Lab Director:

Dr. A. Janet Tomiyama

The DiSH Lab is run by Dr. A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor in the department of Psychology. Dr. T embodies the “research is me-search” cliché and is a huge foodie. It should come as no surprise, then, that a major theme in her research is understanding the potentially negative psychological and biological consequences of dieting.

Curriculum Vitae

Lab Manager:

Erin Standen

Erin recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in Psychobiology and Spanish. She initially became interested in the DiSH lab after participating in one of the lab's studies on weight stigma, and she’s been hooked on the lab’s fascinating research ever since! Needless to say, she’s delighted to now be the DiSH lab manager. Outside the lab, Erin loves traveling, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

Project Manager:

Jolene Nguyen-Cuu

Jolene earned her BS in Psychobiology from UCLA. Funny enough, she heard about the DiSH Lab through a friend's Facebook status and being a lover of food and psychology, she had to know more. She first started as a DiSH Lab RA, but she has also had the privilege of being the lab manager for over two years. Now, she is managing two studies in the lab, as she is currently applying to medical school. Outside the lab, Jolene loves to catch up with friends and explore all the best restaurants that Yelp has to offer!

Graduate Students:

Angela C. Incollingo Rodriguez

Angela is a third year PhD student majoring in Health Psychology. Her program of research focuses on understanding how various psychological and biological stressors can influence our eating behaviors and weight, and how our eating behaviors and weight can, in turn, lead to psychological and biological stress. In particular, she is currently examining these processes in the context of weight stigma and pregnancy. Click here to learn more about Angela.

Jenna Cummings

Jenna is a fourth year student in UCLA’s Health Psychology program. In her baccalaureate studies at University of South Florida she studied alcohol use and developed interests in eating too - after all, alcohol has calories! Her program of research crosses work on eating and alcohol use while exploring topics like reward, reinforcement, genetics, social relationships, and stress. Her broader aspirations include extending past the scientific community and improving health in the larger community at risk. Outside lab (or sometimes in) you'll catch her dancing, unconsciously singing, and tasting new dishes of course! You can learn more here.

Laura Finch

Laura is a fifth year graduate student in UCLA's Health Psychology program. She earned her B.S. in Human Development at Cornell University with concentrations in Social and Personality development and Nutrition and Health. Laura's research interests center on understanding the biopsychosocial causes and effects of eating behavior. Her most recent work focuses on comfort eating, including both the physiological underpinnings driving this behavior, and the psychological benefits it reaps via stress reduction. Outside the lab, Laura loves being outdoors, whether it's hiking, snowboarding or playing tennis.

Postdoctoral Scholar:

Jeffrey Hunger

Broadly speaking, Jeff is interested in using insights from social and personality psychology to understand and improve population health. Jeff is particularly interested in the mechanisms by which social and structural conditions (e.g., discrimination) can contribute to poorer mental and physical health among stigmatized populations. Much of his current work is focused on elucidating the mental and physical effects of weight-based social identity threat. In other lines of research, Jeff examines factors that contribute to (and mitigate) anti-fat bias, exploring the potentially detrimental consequences of perceiving oneself as "overweight," and working to understand the personal and social influences on cardiometabolic health among higher bodyweight individuals. Learn more at

Faculty Collaborators:

Elliot Berkman, University of Oregon

Gretchen Chapman, Rutgers

Elissa Epel, UCSF

Daniel Hoffman, Rutgers

Barbara Laraia, UCSF

Brenda Major, UCSB

Traci Mann, University of Minnesota

Peggy Policastro, Rutgers

Eli Puterman, UCSF

Andrew Ward, Swarthmore College

DiSH Lab Alumni:

Dr. Britt Ahlstrom

Britt graduated from UCLA’s Health Psychology Ph. D. program in Fall of 2016, and is now an employee at SpaceX. Prior to entering the DiSH Lab, Britt worked for two years as the laboratory manager of the Health and Eating Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. Britt is interested in improving the nutrition and psychological experience of individuals in extreme and isolated environments. To contact Britt or to see recent updates, check out!

Dr. Mary Himmelstein

Mary recently earned her Ph. D. in social psychology and intradisciplinary health at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her research concerns three areas as they relate to health, healthcare and stress outcomes: (1) stigma and prejudice, (2) chronic dieting and obesity, and (3) gender beliefs. Outside of the lab Mary enjoys kayaking, hiking and camping at the Delaware Water Gap. As in most of the DISHRAGS she always has room for the ultimate trifecta: good food, good friends and good wine! Learn more here!

Lab Dog:

Cashew Chicken Tomiyama

Cashew is the official lab greeter, as she loves to run around welcoming people into the lab. She joined the DiSH Lab a few years ago, and ever since has been loving all the attention and constant petting she gets around the lab!

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Ashley Andalon-Venegas

Brandon Carone

Wellington Chang

Brandon Chao

Grace Chen

Alyssa Choi

Kristienne Edrosolan

Keenan Fine

Lindsay Hong

Kara Hoover

Kristin Horrillo

Kate Karimian

Trung Le

Kristen Lee

Sophie Lee

Spandana Madhava

Tanvi Mamtora

Dorothy Nguyen

Grace Nguyen

Melanie Nisenson

Rachel Paul

Emma Schopp

Romina Shah

Jessica Toghian

Melissa Walman

Sam Xiong