School Mental Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools

Faculty Sponsor: 
Adelman, Howard
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Howard Adelman
Phone: 
825-1225
Description of Research Project: 
The project pursues theory, research, practice and training related to addressing mental health and psychosocial concerns through school-based interventions. To these ends, the Center works closely with school districts, state agencies, and organizations and colleagues across the country, providing support, materials and technical assistance.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will assist in Center operations, working on a variety of activities including: library research, materials preparation, and data management. No prior research experience is needed, just a willingness to learn. 6 hour/week minimum committment

Mechanisms of Attention Control

Faculty Sponsor: 
Agatha Lenartowicz
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Agatha Lenartowicz
Room Number: 
27-370B
Description of Research Project: 
Our research aims to understand the brain mechanisms that govern attention control, the ability to direct our attention and ignore distractions. We examine oscillatory phenomena like alpha-range oscillations (8-12Hz) as an index of attention, and use EEG and f/MRI to map the underlying brain networks. We study these mechanisms both in healthy individuals and in individuals with ADHD. Analysis of neuroimaging data is a big focus of the project and lab.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Student responsibilities include assistance with data collection (EEG, fMRI), data entry and data processing (conducted on the Hoffman2 cluster using some combination of Matlab, shell scripts and custom software). Lab activities are ideal for students with a keen interest in the brain, attention and neuroimaging!

Social Skills Training for Children

Faculty Sponsor: 
Baweja, Shilpa
Department: 
Child Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Baweja, Shilpa
Room Number: 
Semel Institute
Phone: 
310-825-0142
Description of Research Project: 
Our project seeks to assess effectiveness of parent assisted social skills training with children (ages 7-12) who have established deficits in making and/or keeping friends (including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ADHD). Each week we instruct them on important elements of socialization (i.e., conversational skills; peer entry and exiting strategies; handling teasing, bullying, and rejection; changing bad reputations; choosing peers wisely; handling arguments and disagreements; and having appropriate get-togethers with peers). Separate parent and child sessions are conducted concurrently for each week. Parents are taught how to assist their children in making and keeping friends by providing performance feedback through coaching during weekly in vivo socialization homework assignments. Kids are taught important social skills through didactic instruction, role-plays, and behavioral rehearsal during real play activities.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The RA is needed to assist with our social skills interventions on Wednesday evenings. Research assistants will assist with preparing materials for intervention, conducting research fidelity during the group, assisting with behavior management, and providing performance feedback to children and teens through coaching during real play activities. In addition during the week the RA will assist with completing initial intake assessments with families--including helping administer/score assessments and keeping an up-to-date research database. We require a 2 quarter commitment. Must be available a couple of afternoons during the week as well as Wednesdays 5:15pm-8:15pm.

Designing Workplaces, Schools, and Standardized Tests to Reduce Social Disparities

Faculty Sponsor: 
Brannon, Tiffany
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Tiffany Brannon
Room Number: 
4528D
Description of Research Project: 
The goal of this research is to understand the processes that allow culturally inclusive efforts to become successful interventions that improve a variety of social outcomes. Specifically, this research examines the prediction that culturally inclusive efforts— those that aim to reduce prejudice and recognize pride associated with negatively stereotyped identities— can enhance academic outcomes (e.g., achievement, persistence, identification) and intergroup outcomes (e.g., implicit attitudes, multicultural interests). This research examines this predication in the context of workplace and school settings (including standardized testing).
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will have the opportunity to actively participate in various tasks with the goal of learning and cultivating the development of research skills related to conducting literature reviews, helping to design study stimuli, serving as a study experimenter, entering data and coding data.

Memory and Aging

Faculty Sponsor: 
Castel, Alan
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Mary Whatley
Description of Research Project: 
The purpose of this research is to better understand how well both younger and older adults can direct attention to information that they want to later remember, and how motivation (in various forms) influences what people attend to and later remember. Prior research shows that overall memory declines as people age, but the ability to remember information that is deemed valuable or important is largely preserved with age. Factors such as motivation and attention can influence memory in both younger and older adults, and this has implications ranging from educational settings (e.g., college students trying to remember information for classes) to everyday memory issues (e.g., remembering the name of someone you recently met). This research also involves examining predictions and judgments about memory, strategies people may use to try to improve memory, and other metacognitive factors that may influence or correlate with memory performance.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students may assist with a variety of tasks in the lab, including participant contact and scheduling, data collection (e.g., running tasks with participants), designing experiments, and managing databases. Students should be professional, organized, and personable. No prior experience is required, but students should have some interest in the topic and willingness to learn. Knowledge or experience with coding languages is a plus, but not required. Please submit a brief paragraph stating your interest and a resume/CV to Mary Whatley (graduate student) at mcwhatley@ucla.edu.

Connecting Evidence to Action to Engage Student in School-Based Mental Health (REACHing Families)

Faculty Sponsor: 
Chorpita, Bruce
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Meredith Boyd
Description of Research Project: 
The primary aim of the present study is to explore the impact of a coordinated knowledge system on therapist use of evidence to increase youth engagement in school based mental health services.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Complete HIPAA, CITI and lab specific training to handle and process data, Listen to and transcribe recordings of school-based psychotherapy sessions conducted in Spanish Translate transcriptions from Spanish to English Conduct literature reviews Attend and participate in weekly lab meetings aimed at professional develop and increasing research fluency

Reaching Families Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Chorpita, Bruce
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Meredith Boyd
Description of Research Project: 
The Child FIRST (Focus on Innovation and Redesign in Systems and Treatment) Lab at UCLA is dedicated to improving the quality of children’s mental health care through innovations in mental health treatment design and clinical decision-making. We are currently conducting a research project aimed at improving child engagement in school-based mental health services.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are currently recruiting research assistants to transcribe clinical recordings in Spanish and translate to English starting summer 2020 (abie to volunteer remotely if required encryption and confidentiality training is completed). Responsibilities include: --6 hour/week minimum commitment --assist with a diverse range of research tasks including transcribing, translating (Spanish to English), data entry and literature review --complete required confidentiality and human subjects training online --attend weekly professional development meetings tailored to your interests and goals

Pediatric and Adult Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD

Faculty Sponsor: 
Del'Homme, Melissa
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Jenny Cowen, PhD
Room Number: 
Med Plaza 300
Phone: 
310-825-6170
Description of Research Project: 
Our multidisciplinary team conducts several pediatric and adult treatment studies to investigate and treat a wide range of psychiatric disorders. Our broad interests are reflected by the many of clinical trials we conduct including treating ADHD and severe mood dysregulation in children and adolescents with an innovative non-medication approach, examining the efficacy of several medications on different symptoms of autism spectrum disorders including repetitive, hyperactive, and social withdrawal behaviors. The RA will have ample opportunity to interact with children and adults ages 5-35 with autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. Our lab offers a unique union of psychiatry and psychology for those students who are interested in learning about research in these fields!
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for detail-oriented, enthusiastic, hard-working, organized, sociable, and independent students who are interested in learning about the research process and psychiatric disorders! The RA will be trained to administer vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight, and EKG. The RA will also help facilitate study participant blood draws, process blood and urine, ship biological materials (after training), assist in preparing for and running study visits, data entry and management, developing participant recruitment strategies, as well as administrative/clerical tasks. Students who have shown dedication, interest and commitment to our projects in the past have created posters, helped to design databases, and have been connected with researchers in other areas of their interest. Students with experience in graphic design will have the opportunity to be creative and lead development of recruitment materials and manage the evolving group website and content. We would like at least a 2 quarter commitment from any interested students. Please attach a resume and class schedule to your email application.

Mind, Brain, Body Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Dr. Bridget Callaghan
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Emily Towner
Room Number: 
5581 Franz Hall Tower
Phone: 
310-909-7083
Description of Research Project: 
The Mind, Brain, Body study looks at how early caregiving experiences influence emotional, cognitive, and brain development, as well as physical health and wellness. The study also explores how the bacteria that live inside us (the microbiome) are connected to the development of our brains and bodies.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The primary responsibilities include assisting with research sessions, data entry and validation, preparation of research materials, and recruitment. Research assistants are expected to commit to at least 10 hours/week with the lab for a minimum of 1-year. Research assistants will have the opportunity to attend lab meetings and be involved with all aspects of the research process. Candidates should be professional and organized, with good communication skills and a desire to learn! Interested students should email a CV to bablab.ucla@gmail.com.

Inflammation and Daily Life Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Eisenberger, Naomi
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Laura Hazlett
Description of Research Project: 
The Inflammation and Daily Life study will investigate whether an anti-inflammatory medication (naproxen; Aleve) can reduce loneliness in middle aged adults currently experiencing high levels of loneliness. We’ll also explore how naproxen affects daily life experiences, including physical and mental health outcomes, as well as the immune system. The research incorporates various fields including social and health psychology, immunology, psychiatry/medicine, and human social genomics.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
No prior research experience is required, however we do ask that you have an interest in the project, enjoy working collaboratively as part of a research team, be organized and thoughtful, with good communication skills and a desire to learn! Research assistants are expected to commit to at least 10 hours/week for a minimum of 1 year (ideally beginning this summer). Primary responsibilities include screening potential participants for eligibility, data entry and management, preparation of research materials, and assisting with the intervention (e.g. monitoring subjects’ daily responses to questionnaires or scheduling text messages, and conducting subjects’ online study sessions). If you are interested, please email Laura Hazlett at laurahazlett@ucla.edu describing why you are interested in this position, and your 1) resume/CV; 2) unofficial transcript; 3) availability for the summer and Fall.

Biobehavioral Research in Children with Life-threatening Illnesses

Faculty Sponsor: 
Evan, Elana E.
Department: 
Pediatrics
Contact Name: 
Elana E. Evan, PhD
Room Number: 
22-464 MDCC
Phone: 
310-206-1771
Description of Research Project: 
The Children's Comfort Care Program at the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is home to an active biobehavioral research lab focusing on the care of children with serious illnesses. These are just a few examples of a variety of exciting, open projects with volunteer opportunities: Pediatric Symptom Communication Study: The goal of this study is to understand children's experiences of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms during serious illness and determine the extent to which parents and children agree about the symptom experience; Communication Intervention: Help facilitate the implementation of a communication intervention for children with serious illnesses and their parents; Healthcare Provider Education: Assist during educational presentations and the distribution of information materials to healthcare staff who work with seriously ill children; provide support to track progress and efficacy of educational interventions for healthcare providers
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
"RESEARCH ASSISTANTS will be needed to: code qualitative interviews conduct literature reviews enter data assist in data management participate in related research and program development tasks ELIGIBILITY: completed Pysch 100B or an equivalent research methods course must be responsible & detail-oriented submit a resume must work well independently & with a team volunteer at least 8-10 hrs/wk "

Gender identity and own body perception implications for the neurobiology of gender dysphoria

Faculty Sponsor: 
Feusner, Jamie
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Courtney Sheen
Description of Research Project: 
Perturbations of the experience of self and gender identity motivate individuals with gender dysphoria towards changing their bodies with hormones and surgical interventions, which are often effective in relieving dysphoria for adults and youth. However, little is known about the neural circuitry involved in body perception in those with gender dysphoria, how it is affected by hormonal treatment, and what may predict better or worse longitudinal outcome after treatment. This study will provide valuable information on the neurobiological underpinning of gender dysphoria, and promises to uncover brain structure, activation, and connectivity, as well as body phenotype and hormonal patterns that could predict outcome in terms of body image and quality of life after cross-sex hormone treatment, which ultimately could be used to assist in medical decision-making.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Assist with data management and analysis, attend weekly lab meetings, record/collect behavioral data, assist with MRI and EEG data collection.

Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program

Faculty Sponsor: 
Freeman, Stephanny
Department: 
Child Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Freeman, Stephanny
Room Number: 
Semel Institute 78-222
Description of Research Project: 
The Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program is a short-term integrated day treatment program for young children who have been diagnosed with, or may have, autism, developmental disabilities, and behavior disorders. The program uses a comprehensive
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The position is entry-level and is focused heavily on data and database management (i.e., data collection, entering, checking, backing up, etc.). There is also opportunity to work within a project that requires filming in one of the therapeutic classrooms, and training in coding and identifying specific social behaviors. As an RA, you must be able to work independently (once fully trained), must be able to communicate via various modalities with the coordinator (e.g., email, notes, etc.), must be organized and thoughtful, and have some basic computer skills. Please note that there is no clinical (i.e., working directly with children and treatment) component to this position. We require 7 hours per week and strongly recommend two consecutive quarters (given the intensive training).

Social Status Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Fuligni, Andrew
Department: 
Psychology/Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Danny Rahal
Description of Research Project: 
Various projects in the lab use different methodologies to assess how perceptions of social status relate to behaviors, physiological responses, and psychological well-being among young adults. Studies involve experimentally assessing how feeling of low status can influence psychological and physiological responses to stress distinctly from objective socioeconomic status; identifying how status relates to emotional responses to test performance in the context of a university course; and studying associations between feeling of low status and being treated of low status relates to substance use.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Meeting and consenting participants, leading participants through sessions of an experimental protocol, setting up ECG and collecting saliva samples under supervision during lab visits, scheduling text message and tracking participant responses using online software, administering surveys in Qualtrics, cleaning data and writing syntax in SPSS and Stata. Tasks can vary based on student interest.

Evaluating Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes

Faculty Sponsor: 
Glasner-Edwards, Suzette
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Suzette Glasner-Edwards
Room Number: 
Integrated Substance Abuse Programs
Phone: 
310-267-5206
Description of Research Project: 
In a series of clinical research projects, we are (1) developing new psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for substance abusers with concurrent mental illness; and (2) investigating clinical outcomes of patients enrolled in these, and other substance abuse treatment programs throughout California. In conducting these studies, we work closely with a variety of community substance abuse treatment programs in Los Angeles county as well as the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will be involved in various aspects of the project, including data collection in substance abusing adults and youth ages 12-20, preparation of materials for submission to Institutional Review Boards of the Human Subjects Protection Committee of UCLA and the California state government, data entry and management, conducting literature searches, performing treatment program site visits, attending weekly staff meetings, scheduling of interviews with treatment providers, providing research support for presentations and papers, and assisting the Principal Investigator and Project Director in maintaining quality control in data collection.. These projects are ongoing and there are opportunities for extended involvement throughout the year.

Stress and Learning Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Salvador Vazquez
Description of Research Project: 
We are beginning a new project assessing cognitive processes for first-generation Latinx college students. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, we will examine the correlates of cognitive control (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) during a challenging learning task. The goal of this work is to understand the ways in which experiences with race-based stressors during college (e.g., microaggressions, minority status, and acculturative stress) can affect LatinX college students’ ability to think, focus, and learn.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Due to training demands, students are required to commit to at least 1-year with the lab. Interested students, please email a transcript, resume/CV, and a short statement of interest. Commitment involves 8-10 hours/week. Students are also expected to attend weekly lab meetings. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the entire research process including data collection, data processing, and writing/presenting. Summer 2021 will involve several weeks of data collection training with electroencephalography (EEG) equipment. Fall 2021 will be spent primarily collecting data in the lab and processing data. Data will be collected in 2-hour sessions throughout the day, so most schedules can be accommodated. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable learning processing software. Preference is given to those with strong organization and time management skills. Additional responsibilities may include the input of questionnaire data and participant reports/notes. Students will receive training in the physics of EEG activity and will be required to read literature regarding EEG data collection and processing. Opportunities for mentorship on conducting your own research using the existing data will be available. Beyond this project, our lab is currently conducting four dissertation studies in addition to several other studies just beginning or currently in progress. There will be opportunities to work on these other studies to gain experience with transcription, behavioral coding, and data processing/analysis.

Classroom Attention Tracking (CAT) Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Sarah Jo Torgrimson
Room Number: 
3302
Phone: 
3108258348
Description of Research Project: 
We are beginning a new project assessing attentional processes and engagement for students in early elementary school. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, we examine the correlates of executive functions (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) and self-regulation behaviors during a mock-classroom lesson. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the ways in which children regulate their attention during varying activities in the hopes of furthering our knowledge of how children with different levels of attentional skills maintain engagement in the classroom.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for students to fill three different research position teams. Due to training demands, students are required to commit to at least 1-year with the lab. Interested students please email transcript, resume/CV, and 2 references. Commitment involves 6-10 hours/week. Students are also expected to attend weekly lab meetings. Data Collection Team: Primary responsibilities will include participant recruitment and data collection. Research assists will learn wireless EEG methods and assist with one-on-one and group sessions with students in K-2nd grade. Must be available during afterschool hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM) at least two days during school week. Preference given to those available to assist with collection during summer session A. Experience with children (camp counselor, tutoring, babysitting, etc.) required. Behavioral Coding Team: Primary responsibilities include coding videotapes of student sessions. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable learning new video coding software. Preference given to those with strong organization and time management skills. Additional responsibilities may include input of questionnaire data and participant reports/notes. EEG Processing Team: Primary responsibilities include processing electrophysiological (EEG) data. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable learning processing software. Students will receive training in physics of EEG activity and will be required to read literature regarding EEG data collection and processing. Preference given to those with strong organization and time management skills. Additional responsibilities may include input of questionnaire data and participant reports/notes.

Executive Functions and Feedback Responding

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Jennie Grammer
Phone: 
3108258348
Description of Research Project: 
We are interested in the development of children’s cognitive skills from early childhood across the transition in to elementary school. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, ongoing projects in the laboratory are designed to examine the neural correlates of executive functions (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) and responses to feedback. Across a series of investigations, we are currently examining these process in young children and college students. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the ways in which early enrichment and schooling experiences can positively impact brain and behavioral development.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Primary responsibilities will include participant recruitment and data collection. In addition, students will be involved with data entry and analyses. Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings.

Testing an Educational Visual Aid to Increase Knowledge and Adherence to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Among At-risk Youth

Faculty Sponsor: 
Joan Christodoulou
Department: 
Semel & Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Joan Christodoulou
Description of Research Project: 
With the growing rate of HIV infections among youth in the last 15 years, particularly in Los Angeles (LA) and New Orleans, there is a growing public health need to increase PrEP uptake and adherence. This study assesses a concrete, simple, salient, and interactive demonstration to increase knowledge about PrEP, its potential benefits, and how to maintain medication adherence, particularly among youth.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The student researcher will have the opportunity to recruit and schedule patients, participate in the consenting process, run educational demonstrations about how PrEP works in the body, as well as data entry, cleaning, and analysis. There are also opportunites for publication and poster write-up including literature searches and data visualization.

The UCLA High School Diversity Project

Faculty Sponsor: 
Juvonen, Jaana
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Piper Harris
Room Number: 
2322 Franz Hall
Description of Research Project: 
The purpose of this research is to test a set of interrelated hypotheses about the psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in urban middle schools and high schools. It is hypothesized that greater diversity can benefit students' mental health, intergroup attitudes, and school adaptation via three mechanisms: (1) decreases in perceived vulnerability, (2) the formation and maintenance of cross-ethnic friendships; and (3) the development of complex social identities. These hypotheses will be examined in a longitudinal study of approximately 6,000 6th grade students as they enter one of the 26 urban middle schools in southern California.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for a team of diverse students who can commit to 8 hrs/week. The main responsibility will be to collect psychosocial, behavioral, and academic data from ethnically diverse middle school students in Los Angeles area public schools. Other tasks include preparation for data collection, subject recruitment and retention, and data entry. Please contact the Project Manager if interested.

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