Keely Muscatell, PHD

Keely Muscatell is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC Chapel Hill. Trained as a social neuroscientist, her research focuses on elucidating the neurobiological mechanisms that link social experiences and health. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, as she employs theory and methods from social psychology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, pharmacology, and population health. Keely completed post-doctoral training in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program at UCSF/UC Berkeley, and in the Psychology Department at Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA in June 2013, an MA in Psychology from UCLA in 2009, and a BA in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Oregon in 2006. When not in the lab, Keely can be found reading Dave Eggers, Ben Lerner, and Zadie Smith, watching college football, and/or drinking craft beer while listening to their vinyl collection with her partner, Dave Rose.



Monica M. Gaudier-Diaz

Monica M. Gaudier-Diaz is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She completed a BS in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico in 2008 and a PhD in Neuroscience at The Ohio State University. Interested in how environmental factors influence health, Monica decided to join to the Social Neuroscience & Health Laboratory were she will expand her training in this area. On her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, going to the beach, visiting the zoo, and trying new restaurants/ bars.



The Social Neuroscience and Health Lab is recruiting graduate students! We’d love to have you join us. For more information, see the “Join” page!”




Jennifer MacCormack, M.A. is a fifth year Ph.D. student in UNC's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She researches how bodily changes (e.g., interoceptive awareness, hunger, inflammation, physiological aging) can shift our emotions, social perceptions, and affect-based decisions. To test these connections, she draws on social cognition, peripheral psychophysiology, and neuroscience.When not researching or teaching, Jenn enjoys writing fiction, hiking through the Carolina Piedmont, or playing video games. Website:  Email:


Gabriella Alvarez 

Gabriella utilizes neuroscience and immunology to study how social inequality is represented in the brain and body.  Gaby recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award. She graduated from Washington University in St Louise, after which she spent two years working for the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland. 

In her spare time, Gaby enjoys playing with her kitten, eating, listening to her parrot, and exploring the hiking trails in Chapel Hill. 



Emma Armstrong-Carter

Emma Armstrong-Carter is the lab manager. She graduated in 2016 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests focus on child and adolescent development, and the social and cognitive conditions that underlie human experiences. She is the primary research coordinator for Dr. Muscatell.  She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in developmental psychology and become a professor.  In her free time Emma pets cats, draws, plays piano, hikes and goes boating and fishing. Email: or




Samantha Brosso

Samantha Brosso is a research technician. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in Spring 2017, majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience. Her research interests focus on how changes in the health of the brain impact cognitive and behavioral functioning in children. She is also interested in how stress can affect general health, and how this in turn influences the brain's role in regulating mood and behavior. She hopes to attend graduate school for clinical neuropsychology and to eventually become a pediatric neuropsychologist. During her free time, Samantha enjoys playing guitar, writing her own songs, going for a run, and playing with her two guinea pigs. 


Carrie  Hamilton

Carrie Hamilton is a programmer. She graduated from UNC in Spring 2017, majoring in environmental science and geography, but is sticking around to study psychology. She is interested in an intersection of social psychology and geography, and is especially interested in emotional, spatial, and temporal dynamics of bereavement and intimate relationships. In her free time, Carrie can be found annotating books, riding her bike, and desperately learning to cook.

Gary Wilkins

Gary Wilkins is a fMRI data analysis assistant whose primary role is constructing and managing a pipeline for human neuroimaging data. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics with a concentration in Physics and a minor in German Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He then worked as a research technician for Dr. Eva Anton at the Neuroscience Center, UNC School of Medicine, on projects relating to ciliopathies and 3/4/5D visualizations of the embryonic mouse brain through several states of development. He has also been published in Developmental Cell and Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. He enjoys kickball, hiking, and brewing beer.

Undergraduate Honors Students



Emmie Banks is a research assistant and honors student. She is a senior majoring in Psychology & Neuroscience. She is interested in the intersection of social cognition and psychophysiological responses. More specifically, Emmie has a background in moral judgment, which she hopes to illuminate with information from biological markers. Besides academics, Emmie can often be found lifting weights, snuggling with her kitten named Ghost, or wishing she traveled more. 



Saif Mehyar

Saif Mehyar is a research assistant and honors student. He is a senior majoring in Business and Psychology. He is particularly interested in how cognitive dissonance theory can help explain the neural correlates of conflict resolution and dissonance reduction in moral decision making and interracial interactions. For fun he likes to weightlift, read books on postcoloniality, and watch philosophy debates. 






Carrington Merritt is an honors student in the McNair Scholars Program. She is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology and Neuroscience. She is interested in researching the various neural correlates implicated in social cognitive deficits, specifically those found in schizophrenia and autism. For fun, Carrington enjoys running, teaching group fitness classes at UNC Campus Rec, and having movie nights with her roommates.





Ellie Wallace

Ellie Wallace is an undergraduate honors student.  She is a junior majoring in Psychology with minors in Chemistry and Creative Writing.  She is interested in looking at self-disclosure as a means of cognitive reward and specifically its role in the formation of relationships.  She hopes to attend medical school.  For fun she likes to go to UNC basketball games, watch Hallmark movies, and go running.




Graham Booth

Graham Booth is a research assistant. He is a second year student hoping to major in public health with minors in neuroscience and chemistry and plans to attend medical school. For research, he is interested in the physiological responses to stress as well as neuromuscular disorders. In his free time, Graham enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and petting dogs.





Krista Cannady

Krista Cannady is a research assistant. She is sophomore majoring in Biology, with a minor in Neuroscience. For research, she is interested in how stress is connected to inflammation in the body, which relates directly to autoimmune disorders. In her free time, Krista likes to spend time at the beach, hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, or listening to her favorite music.







Alex Haag

Alex Haag is a research assistant. He is a sophomore majoring in Biology and double minoring in Chemistry and History. He is interested in discovering new links between environmental factors and physiological response, specifically how the environment influences gene expression and suppression. He hopes to attend graduate school and study molecular biology. In his free time, Alejandro enjoys playing golf, traveling abroad, and cheering on the Tar Heels!




Arnav Singla

Arnav Singla is a research assistant. He is a junior majoring in Business Administration and double minoring in Biology and Chemistry. He is interested in the various socioeconomic factors that trigger stress and the responses, or biomarkers, associated with these triggers. Outside of the lab and classroom, Arnav enjoys going on long runs around campus, playing real soccer or FIFA (depending on the weather), and finding new cool playlists on Spotify!