Scientific FIndings, Musings, and Exploratory pieces written by members of the lab
Did you know 9/8-9/14 marks suicide prevention week in the United States? Take a minute to read this week’s poignant Said & Dunn post by lab member Yiwen Zhu, who describes her experience as a Crisis Counselor with Crisis Text Line and how this experience informs her research in suicide prevention.
By: Yiwen Zhu
Did you know that four out of every five women report experiencing some type of sexual violence in their lifetime, whether sexual harassment or assault? In 2017, the #MeToo movement worked to bring the issue of sexual violence to light, in an effort to reduce stigma, and ultimately build a community around sexual violence prevention. In this week’s Said & Dunn post, Olivia Sterns reflects on her research with #MeToo and shares how the success of this movement can be applied to stigma prevention with mental illness.
By: Liv Sterns
Before we take off the month of August for Said & Dunn, we decided to revisit our post about how members of the lab spend summer. Take a peek at the post for which songs, books, ice cream flavors, and traditions make it feel like summer for current Dunn lab members.
Interested in learning how to get the most out of your research internship? Check out this week’s Said & Dunn post to read some tips and reflections from our interns Krista and Clara. Spoiler: ask lots of questions, set goals, and stay curious!
We are excited to welcome 3 new people to our lab: Krista Caasi, Emma Glickman, and Liv Sterns. Check out this week’s Said & Dunn post to find out more and learn what exciting things they will be tackling in the lab.
In this post, we hear from a Dunn Lab Undergraduate Student, Kristina Jacobsson. Kristina is a rising Junior at Harvard College concentrating in History of Science with a sub-field in Psychology. Before joining the lab, she interned with The Global Bioethics Organization, where she studied and helped to educate the public on bioethics. Kristina is passionate about issues in children’s health, and particularly how these issues can impact people into adulthood. Kristina shares highlights from her recent trip to the California State Archives where she analyzed historical records on the institutionalization, treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental illness in the 20thcentury. With this post, Kristina hopes to shed light on the importance of understanding the science and society of our past to improve the way we diagnose and treat mental illness today and in the future.
In this week’s Said & Dunn post, we welcome 3 new members to our administrative team, Tannu Singh, Natalie Harrington, and Kenzie Rzonca. Check out this post to find out more about our new team members, what they will be working on in the lab, and their proudest accomplishments to date!
In this Said & Dunn two-part series, we honor the life of Anthony Bourdain by raising awareness about the hidden lives of workers in the restaurant industry. In our first installment, we highlighted the unfortunate truth of suicide, substance misuse, and mental illness in the restaurant industry, and interviewed LyAnna Sanabria, lead bartender at Chaval in Portland, Maine, about her personal struggles with addiction. Here in this second installment, we sit down with Jen Trebino Wyllie, a 20-year native to the world of restaurants and hospitality. Jen shares her interactions with Bourdain, her experiences in the industry, and her choice to focus on her happiness.
This year for lab retreat, our team ventured up north to Erin’s hometown of Portland, Maine. With only half of us having been to Portland before, the team was excited to explore, bond, eat, and set short- and long-term goals for our current projects. Check out this travel blog for a look into what being a Dunn Lab member entails, what makes our lab special, and our favorite Portland memories.
In this week’s post, we focus on recent work by Dr. Karmel Choi, a postdoc collaborator in the Dunn Lab, who studies the protective role of physical activity for depression. As summarized below, Karmel recently published a research study looking at exercise as a way to prevent depression. However, we also know that exercise can help people who may already experience depression. To learn more about how exercise can help in preventing depression and reducing its symptoms, check out our thoughts below.
In this Said & Dunn two-part series, we honor the life of Anthony Bourdain by raising awareness about the hidden lives of workers in the restaurant industry. Here in this first installment, we sit down with LyAnna Sanabria, a decade-long veteran of the industry. LyAnna is currently the lead bartender at Chaval in Portland, Maine. In this Q&A, LyAnna opens-up about her personal struggles with addiction and the mental health secrets of the industry. We hope this post challenges you to think about the struggles those in the restaurant industry face and inspires you to be kinder each and every time you dine out from now on. We also hope it continues the conversation to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health.
This week, we sat down with Dr. Jaimie Gradus, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. Jaimie is a psychiatric epidemiologist studying the longitudinal effects of trauma and risk for suicide primarily using data from the Danish national healthcare and social registries.
We are excited to welcome a new undergrad to The Dunn Lab, Clara Parsons, from Georgetown University! Check out Clara’s Spotlight On in this week’s Said and Dunn post to learn more. Spoiler, here’s her favorite quote: “A woman who knows what she brings to the table is not afraid to eat alone.”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a time each year when researchers, clinicians, and advocates help to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and give a platform to advocacy groups who are working to make a difference in the field of mental health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we decided to raise awareness about postpartum depression, which is a mental health issue that affects about one in every five new moms worldwide. In this week’s post, we focus on highlighting what employers can do to help moms who are struggling with postpartum depression. The following post is reposted from Carole Mendoza’s original post on the Mental Health America Blog.
Dunn Lab member Olivia Pickett wants you to close your eyes, focus on your breath and silence your mind. And then read this Said and Dunn blog post where she highlights the benefits of mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your everyday routine.
Can we use DNA methylation patterns to predict risk for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders? That’s just one of the many questions our new Post Doc, Alex Lussier, is asking. Check out his Spotlight On in this Said and Dunn post to learn more about the work he will be tackling with epigenetics and big data for a project supported by One Mind.
Each year, April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month. However, throughout the year, thousands of researchers, social workers, policy makers, advocates, and survivors across the United States strive to help children suffering from or at risk of child abuse. When it comes to child abuse prevention, the primary goal is to create and implement effective strategies to stop child abuse from ever occurring. As a research group that studies the effects of early life adversities on later mental health risk, we wanted to dedicate this Said and Dunn post to raise awareness and encourage prevention efforts for child abuse and neglect.
Looking for a new mentor to help you achieve your professional goals? This week’s Said & Dunn guest blogger Pallavi Eswara, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Penn State University and member of the graduate career consortium, shares tips on choosing a mentor that is right for you.
By: Pallavi Eswara
I decided to get in the hot seat for our first installment of Ask Me Anything, a new feature on our Said and Dunn blog where we’ll ask scientist to share their triumphs, disasters, expertise, and advice. With this one, you’ll hear about working in the field of mental health, get advice for early career researchers, and learn a secret about imposter syndrome. Are you interested in being featured in our next post? Or want to recommend someone you want to hear from? Send us a message.
Thinking of furthering your education in a graduate program? That most likely involves taking a standardized test such as the MCAT, GRE or GMAT. Prepping for standardized tests is easy. Said no one ever. Janine and Olivia, two of our research coordinators, share their top 10 tips to tackling the tests they learned during their journeys with standardized testing in this week’s Said & Dunn post.
This week’s Said and Dunn post brings to light an important recent report from Pew Research Center showing that 70% of teens see depression and anxiety as major issues among their peers. What may be most surprising is that this report showed that these mental health issues were not specific to certain demographic groups, but rather most teens – regardless of their gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc – reported depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers. We are joined by Kelly Davis, Director of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services at Mental Health America, who discusses the report and shares how we can better support youth.
“Self-promotion is not self-serving, but instead a service to others.” This week’s Said and Dunn post features Kim Meninger, MBA, an executive and career development coach, who shares tips on how to accelerate your career and improve your visibility in the workplace by utilizing self-promotion techniques. Whether you’re ready for your next career move, you’ve reached your career plateau, or you’re just looking for general career guidance, these tips can help you build your confidence, visibility, and influence.
Announcing our latest lab member, Lynandrea, a new Undergraduate Research Assistant in the lab. Lynandrea shares what she’s working on in the lab, her biggest accomplishments, and even where she would travel in a time machine in her “Spotlight On” in our latest Said & Dunn post. Where would you travel in a time machine?
This week’s Said&Dunn post is by guest blogger, Jen Heemstra. Jen is a chemistry professor at Emory and PI of the Heemstra lab, which is focused on harnessing the molecular recognition and self-assembly properties of nucleic acids for applications in biosensing and bioimaging. Jen also serves as a mentor to many and shares her advice and stories on her blog, “Things That Change the Way I Think.”
Can early onset depression be associated with unique risk factors? Check out this week’s Said & Dunn post by guest blogger, Megan Skelton, a PhD student at Kings College London, to learn more about how genetic influences might be useful in understanding differences in risk for early and later onset of depression in adolescence.
We are excited to introduce our latest lab member, Becky, who is a new post-doc in the lab. Check out this “Spotlight on” in this week’s Said & Dunn post to learn more about Becky, including how her background in Anthropology led her to the Dunn Lab.
By: Olivia Pickett
It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air….a love for research that is. As researchers, we know all too well how easy it is to get caught up in a daily routine and forget about why we love what we do. This Valentine’s Day we’re taking a step back to reflect on the incredible work we have the privilege of doing as scientists. So, if you’re a student wondering about whether a career in research is right for you – or are an active researcher seeking some inspiration, here’s a list of the top 10 things we love about research.
By: The Dunn Lab
In this week’s Said and Dunn post, we summarize the findings related to depression from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 report, which gathers statistics on the scope and burden of diseases worldwide.
By: Olivia Pickett
This week’s Said&Dunn post is by guest blogger, Louise Arseneault. Louise is a Professor of Developmental Psychology at King's College London. Her research focuses on the impact of social relationships on mental health across the life span. She investigates the consequences of violence in childhood including bullying and maltreatment. She also examines loneliness and social support. This post is adapted from the original post by Hannah Myerson from the MQ: Transforming Mental Health Through Research blog. We wanted to repost it here because we thought its messages were thoughtful and genuine. We found it inspirational and we hope you do too!
Have you ever tried to learn a new language? What about a new programming language? It can be a time-consuming, confusing and, at times, frustrating task. In this week’s Said&Dunn post, our very own Data Analyst Yiwen Zhu shares her advice for beginners learning to code in R, and how to develop the skills to create inspiring, reproducible science.
By: Yiwen Zhu