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Staff

Principal Investigator


Charlie Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. Taylor is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego and the Director of the Positive Emotion & Anxiety Research Laboratory (PEARL). He received his B.Sc. in Psychology at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON, Canada) and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada). He has over 15 years of experience specializing in the assessment and treatment of anxiety and depression. Dr. Taylor directs an active program of clinical research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Brain and Behavior Foundation.



Post Doc


Amanda J. Khan, PhD

Dr. Khan is a licensed clinical psychologist and Postdoctoral Scholar working with Drs. Stein and Taylor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. Dr. Khan completed her clinical residency at the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVA) and a MIRECC advanced postdoctoral research fellowship in PTSD at the SFVA and Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. Dr. Khan's program of research aims to better understand how different types of trauma impact the onset, maintenance, and treatment of PTSD, depression/suicidality, and moral injury through multi-level factors (emotion regulation, biology, cultural context). Dr. Khan also has a passion for education on working with LGBTQ+ individuals and provides trainings and workshops on this topic to mental health professionals.



Doctoral Students


Samantha Hoffman

Sam is a second-year graduate student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology under Dr. Charles Taylor and Dr. Murray Stein. Her research interests are focused on identifying risk and resilience factors associated with mood, anxiety, and stress disorders following trauma, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder; and, how such associations can inform the development and optimization of interventions.




Maria Kryza-Lacombe

Maria is a PhD Candidate at the San Diego State University/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Her overarching research focus is clinical translation. To this end, she uses neuroimaging and neuropsychological tools to identify neural, cognitive, and emotional factors that promote well-being. She is currently examining these factors in adults with depression and/or anxiety under Charles Taylor's mentorship at UC San Diego, as well as in youth with varying levels of irritability under Jillian Lee Wiggins’ mentorship at San Diego State University. Her long-term goal is to contribute to mechanism-based prevention and intervention development to foster well-being and resilience across the lifespan.



Research Coordinators



Taylor Smith

Taylor R. Smith is a study coordinator at the Positive Emotion & Anxiety Research Laboratory. She graduated from the University of San Diego, California with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in mathematics. Taylor started as a student volunteer and now has been coordinating in the lab for over 4 years. She is a San Diego native and enjoys swimming in the ocean, rollerblading, and baking.




Kaitlin Latta

Kaitlin graduated from the University of California San Diego with a degree in Clinical Psychology. She started volunteering at PEARL as a research assistant in August of 2019. In October 2020, she began her role as a research associate/coordinator. After getting her B.S. in Clinical Psychology, she hopes to continue on to either a masters program in school psychology or pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to advance evidence-based treatments currently available for depression and bipolar disorder. She’s a passionate Trader Joe’s crew member, loves walking dogs when she can, and enjoys lifting weights to stay active.



Visiting Scholar


Soo-Hee Choi

Dr. Choi is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Seoul National University. She has been running an Anxiety/Panic/Phobia Clinic at Seoul National University Hospital. Dr. Choi received her M.D. and Ph.D. in Psychiatry from Yonsei University (Seoul, Republic of Korea). Her research interest is in delineating an integrative model of pathologic anxiety using functional neuroimaging and physiology.