Principal Investigator

Dr. Anita Cservenka is an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science, and the director of the SUN Lab. Her research lab is interested in understanding risk factors for and consequences of adolescent and young adult alcohol and substance use on neurocognition and the effects of substance use on hormones. Her lab uses questionnaires that assess personality, alcohol and substance use, and tasks of neurocognitive functioning to help understand the development of substance abuse.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Prudence Graves is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. She is interested in the anatomy and function of the brain and its relation to behavior, as well as emotional processing and its related brain structures. After graduating, she plans on working in a research lab before applying to graduate school.

Sabrina Denton is a fifth year undergraduate student double majoring in Biology and Psychology, and minoring in Chemistry. She hopes to work for about a year as an EMT or CNA before going back to school to become a Physician’s Assistant.

Marika Huffer is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in both Public Health and Flute Performance. After graduating, she is interested in going to graduate school to study Behavioral Neuroscience or to be doing work as a Clinical Systems Analyst.

Lucianne Ryan is a fifth year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Statistics. After her undergraduate degree, she plans to work in the field before she attends graduate school for Neuropsychology or Business Psychology.

Sara Tajanlangit is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Advanced Chemistry and Psychology. She plans to pursue graduate school for clinical or social psychology as well as the Fullbright Grant program for psychology studies in East Asia.

Alyssa MacKenzie is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Psychology with a Pre-Med option. She is particularly interested in the social determinants, and neuroscience of addiction. After she graduates she hopes to attend medical school or obtain a masters in Law and Public Health.

Kimberly Vele is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and completing her pre-med requirements. Her interests are focused in the brain and its effect on behavior, especially in regards to neurological/neuropsychological disorders. She plans to go to medical school and aspires to be a neuropsychiatrist.

Nolan Gunter is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Mathematical Economics and minoring in Psychology. He plans to pursue graduate studies in neuroeconomics and decision science after graduating.


Graduate Students

Jess Cavalli is a second year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Health Psychology. She is particularly interested in researching how adolescent and young adult substance use impacts biopsychosocial functioning, such as cognition, emotion, and stress, as well as the mechanisms underlying substance use and addiction, and its comorbidity with other psychopathologies.


Lab Alumni

Sarah Lahanas graduated from OSU in 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology and was manager of the SUN Lab from 2017-2019. Currently, she works as a full-time research assistant at OHSU’s TRAC Lab. Sarah is interested in studying the neural and behavioral correlates of chronic substance use in order to inform treatment methods. She plans to pursue a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience or Clinical Psychology in the future.

Jessie Li graduated with Honors and a double degree in BioHealth Sciences (Pre-Med) and Psychology in 2019. She now lives in Portland, OR where she attends Pacific University in the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program, in the Neuropsychology track. Her future plan is to work as a Neuropsychologist in a local hospital and cater to underserved populations.

Jorie Casey graduated with an Honors B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2019. She now resides in Tigard, OR and is applying for research assistant positions at OHSU. She plans on applying to medical school next year with hopes of becoming a hematologist oncologist.

Julieanne Dotson graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2018. She now lives in Medford OR, where she is working towards a masters degree in communication science and disorders. Her future plans include becoming a speech pathologist and working with children with mental disabilities


URSA Awardees

Sara Tajanlangit, 2019 Recipient

Prudence Graves, 2019 Recipient