translational Affective Neuroscience Program for the past 12 years and currenlty serves as the Research Program Administrator.

Prior Lab Members

Logan Cummings

Logan is pursuing his doctoral degree in Clinical Science/ Psychology at Florida International University.

Danielle Gilchrist

Recently completed her Physician’s Assistant degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

Allison Drazba

Allison is currently a first year Ph.D. student in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University.