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Lab Members

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Alia J. Crum, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and the Principal Investigator of the Stanford Mind & Body Lab. She received her PhD from Yale University and BA degree from Harvard University. Dr. Crum’s research focuses on how changes in subjective mindsets—the core assumptions we make about things and processes in the world—can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms. Her work is, in part, inspired by research on the placebo effect, a robust demonstration of the ability of mindsets to elicit healing properties in the body. She is interested in understanding how mindsets affect important outcomes both within and beyond the realm of medicine, in domains such as exercise, diet, and stress. Moreover, Dr. Crum’s research aims to understand how mindsets can be consciously and deliberately changed through intervention to affect physiological and psychological well-being. To date, her research has won several awards including the NIH New Innovator Award and the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award. She is also the recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award and the Dean’s Award for First Years of Teaching at Stanford University. In addition to her academic research and teaching, Dr. Crum has worked as a clinical psychologist for the VA healthcare system and has created, delivered, and evaluated interventions focused on mindset change for organizations including LinkedIn, UBS, Stanford Healthcare, and the United States Navy.  




Melissa is a postdoctoral scholar in the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory in Stanford University's Schools of Engineering and Medicine. She received her PhD in Bioengineering from Stanford University in 2022, co-advised by Dr. Alia Crum and Dr. Scott Delp. Her work bridges the fields of biomechanics and psychology to understand not just how we move, but how we think about movement and our motivation for being physically active. Her current research focuses on improving the mindsets of people with osteoarthritis to be more beneficial for their health, wellbeing, and mobility. She enjoys living an active lifestyle - through running, hiking, yoga, and volleyball - hosting her podcast (Biomechanics On Our Minds), reading, and traveling.


Chiara is a SPARQ postdoctoral scholar in the Mind & Body Lab. She received her PhD in Health Psychology from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) in 2023, supervised by Professors Keith Petrie and Nicola Dalbeth and advised by Professor Urte Scholz. Her doctoral thesis explored how biosimilar brand changes can be improved, focusing on optimizing patient-practitioner communication and the involvement of support people. Her current research aims to understand how the social environment influences the development of patients’ mindsets. She is also interested in understanding how changes in subjective mindsets can alter psychological and physiological mechanisms. Chiara is originally from Germany and has an identical twin.



Kris received a BA in Sociology and Communications from Stanford. Fascinated by the ability of the mind-body mechanism, the study of people, and optimal performance he joined the lab to investigate and learn more. He is involved in a variety of organizations focused on researching, developing and empowering individuals by utilizing the power of the mind-body to enhance health, well-being, and performance. Outside of the lab, you might find Kris teaching Yoga, reflecting on the self, or playing League of Legends.


Kengthsagn received her BA in Psychology from Skidmore College with a minor in Business. Her research broadly focuses on how different health mindsets and cultures impact people's health behaviors and physiology. Kengthsagn spends her spare time watching documentaries, dreaming about Caribbean cuisine, dancing, and now learning to draw.



Jesse is the lab manager at MBL. He received a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University, where he wrote a senior thesis exploring how psychological and neurobiological research can inform philosophical theories of well-being. Jesse's current research focuses on how catastrophic experiences such as the COVID-19 pandemic influence long-term health and well-being, and whether mindset interventions can facilitate post-traumatic growth in the wake of these traumatic events. Jesse is also interested in third-wave cognitive-behavioral therapies and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and hopes to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology in the future. In his free time, Jesse enjoys writing, rooting for LA sports teams, and hunting for buried treasure.


Lexi is a research coordinator in the Mind & Body Lab. She holds a B.S. in Human Biology: Neurobiology, Behavior, and Health with a Notation in Science Communication from Stanford University. While an undergraduate, Lexi was a research assistant and honors thesis student in the Mind & Body Lab. Her thesis project, which explored how mindsets about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced depression and blood-based biomarkers of immune functioning, won the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. A proud member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR), Lexi is currently applying to medical school, with a goal of working to alleviate racial and socioeconomic disparities in healthcare. In her free time, Lexi enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts, playing board/card games, and experimenting with molecular gastronomy.


Zoë is working as a research coordinator in the Mind & Body Lab during her gap year before college. She primarily works on studies examining the influence of mindsets about the COVID-19 pandemic on physiological biomarkers of inflammation. In 2021, she founded the HIP Hero Club, the global youth branch of Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s Heroic Imagination nonprofit, where she hopes to use social psychology to inspire social activism in students. As a former competitive ski racer, Zoë likes to spend her free time outside, whether in the snow at home in Colorado or exploring new hiking/running trails near Stanford.


 Megan is working as a research coordinator in the Mind & Body Lab. She received a BA in Biomedical Engineering from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Megan’s research focuses primarily on understanding mindsets around disease and illness and developing interventions aimed at altering these mindsets in a clinical/treatment setting. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels, spending time outside with her dog, and listening to live music.



Rachael is a Fulbright Scholar and visiting researcher in the Mind & Body Lab. She is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She also received her Master of Health Psychology from the University of Auckland in 2022. Rachael’s current research focuses on how mindsets towards chronic illness and medical treatments influence people’s health experiences and clinical outcomes. She is particularly interested in developing interventions that leverage mindset to improve health and health care. Rachael loves to spend her free time listening to music, exploring the outdoors, and hunting for a good coffee.



Dr. Lauren Heathcote is an Associate Professor of Health Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London. From 2016 - 2021, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford Medical School, and a member of the Mind & Body Lab and the Biobehavioral Pediatric Pain Lab (PI: Laura Simons). Originally from the UK, she received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford in 2016. Her research bridges experimental health psychology and medical science with the aim of developing novel methods for understanding and harnessing adaptive mindsets about the body in adolescent health. She is particularly interested in the interpretation of physical symptoms as signals of bodily threat, and the consequences of these interpretations on behavior and physiology. 



BRAD TURNWALD (2019 - 2021) - Behavioral Scientist at University of Chicago Booth School of Business

LAUREN HOWE (2017 - 2018) - Assistant Professor at University of Zurich

Graduate Students

ERIK SANTORO (2017 - 2023) Postdoc at Columbia Business School

DANIELLE BOLES (2017 - 2023) Senior Researcher, Food for Climate League

SEAN ZION (2016 - 2022) - Senior Manager, Behavioral Science Research at Blue Note Therapeutics

KARI LEIBOWITZ (2015 - 2020) - Health Psychologist, Speaker, and Writer

ERIC SMITH (2014 - 2020) - Postdoc at University of Texas at Austin

BRAD TURNWALD (2014 - 2019) - Postdoc at Stanford University

LAUREN HOWE (2014 - 2017) - Assistant Professor at University of Zurich

OCTAVIA ZAHRT (2015-2020) - Human Resources Analytics at European Central Bank


Lab Managers

ERIK SANTORO (2014 - 2017)



Research Coordinators

RINA HORII (2018 - 2020)

KRIS EVANS (2016 - 2020)

MAGGIE PERRY (2016 - 2019)


DANIELLE BOLES (2015 - 2017)

RACHEL HANEY (2015 - 2016)


Honors Thesis Students

FORREST DOLLINS (2021 - 2022)

ELIZA PINK (2020 - 2021)


ANGELA LEE (2018 - 2019)

TAYLOR DUARTE (2017 - 2018)

STEVE RATHJE (2017 - 2018)

RINA HORII (2017 - 2018)









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