Laboratory Personnel


Julia Buckner, Ph.D.Julia Buckner is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at LSU and the Director of LSU's Anxiety and Addictive Behaviors Laboratory & Clinic. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at LSU-Health Sciences Center and a Visiting Professor at the London South Bank University School of Applied Sciences. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Buckner's program of research primarily focuses on: (1) psycho-sociocultural causal and maintaining factors implicated in substance use disorders and co-occurring anxiety-substance use disorders; and (2) development and evaluation of empirically-informed treatment and prevention protocols for substance use disorders, including treatment for co-occurring anxiety-substance use disorders. Dr. Buckner has had over 190 publications and she has utilized a variety of methodological procedures in her research, including ecological momentary assessment, affect and craving induction paradigms, attentional processing paradigms, technology-based interventions, and randomized clinical trials. She has been involved in several NIH grants as PI, co-PI, consultant, and sponsor and is currently Project Director on a graduate education training grant from the US Department of Health & Human Services' HRSA. She has also received awards from organizations such as the American Psychological Association, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Addictive Behaviors & Anxiety Disorders Special Interest Groups.

Graduate Students

Mara Lewis, B.S.Mara Ferrie (formerly known as Mara Lewis) received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Northeastern University in Boston in 2015. She joined LSU’s Clinical Psychology program in 2017. Her research interests include identifying causal and maintenance psychosocial factors related to the etiology and maintenance of anxiety and substance use disorders, and the development of treatment and prevention programs for these disorders. Mara is completing her predoctoral internship at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans.

Paige Morris, B.A.Paige Morris received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Temple University in 2017. She joined LSU’s Clinical Psychology program in 2020. Her research interests include examining sex differences in substance use behaviors and identifying psychosocial factors, such motivational and context-specific differences in substance use that predict problem severity and treatment outcomes, especially among cannabis users.



Caroline Scherzer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Virginia Tech in 2018. She joined LSU’s Clinical Psychology program in 2021. Her research interests include improving treatment outcomes for adults with substance use disorders (especially opioid use disorders) by identifying mediating and moderating factors involved in the onset, experience, and maintenance of maladaptive behaviors in order to translate this information into evidence-based interventions. 








Katherine Walukevich-Dienst, Ph.D. 
F32 Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry
Predoctoral Internship: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dissertation: Development and Initial Psychometric Properties of the Cannabidiol Outcome Expectancies Questionnaire (CBD-OEQ)

Kimberlye Dean, Ph.D.
Clinical Research Fellow
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Predoctoral Internship: VA Boston Healthcare System, Substance Abuse Division, Boston MA
Dissertation: The Impact of Experimentally-Induced Perceived Discrimination on Substance Use and Related Problems

Anthony Ecker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
Investigator, Behavioral Health & Implementation Core, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
Predoctoral Internship: VA Connecticut Healthcare Service, West Haven
Dissertation: The Impact of Experimentally Manipulated Post-Event Processing on the Relationship between Social Anxiety and Cannabis Craving and Use

Sonia Shah Blauvelt, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice
Predoctoral Internship: Medical College of Georgia/Charlie Norwood Veteran's Affairs Medical Center
Dissertation: Personalized Normative Feedback for College Student Condom Use

Emily Jeffries, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist
Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital
Predoctoral Internship: VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Dissertation: Hatha Yoga as an Aid to Smoking Cessation for Smokers with Anxiety and/or Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial