Adolescent Health Lab

Graduate Students

Carlos Sierra, M.A.

Carlos completed his BA (Hons) at the University of Western Ontario in May 2008, with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. After completing his undergraduate degrees, Carlos joined the Psychotherapy Program at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). As a research technician, Carlos participated in numerous research projects all of which revolved around the investigation of the processes underlying effective psychotherapies. During his time at UBC Carlos also developed a deep interest in the study of the gendered experiences of mental health problems.

Currently, Carlos is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at Simon Fraser University. As a member of the Adolescent Health Laboratory, Carlos’ research program focuses on investigating the mechanism by which transactional change occurs from parents to children and, in particular, the gendered mechanisms by which this transaction between parents and children occurs during adolescence. A Vanier Scholar, Carlos’ research program is funded by the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Consistent with Carlos’ research program, Carlos’s Master thesis focused on investigating the effectiveness of an attachment-based parenting program (Connect) designed for parent of youth experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties. Unique to this project was the focus on investigating the effectiveness of this program for youth and the participating mothers and fathers. This research was funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Master’s Award.

Lin BaoLin Bao, M.A.


Julia Vernon, M.A.

Julia earned her BA in Psychology and International Development Studies at McGill University in 2013. After graduation, she worked at the HIV Prevention Lab in the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University for five years, where she coordinated multiple research studies, including clinical trials evaluating individual and group-based motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy treatment protocols. Julia joined the Adolescent Health Lab in September 2018 as a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program. She looks forward to developing her clinical and research skills and contributing to the literature on adverse childhood experiences, internalizing symptoms, resilience, and attachment.

Sherene Balanji, B.A. (Hons)

Sherene earned her BA in Psychology at Simon Fraser University in 2020 and began her MA in Clinical Child Psychology in 2021. She has longstanding interest in adolescent mental health which began as a focused interest on disordered eating but has since expanded to reflect comorbidity and the importance of transdiagnostic protective factors like secure attachment and emotion regulation. Sherene’s MA thesis will be employing a network analysis to model the relationship between symptoms of anxiety, depression, attachment, and emotion regulation to better understand how comorbidity emerges in teens


Rajan Hayre, M.A.

Katherine O’Donnell, M.Sc., PhD

Antonia Dangaltcheva, M.A., PhD

Stephanie Craig, M.A., PhD

Tania Bartolo, M.A., PhD