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Staff Alumni

Jamie Watt, BSN

Jamie received her BSN from Duquesne University in May 2017.  After graduation, Jamie worked for two years as a bedside nurse on a cardiothoracic surgery unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside, and more recently she has worked as a travel nurse in Ohio and the Triangle area.  As a registered nurse, Jamie brings significant clinical experience and immense passion for her work.  She is interested in how clinical research on addiction can translate to improving patient care outcomes and quality of life.  Jamie also has future aspirations of obtaining a psychiatric mental health Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree.

 


Katie Sullivan, BA

Katie graduated in May of 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience and Public Relations. In her time at UNC, she worked as a research assistant for the Mind Perception and Morality lab studying human behavior and moral judgments. She is interested in how substance abuse influences cognitive functioning, behavior, and decision-making. Katie joined the HARP lab to gain experience in patient-oriented research and neuropsychological assessment.

 

 

 


Taylor Colbeck, BS

Taylor Colbeck received her BS in Biomedical Science from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI in May 2018. For the past 5 years, prior to moving to North Carolina, Taylor worked on a cardiac and vascular care unit at the Meijer Heart Center in downtown Grand Rapids. During this time, she gained insight and experience on critical care practices, cardiac interventions, as well as direct patient care. She was eager to join the clinical research side of health care and to continue helping improve the well-being of others in a research capacity. Taylor has found a new passion for learning about those affected by HIV/AIDS and was eager to contribute to HARP’s research.

 


Crissi Rainer, MSc

Crissi received her MS in Global Health from Duke University in May 2018. While at Duke University, Crissi collaborated on multiple research projects focused on HIV education and HIV testing in children and adolescents. Crissi’s thesis examined the acceptability and feasibility of a novel HIV testing strategy in children and adolescents in Harare, Zimbabwe. Before attending Duke University, Crissi served as a Teach for America Corps Member and taught middle school science in High Point, North Carolina. Additionally, Crissi has over ten years of experience in healthcare as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. She joined HARP to gain clinical research experience focusing on the intersection of HIV and additions.

 


Taylor Ikner, BA

Taylor graduated with distinction in May of 2018 from Duke University with a BA in psychology and a minor in chemistry. During his time at Duke, Taylor worked as a research assistant for the medical cognition laboratory in the psychology and neuroscience department. He worked under Dr. Ruth Day, where he studied how people find, remember, and use medical information. Additionally, he worked as a Costanzo Fellow where he worked under Dr. Angela Vieth, Dr. Bridgette Hard, and Dr. Makeba Wilbourn, as a psychology teaching assistant. Taylor is interested in how substance abuse affects cognition and potential interventions to bolster cognition. He joined HARP to gain more experience with patient-oriented research prior to applying to medical school where he has aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon.

 


Rimel Mwamba, BA

Rimel graduated in May of 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a dual enrollment at Duke University through the Robertson Scholars Program. She obtained a BA in Global Studies with a minor in Chemistry and a Human Development Certificate. During her time at UNC and Duke, Rimel participated in applied learning experiences in North Carolina, Mississippi, Senegal, Morocco, South Africa and Kenya—focusing on the impact of socio-behavioral factors on health outcomes. After graduation, Rimel joined the Duke University School of Medicine as a Research Administration Fellow. She later joined the Duke Global Health Institute as an NIH Minority Trainee on an R21 grant focused on implementing an HIV stigma reduction intervention for pregnant and postpartum women in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Rimel is interested in understanding the role that HIV has on cognition, especially paired with comorbidities such as substance abuse. As an aspiring infectious diseases physician, Rimel joined HARP to gain exposure to neurocognitive HIV research prior to to medical school.

 


Jeremiah Hartsock, BA

Jeremiah graduated in May of 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and minors in Music and Statistics and Analytics. During his time at UNC, Jeremiah worked as a research assistant for the Anxiety and Stress Lab under Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz, and he assisted in the growth of Dr. Eric Youngstrom’s Helping Give Away Psychological Science (HGAPS) project. Jeremiah joined HARP in order to gain experience with a clinical population before applying to graduate school. He is interested in studying evidence-based assessment and the neurocognitive mechanisms of depression and anxiety in youth and adolescents.

 


Brittany Tart, BA

Brittany graduated in May of 2017 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in Spanish for the Medical Health Professions. During her time at UNC, she worked as an office assistant in the Department of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism, where she continued to work after she graduated as a primary research coordinator for a clinical trial focused on children with PKU. She joined HARP in May of 2018 as a full time clinical research specialist, looking for experience with face-to-face interaction with participants, especially in the addiction and HIV population. She is interested in the role that substance abuse plays with the risk of transmitting HIV, and how substance abuse and HIV can impact other aspects of individuals’ lives.

 


Lisa Conze, MS, LPCA, NCC

Lisa received her Masters of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Spring 2017 and holds a license as a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate. During her graduate program, Lisa spent a year and a half interning at Duke Pain Clinic where she had the opportunity to provide psychotherapy to patients with chronic pain as well as participate in phase 4 research with her clinical supervisors. Duke Pain Clinic was where Lisa was able to not only participate in research but became a published author (Chapter 24 in a submitted text book called African American Health) under the mentorship of a team of clinical psychologist and other leading academic researchers who are dedicated advocates in healthcare disparities. Lisa has also had the great opportunity to work as a lead graduate assistant with the BE SAFE (Be a Substance Abuse and AIDS Free Environment) grant during graduate school, and worked to improve her community by providing psychoeducation on the progression of HIV/AIDS in underrepresented communities. Lisa worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Duke University School of Medicine in the division of Infectious Diseases, primarily working on clinical trials projects focusing on HIV infected persons.

 


Sara Moye, BA

Sara graduated in May of 2017 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Anthropology. In her time at UNC, Sara worked as a research assistant on the Electronic Study of Affect Regulation in the Center for Developmental Studies. She became interested in substance use and eating disorders after working on this study and interacting with its participants. Sara joined HARP in January of 2017 to gain experience with patient-oriented research in mental health and addictions. She is interested in the interplay between depression and other psychiatric disorders, including substance use disorders.

 


Olivia Horton, BA

Olivia received her BA in Psychology and Exercise and Sports Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2016. During her senior year, she was awarded the WomenNC CSW Fellowship, and dedicated her project to increasing mental health care access in rural areas of North Carolina using telehealth. She joined HARP in June of 2016 as a full time Clinical Trials Assistant to gain patient-oriented experience in mental health and addictions research. Her research interests are in both mental health and addictions, specifically in gender differences and women’s mental health, and psychosocial risk factors that lead to psychopathology and addiction.

 


Halie Ellinger, BA

Halie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2017 with a BA in Psychology and Exercise and Sport Science and a minor in Medical Anthropology. While at UNC, she worked as a research assistant for the Sheeran lab studying health behavior interventions with the Linberger Cancer Center. She is interested in mental health care among vulnerable populations, specifically drug users and individuals with developmental disabilities. Halie is eager to gain experience in patient-oriented research with HARP.

 

 


Nichole DiBenedetto, BS

Nichole received her B.S. in Biology from Iona College in 2011. After graduation, she worked for a diagnostic healthcare manufacturing company where she assisted in the development of a rapid, diagnostic instrument to detect viral infections like Influenza and C. difficile. She then worked for a large chemical manufacturer in their research and development department for polyamide resins. She joined HARP in October of 2015 as a full time Clinical Trials Assistant to gain experience in patient-oriented research. Her research interests are in public health with a focus on addiction, mental health, and women and children’s health. She plans to pursue graduate degree in Public Health in the future.

 


Prasana Khatiwoda, MBBS, MSc

Prasana received her MS in Global Health from Duke Global Health Institute in May 2016. She is originally from Nepal, where she earned her medical degree and practiced as an Ob/Gyn for a while. Prasana is passionate about policy and structural changes that can improve health outcomes among vulnerable populations, particularly drug users. Her past research experiences have focused on drug addiction and treatment approaches, both in Nepal and in the US. She is also a passionate Harm Reduction advocate and has worked with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC).

 


Elizabeth Jones, BA

Elizabeth worked at HARP in 2016 as a full-time Clinical Trials Assistant. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed her honors thesis on the topic of polysubstance use and distress tolerance. After graduation, she spent a year working as a research assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, before seeking to further her experiences in addiction science at Duke. Her research interests within addictions include gender differences, treatment development, and treatment outcomes.

 


Puja Patel, BA

Puja joined the lab in 2014 as a full-time clinical trials assistant. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.  Her research interests include family based intervention for HIV prevention. After living in India for 10 years, she gained interest in culturally sensitive treatment methods for mental health issues. While in the lab, she worked on projects IMPACT, MIND, and DECIDE, gaining skills in the conduct of randomized clinical trials and MRI scans.  In Fall 2016, Puja enrolled in the Master of Science in Global Health program at Duke.

 


Daniella Cordero, BS

Daniella joined the lab in 2012 as an undergraduate research assistant. She was subsequently awarded a NIDA diversity supplement to one of Dr. Meade’s grants to support her training in data analysis, ethical research practices, scientific writing, and presentation skills. In 2013, Daniella spent the summer in Cape Town working at the Matrix Drug Rehabilitation Centers in the townships of Tafelsig and Delft, with the support of DukeEngage Independent Project funding. During her senior year, Daniella completed an honors thesis entitled, White Matter Abnormalities in HIV infection and cocaine dependence: a diffusion tensor imaging study. After earning her BS in Neuroscience in May 2014, Daniella joined the lab as a full-time clinical trials assistant. She served as a research assistant on several domestic projects  and conducts MRI data analyses, with a particular focus on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and task-evoked fMRI analyses. She served on the Duke Medicine Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisory Council and is passionate about interdisciplinary research and clinical care that address intersecting social factors to improve health outcomes. In particular, her interests include global health, LGBTQIA health, women’s health, HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment, and drug addiction. Ultimately Daniella plans to attend medical school and work as a trans* health provider and researcher.

 


Brandon Metra, BS

Brandon joined the lab in 2012 as an undergraduate research assistant. His initial work involved assisting in data analysis for neurocognitive batteries and MRI tasks, for which he gained an Undergraduate Research Support (URS) grant in the fall of 2012. He also conducted research in Tanzania for the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) in the summer of 2012. In his senior year, he completed an MRI-focused honors thesis titled “HIV-Associated Functional Activation in Delay Discounting in a Cocaine-Using Sample”. He graduated from Duke with a BS in Neuroscience in May 2013, as well as a certificate in Global Health studies and a minor in Biology. After graduating, he continued in the Meade Lab as a full-time clinical trials assistant and data analyst. He was a study coordinator for several domestic projects; his roles focused on the development, programming, and coordination of task-evoked functional MRI protocol in Projects Reloaded and DECIDE. In fall 2014, he moved to Gainesville, Florida, to pursue an MD at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He is currently a second-year medical student at UF, working on research projects in neurology, and hopes to eventually pursue a career in academic medicine. He is grateful to Dr. Meade and his colleagues in the lab for their immense support and encouragement throughout his years at Duke.

 


Lisa Bevilacqua, BS

Lisa joined the lab in 2010 after graduating from Duke with a major in Psychology and minors in Chemistry and African and African American studies. During her 2 years as the Research Assistant for the Meade lab, Lisa coordinated study activities for Project MANIC and Project Brain: Reloaded, conducting participant interviews, neuropsych testing, and fMRI scans and assisting with data management and analysis. She co-authored two manuscripts with Dr. Meade. Lisa completed her post-baccalaureate studies at The University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and is currently a medical student at Stony Brook University. In medical school, she has continued to pursue her interest in research, working on both basic and clinical research projects in oncology. She was selected to participate in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Summer Fellows Program in the summer after her first year, where she will focus on depression in adult survivors of cancer. In addition, Lisa is involved in the curriculum and admissions committees at Stony Brook. Ultimately, Lisa hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, where she can balance her love of research with the joy of working directly with patients.

 


Mary Key, MPH

Mary served as Dr. Meade’s first lab assistant after graduating from Duke in 2009 with a degree in Women’s Studies, a minor in Chemistry, and a Certificate in the Study of Ethics. Mary’s undergraduate experience as an intern at the Duke Addictions Program and interest in neuropsychiatry made her an ideal fit for the lab. Mary assisted in initiating Project Brain and Project MANIC as Dr. Meade transitioned her existing studies from Harvard’s McLean Hospital to the Duke Global Health Institute. Dr. Meade continued to mentor Mary during her graduate training, and Mary co-authored two publications from the research studies she coordinated while in Dr. Meade’s lab. In 2012, Mary received her MPH from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Graduate Certificate in Global Health. Her research continues to focus on women, substance abuse, and infectious diseases. Mary greatly appreciates Dr. Meade’s mentorship as a young professional in social science.

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