Co-Project Leaders

Daniel A. Briley is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the development of personality, socioemotional skills, and academic achievement. The goal of this research is to better understand the pathways that children, adolescents, and adults can follow to obtain desired goals in the domains of health, career, and relationship success. To accomplish this goal, he examines the complex interconnections between genetic influences and environmental context. This work has demonstrated how the unique dispositions of individuals dynamically shape and interact with their environments, and how this process guides development.

Jennifer Tackett is a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota with minors in statistics, personality, and behavior genetics. She is also a graduate of the Texas Academy of Math and Science and Texas A&M University, and has held previous faculty appointments at the University of Toronto and the University of Houston. She is a senior editor at Collabra: Clinical Psychology and an associate editor at Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. She is also a former associate editor at the Journal of Personality, Perspectives in Psychological Science, the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, the Journal of Personality Disorders, Assessment, and the Journal of Research in Personality. When she isn’t working or joining her two hilarious and smart kiddos in a dance party, she enjoys playing piano or indulging her cross-stitch obsession.


Project Members


Cassandra Brandes is a clinical psychology Ph.D. student at Northwestern University, where she started in 2016. She is primarily interested in how psychosocial factors (such as parenting) and biological factors (such as genetics) are jointly related to children’s personality traits and mental health outcomes. Beyond this, she is also interested in the continuum between normal personality traits and psychopathology. Before coming to Northwestern, she completed her B.S. at the University of Oregon, where she also worked as a lab manager for two years following graduation.


Susana Sosa is a recent graduate with a B.S. in human development and family studies and a minor in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Robin Jarrett’s Ethnography Lab for two semesters, as well as Daniel Briley’s Personality and Cognition (PAC) Lab before becoming the PAC Lab manager. As a McNair Scholar, her senior thesis was advised by Daniel and examined the parent-child relationship influence on the psychological development of neuroticism in adolescence.


Anqing Zheng joined the doctoral program in the personality psychology area in 2016. She graduated from Tsinghua University in China with a B.A. in psychology. She is primarily interested in personality development throughout the lifespan, and in personality change that could inform education practices and interventions, where she integrates both psychological and behavior genetic approaches in her research.


Faculty Affiliates

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Jaime Derringer
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Roberts, Brent UIUC.jpg

Brent Roberts
Professor of Psychology



R. Chris Fraley
Professor of Psychology


Benjamin Hankin
Professor of Psychology


Leanne Knobloch
Professor of Communication


Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz
Assistant Professor of Political Science


Ruby Mendenhall
Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies; Assistant Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine


Brian Ogolsky
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies


Kelly Tu
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies


Yilan Xu
Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics


Northwestern University


Ravi Allada
Edward C. Stuntz Distinguished Professorship in Neuroscience


David Figlio
Orrington Lunt Professor and Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy


Claudia Haase
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Social Policy


Kristen Knutson
Associate Professor of Neurology; Associate Professor of Preventative Medicine; Associate Professor of Anthropology


Molly Losh
Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders; JoAnn and Peter Dolle Chair in Learning Disabilities


Greg Miller
Professor of Personality, Development and Health


Vijay Mittal
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology


Brian Mustanski
Director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing; Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Sciences


Fred W. Turek
Director & IAB Member of the Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology; Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Biology