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Emily Treichler, PhD [she/her] is a Research Psychologist in the Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at the VA San Diego, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She also provides clinical services in the Inpatient Service at Sharp Healthcare.


Dr. Treichler completed her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016, along with an internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center/VA Maryland Consortium in the serious mental illness track. She completed a fellowship in psychosis research at the Desert Pacific MIRECC/UCSD in 2019. Dr. Treichler holds a Career Development Award from the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development program. She has received awards from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Psychosis and Schizophrenia Spectrum Special Interest Group, the Mather Institute, UCSD, and the University of Nebraska. She is a co-author, with Dilip Jeste, MD, of a blog in Psychology Today, Practical Wisdom.


Links: Google Scholar | Twitter


Lauren McBride is the study coordinator for the Collab Lab. She got her bachelor’s degree from Emory University in 2019 in Business Administration and Physics, and she joined the Collab Lab after working in consulting for two years. Lauren is passionate about finding psychosocial interventions for people with Severe Mental Illness. She hopes to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology so that she can have a career as a researcher and clinician.


Elissa Gomez [she/her/hers] is a third-year undergraduate student at UC San Diego majoring in Public Health Community Sciences and minoring in Psychology. Her future career interests include researching physical activity interventions among Hispanic female adolescents to help them develop sustainable health behaviors. She intends to apply what she learns at the Collab Lab about ethical clinical practices, mental health stigmatization, and autonomy in treatment decision-making in her future work endeavors to respect individuals’  lived experiences.


Joanna Nazari Jain is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Human Biology at UC San Diego. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine, and is excited about patient-centered care and improving healthcare access and delivery for vulnerable communities.


Han Trieu is a third-year undergraduate at UC San Diego studying Psychology with a specialization in Human Health. She hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her goal is to spread mental health awareness within the educational system to promote health and well-being for the youth.


Zhiying (Crystal) Quan is a third-year undergraduate at UCSD, double majoring in Social Psychology and Sociology. I hope to attend graduate school and get a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to have a more in-depth understanding of mental health. I aim to remove the social stigma on mental illness, encourage patients to seek help and provide more reliable, effective, and trustworthy treatment.


Jennisa Bangal is a second-year undergraduate at UCSD majoring in Public Health. She plans on working in health policy surrounding mental health to increase access to services and aims to reform mental health crisis response in schools. She intends to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the Collab Lab to educate the public about resources available, reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, and promote the mental health of populations by influencing policy and health initiatives in the future. 


Vaishnavi Melkote is currently a first-year Master’s student at UC San Diego’s Global Health Program. She graduated from UC San Diego in 2022 with a double major in B.S. Global Health and B.S. Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience. In the future, she hopes to become a practicing physician and pursue research with a focus on global mental health. She is particularly passionate about mental healthcare equity and increasing access to care.

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Isabelle Li is a second-year undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in clinical psychology and minoring in business economics. She hopes to pursue a career that focuses on improving the lives of everyday people through research and is currently interested in mental health and neuroscience.



Robert Mercado [he/his] is the study coordinator for the Collab Lab at the VA San Diego. Mr. Mercado completed his bachelor's of science at the University of California, San Diego in 2019. He was previously a research assistant at the UCSD Emotion Lab and the UCSD Cognitive Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) program. His research interests include treatments in psychosis and substance use disorders.


Elijah Sosa is a research assistant for the Collab Lab. He got his bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in 2022 in Global Health. His research interests include topics in addiction, including addiction treatment outcomes and addiction prevention.


Kasey Yu received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/Chemistry from UC San Diego in 2022. Outside of class, she enjoys learning about the world through research and team projects. Kasey is interested in implementation science as a way of evaluating the efficacy of medical interventions and health policy. She is also interested in patient-centered care, mental health, and environmental health research. 

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Jillian Abasta is a student at UCSD majoring in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in a career in mental health research, specifically investigating effective treatments and preventative measures for mental health disorders. She is enthusiastic about utilizing the skills she gains from the Collab Lab in her future research to ensure interventions are readily accessible and attainable to those in need. 

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Izzy Vismara is a student research assistant at UCSD double majoring in Psychology and Ecology, Behavior and Evolution with a minor in Critical Gender Studies. She plans on getting her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She plans on becoming a psychologist in couple and individual therapy. She wants to promote more awareness about public mental health and work towards making therapy more accessible to lower income communities. 


Austin Okelly is a student at UCSD who studies cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. As a veteran himself, he served five years in the Marine Corps infantry. He is passionate about mental health and wants to learn more about systems of care, as well as how military service impacts mental well-being.

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Sydney Seaton received her bachelor's degree in Clinical Psychology from UC San Diego in 2023. She is currently a Case Manager/Supported Employment and Education Specialist for New Journeys, an early intervention first-episode psychosis program in Washington. She hopes to make the transition into services as stress-free as possible while working in collaboration with clients and their families. In the future, she aims to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Mental Health Counselor and continue supporting people with serious mental illness and their loved ones on their unique pathway to recovery. 

Jasmin is a graduate student in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science with a concentration in epidemiology. She received her BA in Sociology of Science and Medicine at UC San Diego in 2020. She is a motivated researcher with experience contributing to research team projects designed to investigate and analyze the intersections of race, gender and class on subjective experiences of mental health in underrepresented populations. Her undergraduate thesis investigated the ways in which individuals with serious mental illness use social media to interact with others with similar backgrounds, give and receive support and manage daily life and stigma.

Justin Wang majored in Psychology at UCSD. He plans on working to promote mental health care in marginalized communities and help destigmatize the topic of mental health to encourage those who need care to seek it out.

Pets of Collab Lab









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Juniper (handsome loaf)

& Piper


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