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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.  




Jesse is the lab manager at MBL. He previously received a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University, where he wrote a senior thesis exploring how psychological and neurobiological research should inform philosophical theories of well-being. Jesse is interested in how wise interventions delivered in schools can promote purpose, health, and well-being among adolescents. In his free time, Jesse enjoys swing dancing, watching professional sports, and hunting for buried treasure.



Lauren Heathcote is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford Medical School. She is a member of the Biobehavioral Pediatric Pain Lab (PI: Laura Simons) and the Mind and Body Lab. 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. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys exploring California and the U.S., bachata dancing, and finding the best coffee in San Francisco.


Danielle Boles


Danielle received her BA in Psychology and Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on improving mindsets about diet and health, enhancing the experience of healthy eating, and measuring the power of such mindsets and experiences to influence behavior and physiology. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys learning oldies songs on the guitar and ukulele, working on 1000+ piece puzzles, and indulging in green smoothies, fried chicken, and donuts.


Melissa is a Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Akron. 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.


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.


Erik received a BA in Economics from Yale University, where he formed the discussion group The Examined Life and developed a love for deep introspection.   After working in the world of management consulting for two years at Bain & Co, Erik was excited to try his hand at mindset research and application as the inaugural MBL lab manager.  Erik is especially interested in understanding how to harness the power of beliefs to improve our everyday experiences and physiology.  In his free time, Erik enjoys reading science fiction and tech blogs, staying in touch with long-distance friends, exercising on the elliptical machine, and eating cookies.


Sean started his PhD in Social Psychology at Stanford in the fall of 2016. He is interested in how patients’ mindsets, beliefs, and expectations impact physical health, treatment outcomes, and well being. His current work focuses on understanding how mindsets about illness function in patients with chronic illness. Prior to joining MBL, Sean received a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MA in Psychology from Boston University. He also spent two years working in clinical research at Harvard Medical School and teaching undergraduate psychology classes at BU. When he’s not in the lab, Sean enjoys traveling, kayaking, listening to audiobooks, and exploring California with his Australian Shepherd, Tucker.



Forrest is a senior majoring in Psychology who has been a research assistant with the Mind & Body Lab since his freshman year at Stanford. He is also a certified personal trainer who is passionate about exercise science and nutrition. Forrest’s senior honors thesis will examine the efficacy of psychological interventions that aim to improve participants’ mental and physical health behaviors concurrently, compared with interventions that do so separately/sequentially. When Forrest isn’t in a classroom or in the lab, you’ll probably find him lifting weights, running, listening to an audiobook, or watching a stand-up comedy special.



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

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

ELIZA PINK (2020 - 2021)


ANGELA LEE (2018 - 2019)

TAYLOR DUARTE (2017 - 2018)

STEVE RATHJE (2017 - 2018)

RINA HORII (2017 - 2018)





2015 lab photo