Dr. Crystal Schiller, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill and the lead investigator in the SWAN Lab. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Iowa, and her research focuses on the impact of ovarian hormones on behavior and brain function in women. Her previous work demonstrated that estrogen and progesterone play a role in bulimia nervosa, smoking behavior, and postpartum depression. She is currently using functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine how estrogen and progesterone provoke changes in neural circuits responsible for depression. This research may improve our understanding of how hormonal changes during pregnancy and the postpartum period precipitate the onset of major depression in some, but not all, women. She also hopes that by contributing to our knowledge of the biological basis of postpartum depression, this work may also serve to reduce the stigma and self-blame associated with mental illness in women.
Laura Lundegard, BA, is the current Study Coordinator for the PEERS (Perimenopausal Effects of Estradiol on Reward Response Study) Project in the SWAN Lab where she assists with recruitment efforts, study enrollment, administration of study medication, and drawing blood. She recently graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience with a concentration in Chemistry and a certificate in Public Policy from the Holleran Center. During her time as an undergraduate, her primary research was focused on integrative medicine, PTSD, trauma therapy, and public health policy. She previously worked at the UNC Program for Integrative Medicine, as a research assistant, studying the parasympathetic nervous system activation upon implementation of qigong sensory training with ASD children. She hopes to pursue further education and obtain her MD, MPH with a specialty in Neurology or Psychiatry.
Erin Richardson, RN, BSN, assists with our projects by giving study medication, drawing blood, and performing clinical interviews. When not working in the lab, she is a graduate student in the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program at UNC. Erin received her BA in psychology from Duke University and her RN, BSN from the UNC School of Nursing. She previously worked as a nurse in child & adolescent psychiatry and in the NICU, and as a research coordinator at the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders.
Katie Thompson, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the UNC clinical psychology program. As part of the SWAN Lab, she helps with study enrollment visits and conducts clinical interviews for the WIN, Duavee, and MINI PPD Studies. She attended George Washington University for her undergraduate degree, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After graduation, Katie worked for the Section on Growth and Obesity in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. In graduate school, her research focuses on body image and disordered eating among women at key points of change in relation to reproduction (e.g., pregnancy, menopause). Her master’s thesis evaluated aging anxiety and disordered eating behaviors among menopausal women. Katie is currently working on her dissertation which evaluates body comparison and eating disorder symptoms among postpartum women.