Research Assistants

DSC_0570Christine Church, B.A. (hons)

Lab Coordinator

Christine graduated from Temple University, Philadelphia in 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology (honors) and a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience. Shortly after graduation, Christine immigrated to Canada and joined the Adolescent Health Lab in 2016. Currently, Christine is pursuing graduate studies in Occupational Therapy. As a future occupational therapist, she hopes to integrate aspects of mental health, health over the lifespan, adaptive mechanisms, and intervention science into her practice.

Emily Thornton

Research Assistant

Emily is currently completing her B.A. (Hons) in Psychology. Her honours thesis involved assessing the validity of a novel measure of implicit prosocial orientation. Additionally, Emily is the lab coordinator for the Helping and Happiness Lab, directed by Dr. Lara Aknin. In the future, Emily hopes to complete a graduate program in clinical psychology. Her research interests include developmental psychopathology, attachment, and prosociality.

Sherene Balanji

Research Assistant

Sherene will be completing her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology (honours) degree at Simon Fraser University in 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Shannon Zaitsoff, with her honours thesis focusing on the relationship between social media use and well-being in young people. Her research interests focus on the developmental period of adolescence and mental health during this stage, and she is looking forward to learning more about attachment-based interventions that address these concerns. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology in the hopes of building a career in which she can simultaneously utilize research and clinical practice to support the mental health of adolescents.


Tim James

Research Assistant

Tim is completing his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Simon Fraser University. His research interests include attachment, affect regulation, and developmental psychopathology, and he is looking forward to exploring these areas through the lens of attachment-based interventions. In the future, Tim hopes to complete a graduate program in clinical psychology, and apply both clinical practice and research to best support adolescent’s development.

Mari del Casal, B.A.

Senior Research Assistant


Mari completed his psychology degree at Simon Fraser University in 2017 and has been a member of the AHL since 2015. Additionally, Mari is the lab coordinator for the Supporting Relationships and Wellbeing Lab, directed by Dr. Yuthika Girme. His research interests focus on attachment theory, affect regulation, and child maltreatment. He hopes to pursue a mental-health related program at the intersection of clinical practice, research, and health policy in order to better support children’s development.