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Queen's University

The Mood Research Lab
People in the Lab


Top Row (Left to Right): Chloe Hudson, Caeleb Goff, Alexa Scarcello, Xi Han, Hailey Ventola, Dr. Kate Harkness

Bottom Row (Left to Right):  Mateya Dimnik, Raegan Mazurka, Jacqueline McCowan, Heather Brooks,  Amanda Shamblaw, Dustin Washburn 

Not Pictured: Cherie La Rocque, Andrew Shaw, Alex Chung, Hilary Loudon, Stephanie Clayton, Giselle Hunt, Nicholas Tollefson, Mohammed Albaghdadi, Lauren Brandys, Alex Brassard, Alex Martin, Alanna Chu, Tristan Mohamed, Emily McBride, & Allyshia Van Tol 


Kate Harkness, Ph.D.

B.Sc., (Hon.)  Toronto, 1993
M.S., Oregon, 1995
Ph.D., Oregon, 1998 

Kate Harkness, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Area of research: My primary research focus is the role of stress and early trauma in the etiology and ongoing pathology of major depression in adolescence and adulthood.

My current work focuses on gene-environment interactions that increase the biological and psychosocial sensitivity to stress in major depression.




B.A., (Hon.) Queen's University, 2014

Mateya Dimnik 

Research Coordinator

I am the research coordinator for the Mood Research Lab and am responsible for the organization and maintenance of ongoing projects in the lab. 


Graduate Students


Cherie La Rocque, Ph.D. Candidate

Area of Research : I am interested in complementary and alternative approaches to the treatment of mental disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders. Specifically, my dissertation is an examination of the antidepressant effects of Bikram yoga and aerobic exercise. Further, I am investigating associated psychological and physiological mechanisms that might underlie the antidepressant effects, including changes in rumination, mindfulness, reactivity to daily hassles, cardiovascular and cortisol reactivity to acute stress, and cardiorespiratory fitness. My dissertation involves collaboration with Dr. Kyra Pyke’s (Queen’s University) Cardiovascular Stress Response Lab.

Raegan Mazurka, Ph.D. Year 2

Area of Research: I am interested in dysregulation of the biological stress response in depression and how this system may be affected by gene-environment interactions. My master’s thesis examined how polymorphisms of the FKBP5 gene in combination with childhood maltreatment may predict the cortisol response to a psychosocial stress task in depressed versus non-depressed adolescents. 


Amanda Shamblaw, M.Sc. Year 2

Area of Research: I am interested in the social-cognitive development of children whose mothers have experienced depression. For my master's thesis, I am investigating the relation between maternal depression and children's theory of mind abilities with a focus on whether certain environmental factors, such as mental state talk and affectionate contact, underline this relation.



Dustin Washburn, Ph.D. Candidate

Area of research: My research interests lie in understanding the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the interpersonal dysfunction of depressed individuals. My Ph.D. research will investigate interpersonal functioning in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). Specifically, I will be examining the impact of rumination on an aversive interpersonal behaviour, negative feedback seeking, and how that results in later interpersonal impairment.

Research Associate


Xi Han, Research Associate

Area of research:  My research interests lie in understanding the cognitive deficits in mental illness and investigating the brain-behavior relations in terms of disease development. More broadly, I am interested in the biology and pathology of psychiatric disorders. As the research associate, I am responsible for conducting interviews for the theory of mind project. 



Honour's Students


Heather Brooks

Area of Research I am currently completing my undergraduate honours thesis in The Mood Research Lab, investigating the neural correlates of theory of mind reasoning using EEG technology. Specifically, I am interested in how mood state may influence and/or affect the brain regions associated with theory of mind reasoning. More broadly, my general research interests lie in the biology and etiology of psychiatric disorders, and how early life stressors may affect the development of mental health problems.  



Alexa Scarcello

Area of ResearchI am currently completing my final year in Psychology, and for my undergraduate honour’s thesis, I am working with Cherie La Roque on her dissertation.  Broadly, we are examining the antidepressant effects of Bikram yoga and aerobic exercise in clinically depressed women. For my thesis specifically, I am also looking at whether changes in fitness level must occur from pre-to-post treatment in order for yoga to have antidepressant effects. 


Andrew Shaw

Area of Research:  I am in my final year of a B.Sc. in Psychology at Queens University. For my honor’s thesis, I am investigating why individuals with subclinical levels of depression show enhanced theory of mind, while maintaining significant interpersonal dysfunction in their social lives. The goal of my project is to identify rumination as a culpable mediator in this process.

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Directed Lab Students

Alex Chung

Caeleb Goff

Hilary Loudon

Jacqueline McCowan 

Research Assistants

Mohammed Albaghdadi

Lauren Brandys

Alex Brassard

Alanna Chu 

Stephanie Clayton 

Xi Han

Jennifer Gillies

Giselle Hunt 

Chloe Hudson 

Alex Martin

Emily McBride 

Tristan Mohamed

Nicholas Tollefson 

Allyshia Van Tol 

Hailey Ventola 


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000