About Us

Dr. Anna Manelis

Lab Director

email: manelisa@upmc.edu

Personal Statement

Rachel Ragozzino

Research Specialist
Personal Statement

Rachel Ragozzino has a B.S in Applied Clinical Psychology and a M.A in Community Counseling.  Although she has spent much of her career providing mental health treatment to individuals with co-occurring disorders, she has had a keen interest in research.  In the ACE Lab she works as a Research Specialist where her main responsibilities are to complete psychological evaluations and implement recruitment and retention strategies. She has experience teaching, leading teams, and a publication regarding personality and chronic worry.  Rachel also has completed a thesis regarding social desirability and self-esteem. She is interested in the development of lifetime mood disorders and how to provide effective preventative care to individuals as young adults. Rachel plans to complete a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a focus in Cognitive Neuroscience. In her free time, Rachel enjoys kickboxing, kayaking, and cooking for her loved ones.

Skye Satz

Research Specialist
Personal Statement

Skye recently graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. She has been working with the ACE Lab since June of 2019 with a focus on Neuroimaging methods and procedures. Skye has plans to pursue a PhD in Cognitive or Clinical Neuroscience with the hopes of studying neurodegenerative diseases. Due to her own musical training, Skye has a special interest in exploring the role of music and musicianship regarding memory, anticipation, and other cognitive processes. Outside the lab, Skye enjoys trying out new recipes and working on challenging jigsaw puzzles.

Marie Schwalbe

Medical Student
Personal Statement

Marie Schwalbe has a degree in Engineering-Physics and Mechanical Engineering from Dartmouth College. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is a research assistant in the ACE lab. She hopes to continue working in research in the future in addition to being a clinician. At Dartmouth, Marie’s winter job was to teach snowboarding classes at the local ski resort and she still loves to hit the slopes when time allows! 

Justin Belko

Volunteer Research Assistant
Personal Statement

Justin has a background in Public Health and Psychology and recently graduated from Slippery Rock University. As he aims to pursue a master’s in cognitive psychology or neuroscience he is currently honing his professional competencies through assisting with research in the ACE lab. In his free time, Justin enjoys camping, hiking, and spending time in nature with friends.

Lab Alumni

David Baranger

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Personal Statement

David is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the ACE Lab. He completed his PhD in Neuroscience at Washington University in St Louis, where he worked with Dr. Ryan Bogdan and Dr. Deanna Barch. His dissertation was on the use of neural biomarkers to disentangle the causes and downstream consequences of alcohol use. David is interested in neurodevelopment as a mechanism that may influence the emergence of psychopathology, and in understanding how risk factors like trauma and genetic risk affect neurodevelopment. His work has so far focused on brain structure and reward processing, with an emphasis on better understanding the etiology of substance use and depression. Outside of work you can find him rock climbing, backpacking, and doting on his devon rex kitten Quentin.



Mora Lucero

Research Assistant – Volunteer
Personal Statement

Mora graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology and a minor in Education. Alongside volunteering as a research associate on the CLAP and PADI studies, she is working as a Milieu Therapist at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital on the Dual Diagnosis Unit. Her personal research interests include the role of reward in substance use disorders and investigating a sense of belonging or exclusion as a predictor of psychopathology. She aspires to enroll in a doctorate program in Clinical Psychology to become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. In her free time, Mora enjoys listening to music and discovering new restaurants around Pittsburgh.

Devin Kellar

First Experience in Research Student
Personal Statement

Devin Kellar  joined the ACE lab for the FER class to get experience with clinical neuroscience research. In the future, Devin hopes to continue researching brain disorders, particularly in children. Devin plans on pursuing a career pediatrics after graduating Pitt. Outside of school, he loves to play basketball and find books in the Carnegie Library.

Natalie “Nat” Bick

Graduate Student
Personal Statement

Natalie “Nat” Bick is a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering. She received her BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, where her research interests were focused in human movement and balance. She is now working at the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory and the ACE Laboratory to investigate the neural correlates of the relationship between balance and mental health. Outside of research, Nat is a part of the local spoken word poetry scene.

Dr. Joshua Manning

Post-Doctoral Scholar
Personal Statement

Joshua Manning has his PhD is in Cognitive Neuroscience. His interests include how brain structures and function are related to mood disorders. He is also interested in how preferences and decision-making are related mood disorders.