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:

Jolene Nguyen-Cuu

Jolene is a fourth-year undergraduate student earning 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 started as a DiSH Lab RA, and although she knows it will be a challenge to fill Angela's shoes, she is incredibly honored and excited to now manage the lab. Outside the lab, Jolene loves to catch up with friends and explore all the best restaurants that Yelp has to offer!


Britt Ahlstrom

Britt received her BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota and went on to work for two years as the lab manager of Traci Mann's Health and Eating Laboratory. She’s excited to begin in UCLA’s Health Psychology Program in fall 2013, where she will research the relationship between stress eating and evolutionary mechanisms. Britt is also glad to join the to DiSH lab as she hopes to pick up some cooking skills from this team of foodie exraordinaires. Learn more here!

Jenna Cummings

Jenna is a second year student in UCLA’s Health Psychology doctoral program. In her baccalaureate studies at University of South Florida she studied drinking alcohol and developed interests in studying eating too - after all, alcohol has calories! She is currently developing a program of research examining the overlap and divergence in alcohol and food consumption. 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 second 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.

Student Collaborators:

Jeffrey Hunger

Broadly speaking, Jeff's research examines how stigma and discrimination influence psychological and physical health. Although he is interested in stigma more broadly, much of his current work focuses on weight stigma. He is also interested in how obesity-related communications (e.g., news coverage of the "obesity epidemic") might influence weight bias. When not in the lab, Jeff is enjoying the great weather and produce that Santa Barbara has to offer. Learn more at

Mary Himmelstein

Mary is a doctoral student 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!

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 Emeriti:

Kate E. Byrne Haltom

Becky Kim

David Lowry

Trissa McClatchey

Jacob Miller

Alex Russell

Lydia Russell-Roy

Wanda Truong

Danielle Vinas

Lab Dog:

Cashew Chicken Tomiyama

Cashew joined the DiSH Lab this past fall and has been loving all the attention and constant petting she gets around the lab! She is also the official greeter and loves to run around welcoming you into the lab.

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Shana Bird

Lauren Callahan

Bernice Cheung

Gloria Chong

Ilana Greenberg

Emilie Komnaes

Sophia Krakowiak

Marisa LoBuglio

Isaac Mirzadegan

Patricia Natalie

Allison Newell

Peter Nooteboom

Natalie Okuhara

Marian Popescu

Artin Saeidi

David Sica

Erin Standen

Megan White