Christine A. Rabinak, PhD, Assistant Professor & Lab Director

I am an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the Departments of Pharmacy Practice, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Translational Neuroscience Program, and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. I received my PhD in Biopsychology from the University of Michigan in 2009 under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Maren.  Following my graduate work, I was accepted as a Postdoctoral Translational Scholar in the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), an NIH- supported institutional multidisciplinary career development award designed to foster the development of individuals with a PhD in biomedical science disciplines for independent careers in translational research. I carried this work out in the Psychiatric Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory and Trauma, Stress, & Anxiety Research Group within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and the Mental Health Service at the Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Ann Arbor under the mentorship of Drs. K. Luan Phan, Israel Liberzon, and James Abelson. The focus of my current research is to build on my recent work on the neural circuits involved in regulating extinction of fear memories using a rodent model and translate it to humans, to better dissect the neural mechanisms of fear memory-related psychiatric conditions.

Hilary Marusak, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. I received my PhD in Translational Neuroscience from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2016. My PhD research was focused on understanding the impact of early emotional trauma on brain and behavioral development in children and young adolescents. In that research, we identified structural and functional changes in the emotion centers of the brain. These changes may predispose some children to later emotional problems, particularly for children reared in socioeconomically disadvantaged settings. My postdoctoral work with Dr. Christine Rabinak will expand on those findings mechanistically - testing how early violence and/or abuse impacts the learning and regulation of fear memories. Another area of interest is medical trauma: we hope to understand the impact of the childhood cancer experience (cancer treatments, concerns about safety) on brain and behavioral development of the child, and on the family as a whole. 


Bob Torrence, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow mentored by Dr. Christine Rabinak, I received my PhD in Psychology from Colorado State University under Drs. Lucy Troup and Don Rojas. My graduate research focused on using event-related potentials from EEG to measure attention towards and processing of emotional facial expressions; specifically, examining the residual effects of cannabis use on emotional processing. My current research examines the acute effects of THC on fear extinction in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using fMRI. Additionally, I am interested in exploring endocannabinoid levels and its relation to development of PTSD and fear extinction.

Craig Peters, Research Technologist

One major role I have in the lab is to help with image processing and analysis. Prior to joining the TNP2 Lab I studied genetic interactions, specifically miRNA and mRNA, and helped facilitate high school educational workshops at the local Ann Arbor non-profit, miRcore, with Dr. Inhan Lee. I earned my undergraduate degree in Life Science Informatics at the University of Michigan, and have worked in the past for U of M's Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences Department. My interests include information science in health industry, how information technology is transforming the way we operate in the scientific world, and nerdy board games.

Farrah Elrahal, Research Coordinator

I am the research project coordinator in the lab. I received my BS in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am interested in conducting research related to neuropsychology and neuroimaging. I plan on attending graduate school and earning a PhD in the future. I enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends. I am excited to be a part of the TNP2 lab team!

Allesandra Iadipaolo, Research Coordinator & Certified Phlebotomist

As a research assistant, I am greatly involved with the THINK project, studying neurodevelopment in kids. In addition to data analysis and various other tasks in the lab, I assist with running the weekend fMRI visits. I recently graduated from Wayne State with a BA in Psychology, and am looking forward to applying to graduate programs in either clinical psychology or clinical neuroscience.  I am particularly interested in continuing to study the neural bases of risk and resilience in children and adolescents.  When I’m not busy being a huge neuro-psych nerd, I love to read, paint, spend time outdoors, and check out new restaurants and businesses in the Detroit area.  Being a part of the TNP2 lab crew is awesome!


Ashley Blanchette, PharmD Research Scholar

I am a pharmacy student in the Research Scholars program at Wayne State University, where I recently received my bachelors in health science.  My research interests involve the discovery of biologic markers for emotional disorders as therapeutic targets. I look forward to working with the TNP2 group on their ongoing projects and developing my skills as a researcher. Prior to joining the TNP2 group I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Commissaris' driving simulator lab studying the effects of texting and drugs (alcohol and THC) on driving performance. In addition to research I am a pharmacy intern at Beaumont Royal Oak working in a transition of care team. I enjoy pursuing answers to burning questions, re-watching Star Wars, and spending time with family and friends. 

Shelley Paulisin, Research Assistant Volunteer

I am currently an undergraduate student at Wayne State University working towards pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Biological Sciences. My future career aspiration is to become a Oncologist. I am looking forward to volunteering in the lab as a research assistant. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and reading. I am excited to be a part of the volunteer team at Wayne State!


Limi Sharif, ReBUILD Detroit Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a current undergraduate student at Wayne State University with a biology major and psychology minor. I am also a part of the ReBUILD Detroit program which focuses on increasing diversity in biomedical research. Additionally, I have a large interest in neuroscience with future aspirations of pursuing my own research in this field. I enjoy doing puzzles and brain teasers, working on DIY projects, and spending time with friends and family. I am excited to embark on this research experience and look forward to what it will bring!

Aneesh Hehr, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Research Assistant

I am an undergraduate biology major at Wayne State University. In the TNP2 lab, I am currently analyzing data for our novel fear conditioning paradigm which uses virtual reality to measure behavior in response to aversive events. I can’t wait to present some of these results at upcoming conferences! In my free time, I like to explain why Canadians are better than Americans, play guitar and listen to music.

Kelsey Sala-Hamrick M.A., TLLP, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute Predoctoral Fellow

I am currently a doctoral student Clinical Psychology and a MPSI Predoctoral Fellow with a focus in developmental psychopathology and statistics. My research focuses broadly on the resilient and multidimensional (neurological, biological, psychosocial, etc.) development of children and young people who have experienced trauma, community stressors, and demographic and associated risks (e.g. racism, poverty, medical conditions).  I am delighted to be a part of the TNP2 lab! As part of this lab, I am involved in several projects in which I primarily conduct clinical interviews with children and families with adverse experiences in order to understand how these experiences effect functional and structural changes in the emotional centers of the brain.  In addition to my research pursuits, I work clinically with children, adolescents and families in outpatient, community, integrative health settings.

Laura Crespo, M.A., TLLP, THINK Research Assistant

I am a Clinical Psychology doctoral student, also earning a Dual-Title in Infant Mental Health. My research interests involve understanding how parenting practices can promote emotion competence and positive psychosocial outcomes in children from at-risk environments. As part of the TNP2 lab, I have primarily been involved in conducting clinical interviews with children and parents about their stressful life experiences (such as victimization and medical trauma). Data gathered from these interviews are used to understand the neurological correlates of trauma and psychopathology development. In addition to research, I conduct therapy and assessments with children and families at a community health center in Detroit.

THINK Volunteers

Suzanne Brown, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, WSU

Xhenis Bahrami

Autumm Heeter


Hanan Rakine, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sajah Fakhoury, Research Assistant

Klara Gellci, BS, Biomedical Engineering Honors Student, WSU; Currently completing her Masters in Biomedical Engineering at WSU

Brian Silverstein, Neuroscience Predoctoral Graduate Student, WSU

Sarah Berman, Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant; Undergraduate Student, Brown University

Joshua Hatfield, Research Assistant; Currently a research assistant for Dr. Ed Huntley at the University of Michigan

Narcis Marshall, Research Assistant; Currently a clinical psychology doctoral student at University of Southern California

Kassem Soufan, Biology Honors Undergraduate Student, WSU; Currently a medical student at WSU

Juan Reyes, P2 Student, Directed-Study, WSU

Derek Montgomery, P3 Student, Directed-Study, WSU

Clara Zundel, Research Assistant; Currently a neuroscience doctoral student at Boston University

Shomita Rode, Undergraduate Research Assistant, WSU

Sameen Jaffry, Undergraduate Honors Psychology Research Assistant, WSU

Jen Mahn, MPA, Clinical Study Coordinator; Currently Clinic Operations Manager, City of Detroit Public Health STD & TB Clinics

Pranay Ravipati, Pharmaceutical Sciences MS Graduate Student, Rotation, WSU

Miranda Rippin, P2 Student, Directed-Study, WSU

Jeremy DeLor, P2 Student, Directed-Study, WSU

Nicholas Meshkin, Neuroscience Predoctoral Graduate Student, Rotation, WSU

Shoko Mori, BS, Senior Honors Student, University of Michigan; Currently a Medical Student at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine

Angie Miller, Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Michigan 

RJ Walls, Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Michigan

Maryssa Lyons, BS, Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Michigan