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We are a team of child psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists at the Center for Children and Families who are working together to better understand child anxiety. The EMU Study is led by Drs. Dana McMakin, Aaron Mattfeld and Jeremy Pettit. Many of us are also undergraduate and graduate students who are passionate about improving child and adolescent mental health!

Leadership

Dana McMakin, PhD

Dr. McMakin is an associate professor of clinical science and cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at FIU. She also holds a dual appointment at the Brain Institute in the Department of Neurology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Dr. McMakin has been conducting research studies with children and adolescents for nearly two decades. She uses tools such as PSG and MRI to better understand how sleep impacts mental health in childhood and adolescence. A key aim of this work is to improve treatments for children and adolescents who experience anxiety and/or depression.

Aaron Mattfeld, PhD

Dr. Mattfeld is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at FIU. Dr. Mattfeld leads several research studies of children and adolescents at FIU. Dr. Mattfeld uses tools such as MRI to understand how the brain supports learning and memory processes. He is interested in how these processes develop throughout the lifespan, but especially during childhood and adolescence. Dr. Mattfeld is excited to study how learning and memory processes contribute to child and adolescent anxiety. Aaron enjoys reading books with his kids and cooking.

Jeremy Pettit, PhD

Dr. Pettit is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at FIU. Additionally, Dr. Pettit is Director of the Child Anxiety and Phobia Program (CAPP), which provides treatment to children and adolescents who experience anxiety and depression. Dr. Pettit has been conducting research with children and adolescents for nearly 20 years. His research aims include the development and refinement of treatments for anxiety and depression to improve mental health outcomes throughout the lifespan.

Yasmin Rey, PhD

Dr. Rey is a research scientist in the Department of Psychology and is the Coordinator for the Child Anxiety and Phobia Program (CAPP) at FIU. Dr. Rey has expertise in child developmental psychopathology. As clinical coordinator for the EMU Study, Dr. Rey helps to determine whether families are a good fit for the study, and provides training and supervision to clinicians involved in the study. Yasmin enjoys cooking gourmet meals and baking goodies in her free time.

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Josefina Freitag, BA

Josefina Freitag is the research coordinator for the EMU Study. She helps coordinate all the study visits with families and the study sites. Josefina loves skiing! She grew up on the mountains making snowmen!

Philip Shumway, BA

Philip Shumway is a Project Coordinator for the EMU study. Philip is broadly interested in understanding how to improve outcomes for youth with anxiety and other disorders. Philip enjoys building and testing computers and tinkering with home audio equipment in his free time.

Graduate Students

  • Saima Akbar, BA

    Saima Akbar is a second-year doctoral student in Clinical Science at FIU. Saima is a bit of a Nintendo fan and is currently playing Animal Crossing and Breath of the Wild.

  • Logan Cummings, MS

    Logan Cummings is a third-year doctoral student in Clinical Science at FIU. In his free time, Logan enjoys walking by the water and searching for manatees.

  • Adam Kimbler, MS

    Adam is a fourth-year student in the Cognitive Neuroscience program at FIU. In his free time, Adam enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons and watching TikTok.

  • Vanessa Rivera, BA

    Vanessa is a first-year student in the Cognitive Neuroscience program at FIU. Vanessa loves singing. She was part of a children’s music band when she was 2 and recorded three music albums.

  • Nathan Sollenberger, MS

    Nathan Sollenberger is a third-year doctoral student in Clinical Science at FIU. On the weekends, Nathan likes working on his car and playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.

  • Carlos Yeguez, MS

    Carlos Yeguez is a fourth-year doctoral student in Clinical Science at FIU. In his free time, Carlos likes to do fun activities that involve his dog, including walking, going to dog parks and meeting new dogs.

Undergraduate Students

  • Luisa Bermeo

    Luisa is a fourth-year undergraduate student at FIU majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. In the future, she hopes to get into a Clinical Psychology PhD. program. Luisa enjoys drawing and painting.

Alumni

  • Guadalupe Patriarca, BA

    Guadalupe Patriarca is the research coordinator for the EMU Study. She helps coordinate all the study visits with families and the study sites. She will be a doctoral student in Clinical Science at FIU this fall. Guadalupe enjoys spending sunny days at the beach and spending rainy days watching movies.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the study, or would like to find out if your child might be eligible to participate, please submit your contact information through our contact form, call us at 305-348-5384, or email us at emu-study@fiu.edu.