R. Kathryn McHugh, Ph.D.

Chief of Psychology, McLean Hospital

Director, Stress, Anxiety and Substance Use Laboratory, McLean Hospital

Director, Behavioral Treatment Research, Development and Testing, Division of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, McLean Hospital

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Dr. McHugh received her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University. She is currently the Director of the Stress, Anxiety and Substance Use Lab and the Chief of Psychology at McLean Hospital and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. McHugh is a clinical researcher and practitioner whose work focuses on the nature and treatment of stress, anxiety and substance use disorders. Her research is currently funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and she is an Associate Editor of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and Cognitive Therapy and Research. She has published more than 160 manuscripts and book chapters as well as an edited book on the dissemination of evidence-based treatments. Dr. McHugh is a recipient of a number of awards, including the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Clinical Psychology from the American Psychological Association. She also is the Director of Behavioral Therapy Development, Training and Research in McLean’s Division of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction and specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders.

Allen J. Bailey, Ph.D

Dr. Bailey is a postdoctoral clinical and research fellow at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use lab. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Indiana University. Dr. Bailey completed his predoctoral internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in 2022. His research interests include: (1) the assessment of substance and polysubstance use problems (2) mechanisms in the treatment of opioid use disorder (3) data driven models of psychiatric comorbidity. In addition to his research work, Dr. Bailey also specializes in cognitive behavioral therapies for anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Dr. Bailey leads groups at the LEADER (Law Enforcement, Active Duty, Emergency Response) program and the Pavilion at McLean Hospital. He also sees private practice patients through the Cambridge Psychology Group. 

Robyn A. Ellis, Ph.D

Dr. Ellis is a postdoctoral research fellow at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use and Neurocardiac Effects of Stress and Trauma laboratories. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Central Western Massachusetts Veteran’s Administration hospital and received her PhD in clinical psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2022. Dr. Ellis’ graduate work focused broadly on the manifestation and maintenance of psychological distress following trauma seeking to identify potential targets for intervention. Her dissertation examined the efficacy and mechanisms of change in a brief empirically-based exposure treatment for PTSD in undergraduates with elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms. Dr. Ellis’ interest in the shared psychophysiological mechanisms underlying PTSD and substance use disorders led her to McLean seeking to investigate such mechanisms to enhance intervention for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders. Her favorite ice cream flavor is black raspberry.

Kael Ragnini, B.A.

Kael graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a BA in Neuroscience & Behavior. From 2019 to 2022, she was a research assistant in the neuropsychopharmacology lab of Dr. Heath Schmidt at University of Pennsylvania, leading projects focused on the neurobiological effects of drugs such as cocaine, nicotine and opioids, and how peripheral metabolic factors could be targeted to reduce addiction-like behaviors in preclinical models. Her interest in conducting clinical research on substance use disorders motivated her move to McLean in summer 2022. In the Stress, Anxiety and Substance Use Lab, she manages the “Longitudinal Follow-up for Opioid Use Disorder” study. In the future, Kael hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in conducting research into how aberrant reward learning manifests in clinical symptomatology such as substance use disorders, disordered eating, and self-harm behaviors. She is originally from Barrington, Illinois, and her favorite flavor of ice cream is pistachio. 

Brooke McConaghy, B.S.

Brooke earned her B.S. in Psychology from Northeastern University in December 2023. Throughout her academic journey, she has had various research and clinical experiences. As part of Northeastern’s Co-op program, she worked full-time in Dr. Heidi Jacobs’ Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, focusing on Alzheimer’s Disease and non-invasive brain interventions to target cognitive decline. Additionally, she worked in Clinical Operations at Marvin, a behavioral health start-up, where she researched and developed a training program focused on mental health issues, therapeutic modalities, and assessments tailored for healthcare professionals in therapy. During her undergraduate years, she balanced her studies with working part-time in two laboratories at Northeastern. She was involved in the Lifespan Emotional Development Lab, investigating the effects of different emotion regulation strategies on affective outcomes, and the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab, where she examined how interoceptive states influence affective experiences. Brooke’s passion for clinical research led her to the Stress, Anxiety and Substance Use Lab, where she manages the “Longitudinal Follow-up for Opioid Use Disorders” study. She hopes to pursue a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology in the coming years. Her fun fact is that she was born and raised in Singapore, and her favorite ice cream flavor is black raspberry chip. 

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gabriel graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in English in May 2024. While at Amherst College, he completed an independent study in the form of a literature review comparing the neurological mechanisms and cognitive scripts behind the emotions of sadness and fear. He worked as a member of the DART Program in the Medical University of South Carolina where he conducted research and shadowed therapy. His research focused on the relationships between ADHD, internalizing disorders, and substance use initiation, which culminated in a poster presentation. Within the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use Lab, Gabriel manages the “Longitudinal Follow-up for Opioid Use Disorders” study. He plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Gabriel’s favorite ice cream flavor is Belgian Chocolate.

Sarah Lavery, B.A.

Sarah graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2024 with a B.A. in cognitive neuroscience. While at Penn, she worked with Dr. Brian White at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His team works to develop optical neuroimaging systems and algorithms to further understand the underlying mechanisms of pediatric diseases. Her primary project investigated resting-state functional connectivity in mouse models of Maple Syrup Urine Disease, a genetic metabolic disorder. Sarah’s transition to clinical research was motivated by her experiences volunteering with various populations in Philadelphia, and she is excited to manage the “Pain, Inflammation and Opioid Craving” study while at McLean. She hopes to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology in the future. Her favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.

Zoe London, B.S.

Zoe graduated from Tufts University in May 2024 with a B.S. in Biopsychology and Child Study & Human Development. During her undergrad, she worked in the Maguire Lab at Tufts’ School of Medicine. There, Zoe helped to conduct research on exercise’s role in mediating the relationship between chronic stress and habit formation in a preclinical mice model. Throughout her time at Tufts, Zoe also volunteered on a student-run mental health hotline, which furthered her excitement about engaging in clinical research on mood and substance use disorders. Now at McLean, she is a research assistant for the “Nature and Predictors of Impaired Harm Avoidance in Polysubstance Use” study and one day hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.

Christiane Mandes

Christiane is entering her senior year at Boston College, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology. At BC, she is working with Professor Gene Heyman to develop a thesis studying how the creation of an in-group affects cooperation in the iterated prisoner’s dilemma game. Additionally, she works at Charles River Recovery as a Recovery Support Specialist where she provides day-to-day assistance to patients in residential treatment for substance use disorders. As an intern at the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use Lab she is working under Dr. Robyn Ellis on the “Substance Use Disorder Stigma and Treatment” study. She hopes to one day pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate fudge brownie.


Juliette Bichon, B.A.

Juliette graduated from Tufts University in 2022 with a B.A. in Clinical Psychology and Sociology and was a Research Assistant with the lab until June 2024. She went on to pursue her PhD in clinical psychology.

Emma Trapani, M.A.

Emma graduated from Wesleyan University in 2022 with a master’s in psychology and was a research assistant with the lab until July 2024. She went on to pursue her master’s in social work.