/ Lab Members
Beatrice Beebe, PhD | Lab Director
As a leading expert in the analysis of mother-infant interaction, Dr. Beatrice Beebe is a clinical professor of psychology at Columbia University Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department. She is faculty at several psychoanalytic institutes, and has a private practice for adults and mother-infant pairs. She is author or co-author of six books. Her work focuses on the mutual mother-infant bond and optimizing 4-month infant social development. Her studies examine; the roles of infant distress and maternal distress (such as depression and anxiety) on mother-infant communication; the effects of early mother-infant communication patterns on emerging infant attachment styles and infant cognition; the long-term continuity of communication and attachment styles from infancy to young adulthood.
Gavkhar Abdurokhmonova, M.S. | Project Coordinator
Born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Gavkhar received her BA combined with MA in Psychology from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia. As a primarily research oriented program, it laid the foundation for her interest in research in clinical psychology. Gavkhar's developing passion for psychology and her willingness to apply theory in practice motivated her to pursue a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University, Brooklyn. In her last year in the program, she joined Dr. Beebe's Communication Sciences Lab, where she loves working on the Mother Touch code and assisting in mother-infant interaction filmings. As a part of Dr. Beebe's research team, Gavkhar learned about the immense capacities of microanalysis in clinical research, which inspired her to consider it for her own research and clinical practice in the future. Gavkhar is interested to pursue a PhD in Clinical or Developmental Psychology. Outside of academia, she loves to play piano and learn foreign languages in order to explore diverse cultures and ethnicities.
Zoe Leaf | Lab Coordinator - People & Projects
Zoe received her BA in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University in May 2020, with a minor in Food Systems and Nutrition through the Environmental Studies department. At Tufts, she was involved in leadership with various child-centered community organizations and loved becoming acquainted with kids from all over Boston. Her prior research experience includes working at the Child Health Equity Research Lab and the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, both located at Tufts. Zoe is a born and raised New Yorker, and loves the city more than any place in the world, though she loved going on adventures to new cities when she studied abroad in London for a year. When she’s not working, Zoe loves to read, write, make art, run, cook, and spend time in nature. In the future, she would like to obtain her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and focus on treating children, adolescents, and young adults.
Ge Zhang | Research Assistant - Coder
Ge received her BA with double-majoring in Psychology and Creative Writing from Brandeis University. She completed her senior thesis on gender and stress response with the Biological Lab for health psychology while working there as a research assistant. To be more prepared for a Ph.D. program, Ge pursued advanced education and finished Developmental Psychology Master Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Now, she joins Dr. Beebe's Communication Science Lab as a research assistant and contributes to nonverbal communication's behavioral analysis. With a great passion for behavioral learning and data-driven research, she believes psychological research is a way to understand others and ourselves. One day, she hopes to discover something extraordinary about ordinary people and say something extraordinary with ordinary words.
Vesna Bozic, M.A. | Research Assistant - Coder
Vesna grew up in New York, and received her BA in Psychology from Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School in 2017. After college she attended The New School for Social Research, graduating with an MA in Psychology in 2019. While pursuing her MA Vesna was a research assistant for Dr. Miriam Steele and Dr. Howard Steele’s lab, The Center for Attachment Research. In January of 2020, Vesna joined Dr. Beatrice Beebe’s Communication Sciences Lab at Columbia University Medical Center. Vesna is interested in attachment styles and child development and hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Outside of academia she enjoys karaoke and Pilates.
Romola Hilerio, M.A. | Lab Coordinator - Media
Romola Hilerio received her MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and her BS from the College of Staten Island. During her time at TC, Romola completed the requirements to receive an advanced certificate for the Sexuality, Women, and Gender project with a special interest in maternal and reproductive well-being. Prior to joining Dr. Beebe’s lab, Romola interned at the Motherhood Center of New York where she acted as a co-facilitator in the PHP day program. Currently Romola is on the media team at Dr. Beebe’s lab and hopes that her lab experience with infant communication will supplement her growing knowledge of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders so she can work with mother/infant dyads in the future.
Alessandra García | Research Assistant – Coder
Alessandra has a bachelor degree from The City College of New York in Manhattan. Before that, she was working on Crisis Text Line as a online crisis counselor, providing free mental support and turning hot moments to a cool calm using techniques in empathetic listening. She joined Dr. Beebe's Communication Sciences Lab in 2019, where she takes part in consenting Spanish speaking mothers, as well as help film mother and babies interacting. Inside the lab, she also codes infant facial affect of four month babies. Alessandra plans on pursuing a Masters in school psychology focusing on mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. She loves spending time with family and friends, visiting new places, and listening to music in different languages.
Michaela De Filippis | Research Assistant – Coder
Born and raised in New York City, Michaela received her B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College in 2019. Prior to joining Dr. Beebe’s Lab, Michaela served as a research assistant to an Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Harvard Extension School, and recently presented the findings of her senior thesis at the Association for Psychological Sciences’ (APS) annual convention. Since her sophomore year, Michaela has been actively involved in developmental, clinical, and social psychology research. While at Vassar, she conducted developmental research at the College’s on-site laboratory school, Wimpfheimer Nursery; served as a research assistant to Dr. Abigail Baird in the Laboratory for Adolescent Science; and completed an optional, year-long senior empirical thesis exploring the potential of popular social media platforms (e.g. Instagram) for increasing young adults users’ mental health awareness and accessibility to mental health resources. Michaela has also completed diagnostic psychiatric evaluations of children and adolescents at NYU’s Child Study Center, and served as a paraprofessional behavioral specialist at Camp STAR, a summer treatment program for children with ADHD and Other Related Disorders. Michaela is interested in child and adolescent neurodevelopment and psychopathology, and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Michaela loves to bake, read non-fiction and poetry, and practice yoga.
Zachary Cagan | Research Assistant - Coder
Zachary is thrilled to be a part of Dr. Beebe's Communication Sciences Lab! Prior to joining the lab, Zack lived in Los Angeles working as an ensemble member of the 24th Street Theatre and as an educator, teaching enrichment courses in film at the primary level. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the Florida State University, studied physical comedy in London, and improvisation with Upright Citizens Brigade (LA). Areas of interest include non-verbal communication and how the caregiver-infant dyad informs development and treatment in children and adolescence. He is also interested in working with military veterans. Zack is currently pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate in Counseling and Psychology through UC: Berkeley. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, breathing less-polluted air, and spending time with his family and friends.
Xinyu (Lily) Wang | Research Assistant – Coder
Lily received her B.S. degree from Ohio State University, majored in Psychology, and minored in Global Public Health and Studio Art. During her undergraduate program, Lily worked for two years in the Childhood Mood Disorders Lab and the Attitude and Persuasion Lab at OSU as a research assistant. To have a better understanding of clinical psychology research and practice, Lily joined Dr. Beebe’s Lab and stared her study at Clinical Psychology Master’s Program at Teachers College, Columbia University simultaneously. She is interested in the social determinants of mental health outcomes and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Outside of academia, Lily enjoys drawing, painting, and fitness.
Emily Hynson | Research Assistant – Coder
Emily is from Fort Myers, FL, and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BS Honors in Psychology and a BS in Health Sciences. It was during her undergraduate career that she began to get involved with research and published her own undergraduate honors thesis. Emily joined the lab through Teachers College, Columbia University where she currently studies as a MA candidate. While at TC, she has focused her interest and population on the mother-infant dyad, antenatal, perinatal, and postpartum disorders, and global mental health. In addition, Emily is in the Pediatric Behavioral Health Integration Program at Montefiore working with parents and children in the primary care setting. She is also in the Global Mental Health Lab on a project working to implement IPT to mothers in Lebanon suffering from postpartum depression. Ultimately, Emily hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and focus her career on the mother-infant dyad.
Jane Lee | Research Assistant – Statistics and Coder
Jane received her Bachelor of Science in psychology and completed a minor in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota in Spring 2018. For the following two years, she worked as a full-time Research Assistant in research labs to learn more about severe psychopathology as well as child development. She assisted with the Human Connectome Project - Development study at the Institute of Child Development under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Thomas. In the summer of 2020, she enrolled into the Master’s in Psychology in Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also joined Dr. Beatrice Beebe’s Communication Sciences Lab as a Research Assistant to learn more about how mother-infant face-to-face communication, a significant part of early childhood experiences, plays a role in predicting future mother-infant attachment and psychopathology as late as young adulthood! Going forward, Jane wishes to pursue doctoral studies in clinical psychology to investigate how early life events and stressors predict or affect one’s developmental trajectory in adolescence and young adulthood.
Navin Rahman | Research Assistant – Coder
Navin Rahman is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Born and raised in Bangladesh, Navin completed her high school from United World College (UWC) of Hong Kong. After that she completed her undergraduate studies from Colorado College, CO, and worked as a financial analyst in Bangladesh for 5 years. During this time she has travelled extensively and developed a keen interest in human psychology from her cross cultural experiences and eventually bridged to psychology. She is interested in studying non-verbal communication through infant studies and hopes to be a practicing clinician in the future. In her free time Navin loves to read, meet new people and travel across borders.
Christina Markakis | Research Assistant – Media
Christina Markakis is a former Learning Experience Designer. She is a graduate of The King’s College, having received her Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. While working in the education system as a course and learning experience developer, Christina began to realize that her passion for understanding attachment theory, post traumatic stress disorder, and psychoanalytic practices could be better pursued within the field of psychology. She hopes to work as a clinical or developmental psychologist. Christina is a longtime resident of New York City, and currently calls Crown Heights, Brooklyn home. In her free time, she can be found walking Prospect Park and rearranging the art in her apartment with her roommates.
Jacob Goldberg | Research Assistant – Coder
Jacob left New York in 2014 to study English Literature and philosophy at McGill University in Montreal. While there, he wrote stories and volunteered on the palliative care ward at the Jewish General Hospital, where he offered emotional support to the patients and their families. This work inspired him to come back to America to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. As he was familiarizing himself with the academic landscape back home, he got a job as a bookseller, where one day, a customer came in, and, during their conversation, mentioned to him Dr. Beatrice Beebe's research. Jacob imagined working with her would be fascinating, and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had an opening in her lab. Since joining the team in August 2020, he has thoroughly enjoyed learning from Dr. Beebe about mother-infant nonverbal communication, and looks forward to continuing his work as a mother-gaze coder.
Hiji Nam | Research Assistant - Coder
Hiji Nam joins Dr. Beebe’s lab as a research assistant focusing on infant facial affect and nonverbal communication within the mother-infant dyad. Hiji currently studies the history of sexuality, psychoanalysis, and science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and is interested in engaging a politics of social reproduction and bioethics with clinical research and treatment. Born in Seoul, she is trilingual in English, German, and Korean, and has worked most of her career as a writer and editor in New York arts and publishing. She is Associate Editor at Primary Information, a nonprofit publisher of artists’ books and writings, and was previously an editor at Artforum.
Lily Steinman | Research Assistant - People & Projects
Lily is currently pursuing her MA in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her BA in Psychological Science and Sociology at Colgate University in May 2020, completing her honors thesis on parental political orientation and the development of children’s moral beliefs. Apart from joining the People and Projects team in Dr. Beebe’s Lab, Lily is also a research assistant in Dr. Farber’s Positive Regard lab. Previously, Lily has worked with adolescents with selective mutism and children with behavioral difficulties at the Child Mind Institute’s summer program, but she found her true love of working and building relationships with children during her most recent role as a preschool teacher. Her research interests are in attachment relationships and psychodynamic therapy for children, and she hopes to pursue doctoral training in Clinical Psychology and ultimately work clinically with children, adolescents, and their families.
Ethan Isenman | Research Assistant - Coder
Ethan joined Dr. Beebe’s Communication Sciences Lab in September 2021 after graduating from Tufts University with a BA in Philosophy and a double minor in History and Political Science. While at Tufts, he served as a hot-line worker for a student-run, anonymous peer-to-peer hotline. He is the child of two psychoanalysts, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in order to become a practicing clinician. In the lab, Ethan focuses on coding mother-facial affect through video microanalysis. He is also a research assistant for the Higgins Lab, and works for a small tech start-up.
Yiwen Gu | Research Assistant - Coder
Yiwen received her B.S. degree from Syracuse University, majoring in Psychology, Philosophy, and Communication and Science Disorder. At Syracuse, she was involved in a Relationship and well-being lab for three years focusing on attachment orientation and support process within romantic relationships. In order to trace down the roots of attachment, she joined Dr. Beebe’s Lab and began her study with the Clinical Psychology Master’s Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She wishes to have a deeper understanding of the mechanism of the attachment working model within a relationship. Outside of work and study, she likes to have fun.