Meet the Research Team

Dr. Lynn Martire


Lynn Martire is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies  at The Pennsylvania State University. She joined HDFS in 2010 after being on the faculty in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychiatry from 1999 to 2010.  Lynn received BA and MA degrees in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento; a PhD in Social Psychology from Kent State University; and postdoctoral training in aging and mental health at the University of Pittsburgh. She is an affiliate of Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging, an interdisciplinary research center housed within the College of Health and Human Development.

Dr. Martire is a social/health psychologist with expertise in family relationships and health.   The illness populations that she has studied include osteoarthritis, depression, dementia, spinal cord injury, and obstructive sleep apnea.  This work has been supported by the National Institute on Aging; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute.  Dr. Martire’s work is published in aging, health, and psychology journals such as Psychology and Aging, Health Psychology, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Dr. Martin Sliwinski

sliwinskiMy research examines how aspects of everyday experiences influence a person’s ability to memorize, reason and concentrate. Specifically, I am interested in linking micro-level processes (e.g., everyday stress, affect, rumination) to long-term changes in mental, physical and cognitive health. My current research falls into three general areas.

First, I am interested in the developmental pathways leading from stressful experiences to cognitive impairment in middle and older aged adults. A theoretical model guiding this research links environmental influences (e.g., daily stressors, life events) to physiological dysregulation and cognitive decline via ruminative processes (e.g., intrusive thoughts). This model offers mechanisms to explain how stress can influence cognitive function across different time scales, ranging from moments within a day to years.

Second, I’m interested in developing tools for ambulatory assessment of cognitive function in daily life and measurement of cognitive change over longer intervals. Traditional measurement approaches rely on objective (performance based) and subjective (self-report) assessments of cognition made in clinic or interview settings on a single occasion. Unmeasured sources of within-person variability, retrospective reporting biases and the artificial nature of standard testing environments negatively impact test reliability, measurement accuracy, and ecological validity of standard approaches to cognitive assessment. These problems impede the sensitive measurement of cognitive change and delay detection of clinical conditions, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. To address these problems, we use mobile technology to embed brief cognitive assessments into ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and daily diary designs.

 Suyoung Nah

 Suyoung Nah is a first-year doctoral student in HDFS at Penn State. She is interested in the association between family relationships and health in midlife and older adulthood. Suyoung earned her BA in Consumer Studies and Child Studies and her MA in Child Development and Family Studies from Seoul National University, Korea.

Ashley Stanford

PictureAshley Stanford is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. She is interested in the development and implementation of interventions for caregivers. Ashley earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Dr. Ruixue Zhaoyang

PictureRuixue Zhaoyang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State. Her research focuses on the association between close relationships and health within daily activities and across the lifespan. Ruixue earned her B.S. and M.A. in Social Psychology from Nankai University, China, and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from University of Missouri.



Emily Repka

PictureEmily Repka earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State in 2011.  Since then, she has been employed as a Research Technologist at the Center for Healthy Aging where she has been involved in a number of projects, including the Transitions Study.