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COLA Fellow Spotlight: Justin Dainer-Best

posted: Wed, Dec 18, 2013

Photo Credit: Francis Roman

Photo Credit: Francis Roman

Name: Justin Dainer-Best

Current: Psychology, supervised by Christopher Beevers

Previous: Bachelor’s inEnglish and Psychology, Haverford College, Research Associate at University of Miami in Florida

Research Topic: Cognitive Biases associated with Depression—I work in the Mood Disorders Lab with Professor Christopher Beevers doing translational research on depression. I want to understand how disordered thinking can contribute to the onset and maintenance of depression and other mental illnesses that display cognitive biases. I'm also interested in using computerized techniques, including tasks designed to train cognitive biases and working memory, to improve mood—and eventually to use as therapy for treating mental disorders.

Why? It's an exciting area with a lot of room for new research. Cognitive bias modification has a great deal of potential in terms of ameliorating cognitive deficits in mental illness, which is important from a public health standpoint as well as an investigatory standpoint. 

Mentors? Here at UT, Chris Beevers has been instrumental in helping me find my own path for research.

Why UT? UT has a fantastic psychology program, and the Mood Disorders Laboratory offers me the opportunity to do the research that I'm interested in doing. Besides that, the students in the clinical psychology program had the best things to say about the program—they were the most consistently positive of any students I met with while interviewing.

Hobbies? I've been spending a lot of time outdoors this fall, rock climbing in the Greenbelt and out at Reimer's Ranch, and working on visiting as many nearby state parks as I can. I also spend my time reading fiction and baking. 

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