Here is a list of all of the individuals working on the RISE project,
including the principal investigator, research staff, students and physicians.
Pauline Maki, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
Dr. Pauline M. Maki is an Associate Professor in the Departments
of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dr. Maki’s research over the last 12 years has focused on women’s mental
and cognitive health. She has a longstanding interest in the effects of sex
hormones and phytoestrogens on cognition, brain function, and psychological
wellbeing in young, midlife and elderly women. Her brain imaging research
led to novel insights into the neural targets of hormone therapy in
Dr. Maki received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the
University of Minnesota in 1994. She received post-graduate training
at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the dementias
of aging and at the National Institute on Aging in neuroimaging. In
1999, she joined the Intramural Research Program of the National
Institute on Aging, where she became a co-developer and Co-Principal
Investigator in the Women’s Health Initiative Study of Cognitive
Aging (WHISCA) and Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and
In 2002, she joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at
Chicago, where she received funding from the National Institutes of
Health to conduct randomized clinical trials comparing hormone
therapy to alternative botanical therapies. Dr. Maki is a member
of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Board of Trustees,
the Chair Elect of the NAMS Research Affairs Committee, and the
Director the NAMS Mentorship Program. She has numerous publications
on hormones and cognitive function, won a number of NIH awards for
her research and service, serves on executive committees for several
women’s health advisory boards, and is a frequent international and
national speaker on women’s cognitive health.
Cheryl Carmin, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Director of Brain-Body Center
Dr. Carmin is a nationally recognized expert in the research
and treatment of anxiety disorders and in cognitive behavior
therapy. She is actively involved in training psychology
post-doctoral fellows, interns, and externs and psychiatry
residents in both CBT and anxiety treatment and is responsible
for having developed these areas at UIC. She is a Founding Fellow
of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and has also been named a Beck
Scholar, acknowledging her leadership in the field. Dr. Carmin
is a member of an international working group studying cognitions
in OCD and is one of the few clinical scientists who have published
in the area of OCD in the elderly. She has also received NIMH grant
funding to examine the relationship between anxiety and coronary
heart disease. Her interests focus on translational research and
psychophysiology of anxiety disorders. She has published widely
and has presented at national and international meetings.
Stephen Porges, Ph.D.
Director of Stress & Anxiety Disorders Clinic
Director of Cognitive Behavior Therapy Program
Dr. Porges conducts research focusing on the translation
of neurobehavioral principles into methods of assessment and
treatment of clinical disorders. He is Professor of Psychiatry
and Biomedical Engineering. He is the former President of the
Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
and the Society for Psychophysiological Research. He is a
neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the
neurobiology of social behavior. His research focuses how the
autonomic nervous system relates to adaptive behavior, state
regulation, and social engagement strategies. His research
crosses disciplines and he has published in such diverse
disciplines as anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics,
exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics,
psychiatry, psychology, space medicine, and substance abuse.
In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links
the evolution of the vertebrate autonomic nervous system to the
emergence of social behavior. The theory provides insights into
the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral,
psychiatric, and physical disorders. His research is leading to
new protocols to assess clinical disorders and innovative
interventions designed to stabilize behavioral and psychological
states and to stimulate spontaneous social behavior. He was the
recipeint of NIMH Research Scientist Development Award and his
research has been continuously funded by NIH for more than 35 years.
Sue Carter, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Director of Brain-Body Center
Dr. Carter is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director
of The Brain Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
She formally held the rank of Distinguished University Professor
in Biology at the University of Maryland, and before that was
Professor of Psychology, Ecology, Ethology and Evolution at the
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has authored or
coauthored over 250 research articles and chapters and 5 volumes
including "Attachment and Bonding: A New Synthesis" (MIT Press),
"The Integrative Neurobiology of Affiliation" (New York Academy
of Sciences, MIT Press), "Is There a Neurobiology of Love", a special
issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology (Elsevier), and 2
other volumes. Dr. Carter has a career-long history of research
funding from the National Science Foundation and National
Institutes of Health and was the recipient of a Research Career
Scientist Award from the National Institute of Health. She also
is has served as President of the International Behavioral
Dr. Carter studies the neurobiology of monogamy, social bonds
and parental behavior. Her research created the basic paradigms
used for the analysis of the biological basis of monogamy, and
established the prairie vole as the major model for examining the
biology of adult social bonds. She and her colleagues have
identified the role of brain peptides, including oxytocin,
vasopressin and CRF in pair bond formation. She has also discovered
that oxytocin and vasopressin can program the developing nervous
system with life-long consequences for brain and behavior.
Leah Rubin, Ph.D., M.A.
Research Assistant Professor
Leah Rubin earned a masters in clinical psychology from
Loyola College in Maryland and then earned a second masters and
a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Illinois at
Chicago. She has been supported by NIH during her academic career,
and currently is part of multiple studies investigating hormonal
factors that influence cognition in a number of populations
including schizophrenia and HIV. Dr. Rubin's primary focus has
been the effects of sex hormones, including estrogen, progesterone,
testosterone, and oxytocin on cognition in schizophrenia.
In addition, she has served as a study biostatistician on a number
of projects in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at UIC.
Jill Breit, B.S.
Jill became a member of the Maki Lab in the summer of 2008.
She is the RISE research coordinator and has been working on the
development and initiation of this clinical trial. She also is
involved in multiple projects throughout the lab by working with
the hot flash and heart rate variability data.
Antonia Savarese, B.S.
Antonia joined the Maki Lab in the spring of 2008. She is
the coordinator for a study investigating a novel treatment
for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms and she is also the
neurocognitive task administrator for a study investigating
the effects of oral contraceptive use on memory and other mental
abilities. In addition, she trains personnel on how to administer
neurocognitive tasks as part of a nationwide HIV study.
Lauren Drogos, M.A.
Lauren’s general research interest focuses on how
hormones and changes in physiology interact with the brain
to produce changes in cognition. She has two specific areas
of focus. The first is how natural fluctuations and changes
in endogenous hormones and neuropeptides can influence things
like memory, attention and verbal abilities. Her second research
focus is on hot flashes during menopause and other health states
associated with low estrogen levels. She is interested in how these
discreet themoregulatory episodes change physiology, and thus change
Erin Sundermann, M.A.
Erin joined the lab in the fall of 2006. Her focus in the
lab is examining the influence of sex steroid hormones and
genetics on memory and executive function in healthy women
and women with HIV using behavioral and neuroimaging methods.
She is currently investigating the effect of a gene related to
dopamine metabolism on working memory function and prefrontal
cortex function in HIV+ and at-risk HIV- women. Some of her other
interests also include identifying estrogen-related genetic
predictors of cognition and mood as well as frontal executive
processes that contribute to memory encoding and retrieval. Lastly,
she is currently examining the effect of psychosocial stress on
convergent vs. divergent thinking in healthy women and how oral
contraceptive use and menstrual cycle phase moderate this effect.
Vanessa Meyer, B.S.
Vanessa had been a member of the lab since January 2009.
She is investigating the effects of drug abuse on cognition in
women with HIV, with imaging and behavioral studies. She is also
involved in projects investigating hot flashes in women with HIV
and the circadian rhythm of hot flashes.