Current Lab Members:
Michele Levine, Ph.D.
I am an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I received my Ph.D. in clinical and health psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, after completing a clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, now Western Psychiatric Hospital (WPH). I then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine also at WPIC and received a license to practice psychology in 2001. My program of research has focused on women’s health behaviors, particularly relationships among weight, eating and other appetitive behaviors during pregnancy and the postpartum period. In addition, I enjoy teaching and training future clinical scientists in my roles as director of the Clinical Psychology Internship Program at WPIC and T32 postdoctoral fellowship training programs at WPH.
Fun Fact: I have a busy family (three teenagers!!) and enjoy spending as much time with them, my husband and my dog as I can. I also have no sense of direction and can get lost in a circle!
Jennifer Grace, M.S.
Research Principal Senior/Study Clinican
I am originally from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, a small town located about 90 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2002 to complete an internship at Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh to finish my undergraduate degree. I quickly fell in love with the city and began graduate school at Chatham University in 2004. I started working in research at UPMC in 2006 and joined Dr. Levine’s group in 2008. My primary research interests are issues related to women’s health and gender-related studies.
Fun fact: My favorite things to do include cooking with my husband, running, drinking coffee, traveling, and sharing dinner with friends.
Gina Sweeney, M.S.
I was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in the south hills. I moved to Philadelphia and earned my BS and MS in health psychology at the University of the Sciences. After living in Philadelphia for 5 years, I couldn’t wait to move back home to Pittsburgh and soon after I start working in Dr. Levine’s lab. I am interested in behavioral health research and am lucky to have been able to be a part of many interesting studies conducted at this lab.
Fun fact: I am most happy while spending time with my husband and our two young daughters. When time allows, I enjoy crafting, organizing, and learning how to sew.
Rachel Kolko, Ph.D.
Lisa Germeroth, Ph.D.
I am a principal investigator on an NIDDK-funded K23 examining the effects of a memory-updating intervention, known as retrieval-extinction training, on craving for and intake of high calorie foods. I grew-up in the Rochester, NY area and received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University at Buffalo. I completed my clinical psychology internship at the Charleston Consortium/Medical University of South Carolina. I initially joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry as a postdoctoral scholar on the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine T32 training program. My research interests include factors driving overweight/obesity and eating behavior.
Fun fact: I was bit by a (very small) shark in Clearwater, Florida several years ago while at a professional conference.
Kristin Schroeder, M.Ed.
I’m originally from Quakertown PA, I moved here in the early nineties after graduating from Penn State with an M.Ed in Counseling. The majority of my career was spent in various roles, from counselor to director, focusing on addiction counseling. I remained active in many volunteer positions while my daughters were young. Returning to work in 2008, I became involved in heath behavior studies while working in diabetes prevention research. I’ve enjoyed joining Dr. Levine’s group in 2017, this combination of career changes has exposed me to new areas of focus, while still allowing me to use my counseling degree.
Research interests: Health behavior research. I find it encouraging that even small healthy lifestyle changes can result in significant improvements in a person’s overall health.
I am an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) originally from Ohio, although I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for 7 years. My work for the last 10 years has focused on women’s health, both in a hospital setting as well as in outpatient clinics. My role within the group is as a part-time clinician – the rest of the time I am kept on my toes by my curious, goofy, and energetic toddler son (and his best friend, our giant St. Bernard named Camille). My primary area of interest is how psychosocial factors as well as access to care play a role in determining behaviors and outcomes. I tend to draw upon a strength-based yet eclectic style when working with participants.
Fun Fact(s): I am a super-taster, have worked as a magician’s assistant, and got bit by a monkey in college!
Breanna Wallbaum, B.S.
I am from a small town just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Keeping my roots close to home, I attended school at the University of Pittsburgh where I earned a BS in psychology. While completing the first two years of my undergraduate degree, I worked in Dr. Levine’s lab as an RA helping primarily with data entry. I left for a bit to explore new possibilities but when I graduated and noticed the lab had a position free, I couldn’t wait to join in again. My research interests primarily include developmental psychology with a focus on how maternal health habits impact the brain and development. I hope to further my interests in the future with the foundational knowledge I am gaining in this lab!
Fun fact: I was president of the University of Pittsburgh’s ballroom dance team and competed nationally for the university.
Tina Benno, B.S.
I was born in India, but grew up in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. I went to Pitt for my undergraduate degree in Psychology and started working for the group a couple months after graduating in April 2016. Currently I am a graduate student in the School Psychology program at Duquesne University. My research interests revolve around areas of child development, child and family behavioral health, and school systems.
Fun fact: I love to play the piano, the ukulele, and I have an immense love for classic (and new) Disney!
Past Lab Members: