Our Staff


Clancy Blair

Clancy Blair, Principal Investigator

Clancy Blair is a developmental psychologist who studies self-regulation in young children. His primary interest concerns the development of cognitive abilities referred to as executive functions and the ways in which these aspects of cognition are important for school readiness and early school achievement. He is also interested in the development and evaluation of preschool and elementary school curricula designed to promote executive functions as a means of preventing school failure. In 2002, Blair and his colleagues at Penn State University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a longitudinal, population-based study of family ecology and child development beginning at birth. In his part of the project, Blair is examining interaction between early experiential and biological influences on the development of executive functions and related aspects of self-regulation. Ultimately, Blair and his colleagues plan to follow this sample through the school years and into young adulthood. Prior to coming to NYU, Blair spent ten years as an assistant and then associate professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. He received his doctorate in developmental psychology and a master's degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996. See Dr. Blair's Steinhardt faculty page here.

Current Studies: ABC Project, Tools K


Cybele RaverCo-Principal Investigator

C. Cybele Raver is Vice Provost for Academic, Faculty, and Research Affairs at NYU. She examines the mechanisms that support children's self-regulation in the contexts of poverty and social policy. Raver and her research team currently conduct CSRP, a federally-funded RCT intervention and she regularly advises local and federal government agencies and foundations on promoting school readiness among low-income children. See our new articles in Child Development and Social Service Review- downloadable here.

Raver also directs the Children's Self-Regulation (CSR) lab at NYU, focusing on self-regulation among older children in classroom contexts.  Raver has received a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar award as well as support from the Spencer Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Raver earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University. See Dr. Raver's Steinhardt faculty page here.

Current Studies: ABC Project, CSRP


Aida McNabb, Lab Manager

Aida McNabb is the Lab Manager for the Neuroscience and Education Lab at New York University. She previously worked as the Project Coordinator for the Tools of the Mind - Kindergarten Study. Her past research experience includes the “Incredible Years Study” at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Aida holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University at Buffalo and a M.A. in Educational Psychology from NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Jessica Burdick, Project Coordinator

Jessica Burdick is the Project Coordinator for the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) in the NEL lab. She previously worked as a graduate research assistant while obtaining her master’s in Human Development and Social Intervention at NYU. She also holds a B.A. in psychology from Michigan State University where she studied in the Cognitive Development Lab and Child Development Lab. Before coming to NYU, Jessica served as a research associate at Up2Us through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. 


Meriah DeJosephProject Coordinator

Meriah DeJoseph is a Project Coordinator for the Neuroscience and Education Lab at New York University. Prior to joining NEL, she worked as a research assistant in an EEG lab at Columbia University, investigating executive function in kindergarten children from a Bronx school post-completion of a mindfulness program. Her past research experience includes various projects that explored the neurophysiological and psychological effects of prevention programs in disadvantaged children. Meriah holds a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.



Michael Masucci, Research Assistant

Michael Masucci is a master’s student in his final semester of the General Psychology program at New York University. He received a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the George Washington University, where he concentrated on Visual Attention & Perception and Philosophy of Mind. Michael currently assists Drs. Cybele Raver and Emily Pressler with executing a pilot study to test measures of cognitive function for future use in CSRP. In addition, Michael is working under Dr. Edward Vessel at the NYU ArtLab, where he is completing his master’s thesis on the relationship between psychopathology, motivation, and aesthetic experience. 


Michael SulikAssistant Research Scientist

Michael Sulik received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Arizona State University, where his dissertation was supported by a fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health. He joined the Neuroscience and Education Lab in 2013 as an assistant research scientist. Michael investigates the relations among parenting and the development of self-regulation and behavior problems in early childhood, and his work has primarily focused on personal characteristics that could make children more or less susceptible to the influence of environmental influences on development. Michael is currently working with Dr. Clancy Blair on a study of toxic stress supported by the Administration for Children and Families and on the Family Life Project, a study of child development in the context of rural poverty. 

Publications (Selected)

Hagan, M. J.,Sulik, M. J., & Lieberman, A. F. (2015). Traumatic life events and psychopathology in a high risk, ethnically diverse sample of young children: A person-centered approach. Journal ofAbnormalChildPsychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10802-015-0078-8 Download PDF

Blair, C., Sulik, M. , Willoughby, M., Mills-Koonce, R., Petrill, S., Bartlett, C., Greenberg, M., & The Family Life Project Investigators (2015). Catechol-o-methyltransferase val158met polymorphism interacts with early experience to predict executive functions in early childhood. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/dev.21332 Download PDF

Sulik, M. J. , Blair, C., Mills-Koonce, R., Berry, D., Greenberg, M., & The Family Life Project Investigators. (2015). Parenting and the development of externalizing behavior problems: Longitudinal mediation through executive function. ChildDevelopment. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/cdev.12386 Download PDF

Sulik, M.J., Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T.L., & Silva, K.M. (2015). Associations between respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) reactivity and efortful control in preschool-age children. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/dev.21315 Download PDF

Li, Y., Sulik, M.J. , Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T.L., Lemery-Chalfant, K., Stover, D.A., & Verrelli, B.C. (2015). Predicting childhood efortful control from interactions between early parenting quality and children’s SLC6A3 gene haplotypes. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. 10.1017/S0954579415000383 Download PDF

Sulik, M. J., Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., Lemery-Chalfant, K., Swann, G., Silva, K. M., . . . Verrelli, B. C. (2015). Interactions between COMT, parenting quality, and sex predict children’s internalizing symptoms and inhibitory control: Evidence for diferential susceptibility.Development and Psychopathology, 27, 709–723. doi:10.1017/S0954579414000807 Download PDF

Sulik, M. J., Eisenberg, N., Silva, K. M., Spinrad, T. L., & Kupfer, A. (2013). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, shyness, and effortful control in preschool-age children. Biological Psychology, 92(2), 241–248. Download PDF

Sulik, M. J., Eisenberg, N., Lemery-Chalfant, K., Spinrad, T. L., Silva, K. M., Eggum, N. D.,  . . . Verrelli, B. C. (2012). Interactions between serotonin transporter gene haplotypes and quality of mothers’ parenting predict the development of children’s noncompliance. Developmental Psychology, 48, 740–754. Download PDF

Eisenberg, N., Sulik, M. J., Spinrad, T. L., Edwards, A., Eggum, N. D., Liew, J., . . . Hart, D. (2012). Diferential susceptibility and the early development of aggression: Interactive efects of respiratory sinus arrhythmia and environmental quality. Developmental Psychology, 48, 755–768. doi:10.1037/a0026518 Download PDF

Sulik, M. J., Huerta, S., Zerr, A. A., Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., Valiente, C.,  . . . Taylor, H. B. (2010). The factor structure of effortful control and measurement invariance across ethnicity and sex in a high-risk sample. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 32, 8–22. Download PDF




Paula Daneri, Doctoral Student

Paula Daneri is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at New York University. She received her B. A. in Psychology from Duke University. Her research focuses on cognitive and language development in early childhood. She is particularly interested in dual language learners’ early executive function development. She currently works on the Tools ELL and the Tools K projects with Dr. Clancy Blair.



Eric FinegoodDoctoral Student

Eric Finegood is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program at NYU Steinhardt.  Broadly, his research interests are in exploring the psychobiological relationship between context and neural development in parents and their children.  Particularly, he is interested in the interface of biology and environment as it shapes parenting strategies and influences cognitive and social-emotional outcomes in children via stress physiological systems.  Before coming to New York, Eric received his BA at the program for Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science at the University of Michigan.  After graduating, he worked as a research technician in a neuroimaging laboratory at the University of Michigan’s Psychiatry Department, investigating functional brain changes in response to attachment-based parenting interventions provided to economically disadvantaged families.  Eric’s primary advisor at NYU is Dr. Clancy Blair.   



Rachel McKinnonDoctoral Student

Rachel McKinnon is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program at New York University. She received a bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University and a master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests are in self-regulation and  children's school readiness, especially in the context of economically disadvantaged children. She is particularly interested in the extent to which the social relationships children develop in the classroom setting (with peers and teachers) are related to self-regulation.


  Alyssa PintarDoctoral Student

Alyssa Pintar is a second-year doctoral student in the Psychological Development Program at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in the development of children’s coping: the dynamic between the socialization, and the child’s own organization, of developing self-regulatory skills to effortfully mitigate contexts of stress. In this vein, she is interested in how parents experiencing poverty-related stress perceive their child’s experiences of stress, in addition to their child’s capacity to effortfully mitigate stress. Alyssa received a bachelor of science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2012, double-majoring in Child Psychology and Art History. During her time in Minnesota, she worked as a research assistant in several labs, completing her undergraduate honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Megan Gunnar, as well as working in labs run by Dr.’s Stephanie Carlson, Philip Zelazo, and Ann Masten. Currently, she is finishing up an empirical manuscript investigating how effortful control protects against the influence of maternal depression on early anxiety symptoms, using data from the Family Life Project. 



Andy Ribner, Doctoral Student

Andy Ribner is a first year graduate student in the Psychological Development program at NYU Steinhardt. He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Educational Psychology and Learning Theory, Biology, and Psychology, and worked in the Cognitive Development Labs under Dr. Anna Shusterman. There, he did research on numerical and spatial development in 3-7 year olds and had a specific interest in individual differences in mathematical development across socioeconomic status. He plans to continue investigating early mathematical development across SES and its interplay with self-regulation.


  Brian Spitzer, Doctoral Student

Brian Spitzer is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in Applied Psychology. Most broadly, he is interested in how to shape adolescent behavior by studying the social forces that underlie motivation and learning. He believes in combining research from psychology and education to develop brief interventions that improve the course of a behavior over time. He received his B.A. in psychology and child development at California State University, Chico and went on to work at Stanford University to understand how students' beliefs about learning and school affect their motivation. Currently, he is working with his mentor, Dr. Joshua Aronson, studying the effects of elevation on cognitive ability and effort. Additionally, he is working with Dr. Clancy Blair to develop an intervention that teaches students that emotions can be effectively regulated. For Brian's full CV please click here.



Kat Adams, Doctoral Student

Kat Adams is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in how experience shapes children’s real-time cognitive and emotional processes, particularly in the context of social and environmental risk. A key aim of her research is to create and collaborate on innovative uses of technology and statistical methods for data collection and analysis. Kat graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in linguistics from UCLA in 2010. She joined NYU after four years as a lab manager and research coordinator at Stanford University.



Lainey ManosData Manager

Eleni Manos is the data manager for the Neuroscience and Education Lab at New York University. Prior to joining NEL, she worked as a graduate research assistant on the “Strengthening the Architecture for High Quality Universal Pre-K” study, while obtaining her master’s in Applied Psychology at NYU. Eleni has also held a position at the NYC Department of Education, where she trained Pre-K teachers from all five boroughs to conduct authentic assessment evaluations on pre-k students. Also, she has served as an intern at the Leadership Program in New York City, where she conducted analyses on intervention programs that were implemented in the most educationally and environmentally challenged public middle and high schools in NYC.


Bedrich VargasAssistant Researcher

Bedrich Vargas has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the City University of New York, with concentrations in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology, and Hispanic Languages and Literatures. As early as the age of nine, Bedrich has been a teacher or mentor, in various roles. Since early in his career, he has made it his mission to help the underprivileged communities of New York City. His research interests predominantly stem from his own personal and professional experiences, including his work with the New York City Department of Education. As a bilingual public school teacher, Bedrich always recognized the importance of sociological inquiry, in transforming our communities, our country, and the world. Prior to working at the Neuroscience and Education Lab, he collaborated with the US Department of Education, on a national study that focused on the effects of best teaching practices.


Lara Kyriakou, Project Recruiter/Coordinator

Lara Kyriakou is the Project Recruiter for the New Father and Mothers Study.  Her previous research experience includes the Making Pre-K Count Study, which is examining emerging math curriculum for pre-school students, as well as a primary care-based study at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia exploring the effectiveness of development screenings for infants and toddlers.  Her research interests include ways to maximize healthy development during the first three years of life, especially within marginalized communities.  Lara is also interested in examining and creating strength-based practices with which to empower parents and families who live in under-resourced communities and have high exposure to trauma. Lara holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University and a M.S. Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies of Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania. 


Stephen BrarenDoctoral Student

Stephen Braren is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at NYU Steinhardt. Broadly, he seeks to better understand how social and biological factors contribute to learning and cognitive development, particularly within the context of stress and poverty. Currently, in the Neuroscience and Education Lab, he is examining how neural, inflammatory, and endocrine biomarkers associated with early life adversity interact with executive function. Ultimately, he hopes to use this and other research to critically inform education and health policy, especially to improve outcomes for disadvantaged and underprivileged groups. Previously, he earned a BA in Psychology and Public Policy from Hunter College of the City University of New York where he worked with Dr. Peter Serrano researching the neurobiology of spatial learning and working memory. He has also participated in psychology and neuroscience research with Dr. Elizabeth Phelps at NYU, Dr. Jon Kaas at Vanderbilt University, and Dr. Eduardo Vianna at LaGuardia Community College.

Rosemarie Perry, Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Rosemarie Perry holds a B.S. degree from the University of Delaware in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine in Physiology and Neuroscience. As a Ph.D. student, she worked in the lab of Dr. Regina Sullivan, studying how exposure to early-life stress (particularly from an abusive caregiver) impacts the developing brain and behavior throughout the lifespan. She joined the Neuroscience and Education lab in 2016 as a postdoctoral research scientist. Her work has primarily focused on integrating human research related to the impact of poverty with a rodent model of “low resources”, which allows her to address research questions related to poverty and child outcome at multiple levels of analyses. Outside of the lab, Rosemarie is passionate about science communication to the public, and serves as Vice President and a frequent speaker for a nonprofit organization, Know Science Inc