Meet our Team

National Endowment of the Arts Research Labs

Robert M. Bilder, Ph.D.

Principle Investigator

Dr. Bilder has more than 30 years experience in research on brain-behavior relations, with experience in clinical neuropsychology, neurophysiology, structural and functional neuroimaging, and genomics strategies as these are applied to the study of both healthy people and those with various neurological and psychiatric syndromes. He is particularly interested in dimensional approaches to understanding mental processes, and in understanding the biological underpinnings of creative cognition. He directs the Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity and the Mind Well program of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative.

Armen Arevian, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor-in-Residence

Dr. Armen Arevian is Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA; Director of the Innovation Lab at the Semel Institute at UCLA; Director of the Translational Technology and Communications Core at the California Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health; and Director of the Consultation-Liason and Telepsychiatry at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. He received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon University through the Medical Scientist Training Program and his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh.

Daniel Seeff

West Coast Director

Daniel Seeff is the program director of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He also directs the Institute’s Los Angeles public school outreach programming, including Jazz in the Classroom and BeBop to Hip-Hop, and serves as an associate producer of the Institute’s annual International Jazz Competition. Seeff coordinated the Institute’s summer jazz colony for six years and has produced dozens of Institute educational concerts in Los Angeles. He is the host and producer of the hip-hop and jazz radio show ExcursionsRadio on KJazz in Los Angeles. Seeff is also a bassist and guitarist who has toured internationally and performed on many major label albums with artists such as Eminem, Jay-Z, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Cypress Hill. He co-wrote and played bass on the number 6 Billboard hit song “The Man” by Aloe Blacc and wrote music for and played on Grammy-nominated albums by Anderson .Paak, Ledisi, and the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning animated feature film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Ariana Anderson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor In-Residence, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Dr. Ariana E. Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, and the Director of the Laboratory of Computational Neuropsychology in the Medical Psychology- Neuropsychology Division. She received her B.S. in Mathematics and her Ph.D. in Statistics followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. She develops algorithms to identify and treat disease using all data modalities, from behavioral assessments to neuroimaging. She is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, as well as a K25 Career Award from the NIA on neurovascular correlates of dementia. Her baby monitor for Deaf parents, ChatterBaby, was awarded first prize in MHealth Apps in UCLA's 2016 Code for the Mission competition. She has served as a reviewer for both the NIH and the NSF, and has published on a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Marissa Stinnett

Research Lab Coordinator

Marissa Stinnett is a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in English in September 2020. She believes in the power of the arts, specifically in its ability to contribute to well-being and overall health. Marissa has worked on several research projects as an undergraduate while at UCLA, including working with Dr. Robert Bilder in the early stages of his work with Emotional Well-Being. Marissa hopes to attend medical school in the near future and to become a leader in the fields of Medical Humanities and Health Humanities.

Diana Hereld

Research Advisor

Diana Hereld (she/hers) is a doctoral candidate of Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University completing her intern year in neuropsychology in New York. She holds an M.A. in music and integrated studies from the University of California, San Diego where she examined the use of musical intensity in affect regulation for reducing self-destructive behavior. She enjoyed two years of clinical training at UCLA Semel Institute and has a special interest in working with neurosurgical populations. Diana has studied vocal performance internationally and continues to enjoy singing and playing the piano. Her research explores the use of music interventions in affect regulation and neuropsychological rehabilitation. She is pursuing a career as a clinical neuropsychologist involved in research and advocacy in an academic medical setting.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Bios

Rishika Vorgunti

Senior Research Assistant

Rishika (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA. She is currently pursuing her B.S. in Biology. Dance is her favorite art form because it allows her to feel more in tune with her body and emotions. Expressing herself through various styles of dance has continued to give her an immense amount of joy, even from when she was only three years old to now. At the NEA Research Lab at UCLA, she is excited to conduct her personal research proposal on Tibetan sound bowl meditation and heart rate variability. She hopes my findings from this study will encourage other higher education institutions to implement meditation as an essential self-care task. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school after applying for this upcoming application cycle!

Austin Ma

Senior Research Assistant

Austin is a 3rd-year Cognitive Science major with a minor in Statistics at UCLA. His favorite art form is music, since he has played the piano for over 10 years. He grew up playing Classical music, but he also enjoys listening to pop/RNB/jazz. In fact, one of his research interests he hopes to explore in the NEA Research Lab at UCLA is how jazz impacts psychological well-being differently from other musical genres. After college, Austin hopes to either pursue a career in Product Management or User Research, or continue graduate studies in Cognitive Psychology.

Sophie Lawrence

Senior Research Assistant

Sophie (she/her/hers) is a fourth year undergraduate student at UCLA who is pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Education Studies. She loves to paint because she is able to create something messy and imperfect, which makes it a relaxing experience. Sophie finds the work that NEA Research Lab at UCLA is doing to be so exciting because the extent to which art can benefit wellbeing is still being uncovered, and it has the potential to serve as an accessible and effective intervention in a multitude of contexts. She is especially interested in exploring the role that artistic expression can play in improving the well-being and thus the academic performance of students. After she graduates, Sophie plans to assist in research laboratories that study the mechanisms behind psychological development and wellbeing and their effects on learning and productivity. Her long-term plans include teaching K-12 students, teaching college-level psychology, and someday working as a clinical psychologist and conducting research of her own.

Emily Vu

Research Assistant

Emily (she/her) is a third-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Physiological Sciences and pursuing a minor in Film, Television, and Digital Media studies. She cites her favorite art forms being movies and musical theatre. She especially appreciates these mediums because they combine the visual artistry of cinematography and set design, with the musicality of a soundtrack or score for a multi-sensory experience that she loves to share with her friends and family. During her time at the NEA Research Lab at UCLA, Emily is most excited to explore how the arts can be integrated into future care systems and specifically, the role cinema may play in promoting patient wellness. Emily hopes to attend medical school after receiving her undergraduate degree, potentially pursuing a career in family medicine or orthopedics.

Lily (Wenyue) Li

Research Assistant

Lily (she/her) is a second-year student studying Psychology. She is delighted to be a part of the NEA Research Lab at UCLA. Her favorite art form is visual art, specifically photography, because she enjoys capturing and documenting candid moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. She is interested in exploring photography as an intervention for improved mental health and its application to autism interventions. In the future, Lily hopes to attend graduate school programs related to psychology and to continue striving toward the goal of helping others.

Hailey Miranda

Research Assistant

Hailey (she/her) is a first-year student at UCLA. She is currently a Pre-Human Biology and Society major and hopes to pursue a minor in Bioinformatics. Her favorite forms of art are music and fashion, and she is excited to explore her passions at the NEA Research Lab at UCLA. More specifically, she intends to find holistic, arts-based medical solutions and rewrite the healthcare narrative for diverse, underrepresented communities. Hailey's future goals include attending graduate school and becoming a health care professional who views medicine from a holistic perspective. Until then, her current goal is to conquer the long walk back to her dorm after a long day of classes.