SEA Lab Members

Ashley E. Mason, PhD

Laboratory Director
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Core Faculty, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
Ashley E. Mason joined UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in the Fall of 2013. Her research focuses on the biological and psychological experiences of reward-driven eating. To this end, she is conducting several studies focused on the assessment and treatment of compulsive overeating. Specifically, her current studies examine the effects of sugar consumption on subsequent eating behavior and cognitive processes; the roles of the endogenous opioid system in compulsive overeating; the implementation of, and long-term adherence to, a Ketogenic diet for Type 2 Diabetes; and mindful eating interventions targeting reductions in craving-related eating. She completed her Clinical Internship in Behavioral Medicine at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Arizona, and her undergraduate degrees at Northwestern University.

Rachel M. Radin, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Rachel M. Radin joined the SEA Lab in the spring of 2017. She is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, Center for Health and Community. Her research interests include clarifying the biopsychosocial processes that contribute to eating behavior and metabolic health in adults. She received an F32 (NRSA) from NCCIH to investigate the impact of a mindfulness intervention (SHINE trial) on stress-related eating and endocrine and autonomic profiles of stress reactivity. Rachel aims to develop integrative health interventions that reduce obesity-related health decline. She completed a PhD in Medical and Clinical Psychology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 2017 after completing a Pre-doctoral Internship in Pediatric Psychology at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital. She earned an MA in psychology in education from Columbia University and a BA in psychology from the George Washington University. 

Sarah Fisher, BA

Project Director
Sarah joined the SEA Lab in January of 2018. She received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Predictive Health from Emory University, where she studied topics such as meditation and memory, causes and consequences of the obesity epidemic, and the sociological “thin ideal.” Sarah served as a Senior Research Assistant on the BEE Study (Phase 1 and 2) for the SEA Lab and is currently working as Project Director for an exciting new pilot study that the lab will be launching in the summer of 2019.

Katya Guvva, BS

Senior Research Assistant
Before joining UCSF SEA Lab, Ekaterina had been working on Caregiver Attentional Awareness Study and on Mindful Training for Surgeons Study to examine the effects of acute stress on cognition. Additionally, she has been studying professional burnout and how Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction can mitigate its adverse effects. At the SEA Lab, Ekaterina is hoping to build her understanding of biological and behavioral experiences of eating to become a better physician in the future.  She is planning to work with underserved and neglected communities to increase their wellbeing through education, life style changes and nutrition.


Samantha Schleicher, BA


Predoctoral Scholar
Samantha joined the SEA Lab in June of 2016. Samantha graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual degree (BA) in Biochemistry and Psychology in the spring of 2016. At UCSF, Samantha works on the BEE and DELISH Studies. Sam is rejoining our lab after beginning her Medical Degree at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2017. Before beginning her second year, she is working with our team as a predoctoral research scholar.

Carlos Almeida, BA

At UCSF, Carlos programs cognitive and computer-based testing for research participants and analyzes data collected during task-based assessments. He is the lead programmer for the COGS and BEE Studies.

Key SEA Collaborators

Kirstin Aschbacher, PhD

Kirstin is passionate about the intersection of behavior change, biology, and data science, because there is so much exciting ground for innovation. Kirstin recently joined UCSF as an Associate Professor in Cardiology and Data Team Lead on the Health eHeart Digital Research Platform. She has worked as a Data Scientist in industry at the Silicon-Valley Start-up Jawbone, where she helped design, test, and analyze mini-interventions to help users make healthier behavior choices and lose weight. At UCSF, she partners with companies in the behavior change and lifestyle medicine space. Kirstin is Co-PI of the COGS study, she led the design and mathematical modeling of a measure showing that obese individuals pay more attention to food cues than lean individuals, particularly after drinking a sugary beverage. In the future, we will investigate whether this measure can predict which patients are most successful in losing weight.

Uku Vainik, PhD

Uku Vainik is a collaborator from across the border. He is currently a postdoc at Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada, and research fellow at University of Tartu, Estonia. Uku’s work seeks to understand the psychological phenotypes behind obesity by integrating methods from psychology, neuroimaging, and genetics. Uku collaborates with the SEA Lab in developing assessments of reward-related eating. He is a fan of coherent theories, big data, and the R programming language.

Laura Saslow, PhD

Laura Saslow, Ph.D., received her psychology bachelor’s degree with honors from Princeton University, her master’s degree in education and technology from Vanderbilt University, and her psychology doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and now as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan, Dr. Saslow has been examining the impact of a low-carbohydrate diet in adults with type 2 diabetes using in-person and online programs. Laura collaborates with the SEA Lab in the examination of how mindful eating can alter food cravings and dietary adherence in the context of low-carbohydrate diets.

SEA Lab Members who have waved goodbye and are onto their next adventures!

Hiba Abousleiman, BA

Project Director
Hiba joined the SEA Lab in January of 2017. She graduated from Villanova University in 2013 with a BA in Psychology and has been working in the fields of psychology, public health, and education since then. Hiba was drawn to the SEA Lab because she was interested in studying the various factors that impact food choices, including biological, psychological, social, or financial. She will be pursuing her Master of Public Health at Boston University starting in the fall of 2019, and she hopes to develop interventions and programs that encourage people to develop health-promoting eating habits.

Michael Cohn, PhD


Design & Technology Lead
Michael joined UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative medicine as a postdoc in 2008, and remained as a research consultant, programmer, statistician, designer, and employee wellness liaison until Winter 2016. He is now a researcher at Google and remains connected with UCSF through the SEA Lab. Michael’s work at UCSF focused on the effects of positive emotions in coping with chronic illness. He helped implement and evaluate the first online tests of Judith Moskowitz’s positive emotion skill training programs. He later worked with Ashley to develop PingQuest, a highly customizable mobile assessment platform for experience sampling research.

Nina Jhaveri, MBA 


Project Director
Nina graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007, and completed her MBA at the University of Chicago in 2013. At UCSF, Nina directed the ERN and COGS Study. Nina began earning a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the fall of 2016 at the University of Southern California.

Alison Hartman, BA


Project Director
Alison joined the SEA Lab in April of 2016. In the SEA Lab, Alison directed the BEE Study and was a Research Assistant on the COGS study. At the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions (AME) Center, she directed the Healthy Beverage Initiative Study. She served as the Assistant Executive Director for the UCSF Sugar, Stress, Environment, and Weight Center. Her research interests are in maternal mental health, obesity, eating disorders, and women’s reproductive health. She began earning her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Drexel University in the fall of 2018. 

Angela Wackerly, BA

Research Assistant
Angela joined the SEA Lab in April of 2016 and worked on the COGS Study. She was also a Research Associate in the UCSF AME lab. She also supported Dr. Alexandra Crosswell’s Caregivers and Attentional Awareness Pilot Study, managing recruitment, participate training, and data management. Angela’s research interest is how behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social, and biological factors influence each other to promote positive health outcomes and mental well-being. Outside of the lab, she is a fitness coach, helping people achieving their health goals through exercise.

Carmen Montagnon, BA

Research Assistant
Carmen graduated from Hamilton College in 2012. At UCSF, worked as a research assistant focused on our work on mindful eating and weight loss. Carmen began earning her MD in the summer of 2015 at Mayo Medical School.