Pittsburgh Clinical Application of Neuroscience Laboratory

University of Pittsburgh | Department of Pyschiatry

People in CANlab

Rebecca B. Price


Rebecca B. Price, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed undergraduate studies in cognitive science at Stanford University and a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Rutgers University. She has been the recipient of several awards including an NIMH Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS) R01, the Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award from the American Psychological Assocation/Psi Chi, the Donald F. Klein Early Career Investigator Award from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, a “Rising Star” award by the Association for Psychological Science, the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, and the Society of Biological Psychiatry A.E. Bennett Award. 

Dr. Price’s research program is broadly dedicated to pushing the field of cognitive neuroscience towards a more direct clinical impact. She hopes to specify neurocognitive mechanisms relevant to affective dysfunction, and then to target these mechanisms in patients using innovative methods optimized to promote symptom relief that is both efficient and enduring. Her research asks questions such as: Can we develop and test effective new treatments and synergistic bio-behavioral treatment combinations that are based on a growing understanding of how the brain works? Can we leverage technological advances to reach more patients with these treatments? Can we use individual differences in neurocognitive processes to match specific people to specific treatments? Dr. Price has investigated these questions primarily in the context of affective conditions such as anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviors, and suicidality. She has recently focused on developing novel synergistic treatment strategies coupling computer-based interventions with 1) intravenous ketamine or 2) non-invasive neuromodulation.

Dr. Price is particularly grateful for her three greatest gifts—her husband Andy and their two daughters.

Click here (ResearchGate) or here (PubMed) for a current list of Dr. Price’s publications.

Mary Woody

Assistant Professor

Mary Woody, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Woody received her B.S. in psychology and women & gender studies from the University of Miami and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Binghamton University (SUNY). She completed her doctoral clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic before completing an NIMH T32-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the current recipient of an NIMH Career Development Award (K23).

Dr. Woody’s long-term research goals are to contribute to the prevention and treatment of depression and other internalizing disorders by 1) identifying mechanisms underlying the development of these disorders across the lifespan and 2) translating mechanisms into treatment targets. Her research interests are cross-disciplinary, spanning the fields of clinical psychology, developmental affective neuroscience, and experimental therapeutics. Her current K23 award tests if a novel brain-based measure of affect-biased attention, as measured by steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs), can be 1) used to predict future adolescent depression and 2) provide neural feedback about affect-biased attention in order to modify it and buffer mood reactivity. In addition, her past and ongoing research projects have examined 1) cognitive, physiological, and genetic markers of risk in offspring of depressed mothers, 2) multi-method assessment of the role of affect-biased attention in the development and recurrence of depression, and 3) individual differences in neural and behavioral functioning that underlie response to neurocognitive interventions.

Click here (ResearchGate) or here (PubMed) for a current list of Dr. Woody’s publications.

Vanessa Brown

Assistant Professor

I received my MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech, working with Pearl Chiu on studies of reinforcement learning in depression and PTSD. I completed my undergraduate training in Psychology and German at St. Olaf College. Prior to graduate school, I worked as a research assistant at Duke’s Brain Imaging Center and the Durham VA Medical Center. My research interests are on using computational and neuroimaging approaches to understand how problems in learning and decision making underlie psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, and how these problems can be identified and targeted in treatment.

Rachel Vaughn-Coaxum

Assistant Professor

Rachel Vaughn-Coaxum completed her doctoral internship in clinical psychology and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She received her B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University, her M.A. in psychology from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University in November 2018. Rachel’s primary research interests are in the development and treatment of youth depression, with a particular interest in how contextual risk factors for depression relate to cognitive processes underlying self-regulatory skills.

Manny Rengasamy

Assistant Professor

Manny Rengasamy, MD joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh after completing a T32 postdoctoral fellowship. He completed undergraduate studies at Rice University, medical school at McGovern Medical School, and child psychiatry residency/fellowship at UPMC. His research interests include studying the role of inflammation in mood disorders and utilizing neuroimaging to understand mood disorders, particularly in the pediatric population.

Crystal Spotts

Research Operations Coordinator

Michael Lightfoot

Senior Clinician

Benjamin Panny

Research Project Coordinator

After receiving bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and psychology from the University of Rochester, Benjamin Panny began working on Dr. Price’s BRAINS study in late 2017 to investigate new treatments for depressive symptoms. He is broadly enthused by nature and currently interested in the aesthetic qualities of everyday life in relation to reasoning, emotion, and motivation with hopes of better understanding what’s going on.

Nicolas Cruz

Research Principal

Nicolas is excited to work in the CANlab as a Research Principal. He graduated with an Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology and an MA in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. Nicolas’s previous research has focused on fields such as social dominance, stress reactivity, and issues facing reentering veterans such as substance use, PTSD, and suicidality. He is interested in furthering his knowledge of fields such as cognition, behavior, and psychopathology. In his free time, Nicolas enjoys music, hiking, being outdoors, and traveling.

Anna Wears

Research Project Assistant

Anna graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a research specialist in the CANlab as well as an MSW student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in how underlying biological processes interact with one’s environment to affect emotion and perception throughout the lifespan. When not doing research, Anna enjoys yoga, playing golf, and making food with friends.

Andrew Baumeister

Research Specialist

Andrew is a Research Specialist who went to school at the University of Pittsburgh and majored in Psychology. Broadly speaking, he is interested in researching the relationship between altered states of consciousness and the amelioration of symptomology in mood disorders as well the mechanisms of how this takes place. Aside from research, Andrew enjoys making art, music, and playing ice hockey. 

Kevin Do-Nguyen

Research Specialist

Kevin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. He is now working in the CANlab as a research specialist while simultaneously enrolled in the MSW program at the University of Pittsburgh in pursuit of his interests in the etiology, course, and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Other interests include studying the cognitive and neurological correlates of various psychiatric disorders in the context of decision making, relapse/recovery, working memory, and emotion regulation. In his free time, Kevin also enjoys playing table tennis, racquetball, and going hiking.

Becca Rohac

Research Project Assistant

Becca is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in Neuroscience and the History and Philosophy of Science. Her past research focused on studying the underlying mechanisms of eating disorders and this illness is of particular interest to her. Her broader research interests include studying cognitive deficits in psychiatric disorders and understanding how the perception of the self can be used to identify novel treatment and prevention methods for such disorders. Outside of the lab, Becca enjoys writing creative nonfiction and running.

Danielle Nebril

Research Specialist

Danielle graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Her previous research experiences focused on decision-making, causal learning, and the preservative thought patterns found in anxiety. She is currently interested in the cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying internalizing psychopathology. Outside of the lab, Danielle enjoys thrift shopping, painting, and watching nature documentaries.

Nastasia McDonald

Research Specialist

Nastasia is a New York POSSE 16 Scholar and Lafayette College Alum with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Religious Studies. Nastasia‘s long term research goal is to understand and improve the ways in which marginalized groups and minoritized identities experience health. Her previous research experience involved examining the relationship between black women and alternative/spiritual healing as well as the efficacy of using glycine to reduce epileptic seizures. She hopes to pursue research in Neuropharmacology to further understand the effects of drugs on racial and gender minorities. In her free time, you can find Nastasia traveling, exploring new restaurants, and/or watching one of her many favorite TV series (most likely produced by Mindy Kaling). 

Iya Cooper

Research Specialist

Iya Cooper is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Her past research focused on Traumatic Brain Injury recovery. She is interested in generational trauma and its effect on mood disorders as well as the etiology of schizophrenia. Other than research, she enjoys cooking, exploring new restaurants, traveling, and watching football. 

Luna Malloy

Research Specialist

Luna received her degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is excited to expand her knowledge of clinical psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience, and looks forward to discovering her specific research interests as a part of the CANlab team. When she’s not working, she enjoys making bread, watching horror movies, and playing various Legend of Zelda games. 

Alums of CANlab

Karissa Miller


Karissa has now joined the faculty at California State University, Long Beach.

Logan Cummings


Logan Cummings is now a doctoral student in Clinical Science/Psychology at Florida International University. 

Jamie Yang


Jamie Yang is now pursuing medical school at UCLA.

Kimberly Lin


Kimberly recently completed her medical school training at the University of Pittsburgh.

Emily Ricketts


Emily Ricketts is now an Assistant Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. 

 Danielle Gilchrist


Danielle completed her Physician’s Assistant degree at the University of Pittsburgh and now works as a PA.

Olga Berkout


Olga Berkout is now an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Kevin Tang


Kevin Tang graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience and then pursued his medical school training.

Michelle Degutis


Michelle completed her graduate studies in Public Healthy Policy and Data Analytics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Simona Graur


Simona is a licensed clinical social worker and a Senior Research Principal in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Shane Mckeon


Shane is pursing graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dana Rosen


Congratulations to Dana Rosen on recently completing her doctoral studies!

Angela Griffo


Angela is now a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Elizabeth Bell


Liz now works in a research laboratory at the University of Utah.