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.

Michael Cohn, PhD

Design & Technology Lead
ga-headshot-crop1Michael 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 an independent user research consultant and remains connected with UCSF through the BEE 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.

Rachel Radin, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Rachel M. Radin joined the BEE 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. 

Alison Hartman, BA

Project Director
Ahartmanlison joined the UCSF Center for Health and Community in the Fall of 2015. In Spring 2015, she completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. She joined the BEE lab in April of 2016. In the BEE lab, Alison directs the BEE Study and is a Research Assistant on the COGS study. At the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions (AME) Center, she directs the Healthy Beverage Initiative Study. She serves 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.

Angela Wackerly, BA
Research Assistant
headshotaw_greenAngela joined the BEE Lab in April of 2016 and works on the COGS Study. She is also a Research Associate in the UCSF AME lab. She is also supporting 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.

Katya Guvva, BA

Research Assistant
Before joining UCSF BEE 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 BEE 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.

Hiba Abousleiman, BA

Study Coordinator
Hiba Abousleiman joined the BEE lab in January of 2017, and has been a member of the UCSF Center for Health and Community since February of 2016. She graduated from Villanova University in 2013 and has been working in the fields of psychology, public health, and education since then. Hiba is passionate about a variety of social justice issues, but her main research interests include food security, health education and promotion, and health policy.


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.

Sarah Fisher, BA

Research Assistant

Sarah joined the BEE lab in January of 2018 and is our newest member! She received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Predictive Health from Emory University. At Emory, she studied topics such as meditation and memory, causes and consequences of the obesity epidemic, and the sociological “thin ideal.” Sarah is also interested in stress and disordered eating, and is very excited to be focused on the BEE study as she continues to deepen her research interests.


Bee Key Collaborators

Kirstin Aschbacher, PhD

aschbacher_photo_2-cropKirstin 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.

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD

Jud Brewer is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry as well as the Director of Research at the UMass Medical School. He earned his MD and PhD (Immunology) at the Washington University School of Medicine, and his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Princeton. He completed a residency at Yale University. Jud collaborates with the BEE lab in the testing of Eat Right Now (ERN), a smartphone-delivered mindful eating interventions, which target weight-loss via reductions in craving-related eating. Check out his blog on the Huffington Post and one of his TED talks.

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 BEE 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 BEE lab in the examination of how mindful eating can alter food cravings and dietary adherence in the context of low-carbohydrate diets.

Bees who have buzzed on to the next thing!

Nina Jhaveri, MBA 

Project Director
nina-jhaveri-2Nina 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.

Samantha Schleicher, BA

Research Assistant
headshot3Samantha joined the BEE 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 ERN, BEE, and COGS Studies. She also works on the Healthy Beverage Initiative Study at the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions (AME) Center. Sam is beginning her Medical Degree at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2017. She continues to work with the BEE lab from afar.

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.