feedback

The Twins Project

The Scientists


●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Kathryn Paige Harden, Ph.D

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Dr. Paige Harden received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia in 2009. She completed her internship at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. She joined the Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin in August 2009. She is the co-director of The Twin Project at The University of Texas.

For more, visit her lab website.


●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Elliot M. Tucker-Drob, Ph.D

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Elliot Tucker-Drob is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Faculty Research Associate at the Population Research Center and the Center on Aging and Population Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Tucker-Drob received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and has held fellowships at Harvard Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. He co-founded and co-directs the Texas Twin Project.

For more, visit his lab website.


●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Aditi Sabhlock

Graduate Student

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Aditi is a rising 5th year clinical graduate student in the Harden Lab. After graduating from Duke University, she worked as a Clinical Research Associate at the Duke ADHD program, before entering the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at UT. Here she has grown both her research and clinical interests in child and adolescent wellbeing and psychopathology, particularly externalizing and disruptive behaviors, such as ADHD, oppositional defiance, and conduct disorders. Her current program of research, using the Texas Twin cohort, integrates investigation into the relative genetic and environmental contributions to achievement in middle childhood, focusing on how cognitive functioning and social inequalities relate to childhood academic attainment. She is very excited for Texas twins’ ongoing participation this summer!


●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Vanessa Fishel

Project Manager

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Vanessa began as a Project Manager for the Texas Twin Project in 2021. She is from central Pennsylvania and went to college at the University of Pittsburgh (aka “Pitt”). After graduating with a B.S. in Psychology, she stayed in Pittsburgh and worked for both Pitt and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital doing research. Her work in Pittsburgh included running MEG/EEG & MRI scans to study first episode psychosis, and studying the efficacy of reduced-nicotine cigarettes on smoking cessation. Vanessa is fascinated by many areas of psychology and is particularly interested in alcoholism and the various factors that contribute to recovery and sobriety. Someday she would like to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.


●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Liza Vinnik

Data Scientist

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

Liza Vinnik graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A.in Psychology with honors, and a minor in Philosophy. Prior to joining the Texas Twin Project, she completed her undergraduate thesis, under the guidance of Dr. Elliot Tucker-Drob, examining genetic and environmental links between different domains of conduct problems and academic achievement. She worked as a project coordinator on the Texas Twin Project from 2019-2021 and subsequently transitioned to a data scientist role.



Madison Ecklund


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hello, my name is Madison Ecklund and I am a junior double-majoring in Psychology and Humanities through the Liberal Arts Honors program here at UT. I initially joined the Texas Twin Project back in 2020, pre-pandemic, and I am thrilled the lab has opened again! In the coming months, I will be writing my senior thesis using data from the Texas Twin Project. This opportunity to complete my own project with the guidance of Dr. Harden and the lab staff is really exciting! As I look ahead to graduate school, I am grateful for how much I have been able to learn and experience while working on the Texas Twin Project! When I’m not in class or in the lab, I serve as VP Health, Wellness, and Accountability for my sorority, Alpha Phi, volunteer as a student ambassador for LAH, and love trying local coffee shops around Austin!

Mahi Kovvuru


Undergraduate Research Assistant

My name is Mahi and I am a sophomore Neuroscience and Humanities major at UT Austin. I am currently pursuing a future in medicine and hope to eventually open my own non-profit. In my free time I love watching movies, listening to music, and going to the gym!

Luis Chinchilla


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hello! I am a fourth-year student on the pre-med track. I am originally from El Salvador, but I have lived in Houston since I was 6 years old. As a DACA recipient, it has been an honor of mine to demonstrate to other immigrant students like myself that great achievements can come with hard-work, dedication, and a lot of faith in what you do. But of course, this would have never been possible without the support of my family and my community; two things that are very important to me. As I work towards my dream of becoming a family physician, I want to be able to work with kids and young adults because they are the future. Thanks to the Texas Twin Project, I have the opportunity to do so.

Maya Duran


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hey! My name is Maya Duran and I’m a third year BSA Biochemistry major pursuing minors in Spanish for the Healthcare Professions and Music Performance. I’m also in the Patients, Practitioners, and Cultures of Care Bridging Disciplines Program, which really ties into the interdisciplinary nature of our lab! I wanted to work with the Texas Twin Project to get a deeper look into the interplay between environment and genetics, and how that might be taken into account in a medical context. I hope to become a child or adolescent psychiatrist and continue with psychology and behavioral genetics research. In my spare time, I love to try out new dessert recipes, listen to some live music, or go hiking!

Mihir Gupta


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hey, my name is Mihir and I’m a sophomore in Plan II and Biochemistry with a concentration in Astrobiology. I’m currently involved with scientific research in biochemistry and in psychology! I’m researching in the Texas Twin Project because I want to understand human development on a more fundamental level. My future goals are to catch up on sleep and then go to graduate school!

Malorie Jackson


Undergraduate Research Assistant

I’m Malorie Jackson and I’m currently an English Major with a Creative Writing Certificate at UT. Unsurprisingly, this means I enjoy things such as reading and writing but I also like to draw, bake (though I’m an admittedly awful cook), and play with my cat. I’m currently at the Texas Twin Project to gain experience with children of various ages. In the future, I hope to work with kids and teens, helping them improve their skills and confidence as young writers.

Varunika Selvakumar


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Varunika and I am a psychology major and computer science minor. I am interested in the intersection between genetics and psychology, and how our environment and our genes shape the way we think. I chose to work with the Texas Twin Project because it allows me the opportunity to get hands-on experience working in a lab that conducts behavioral genetics studies and gain experience in an exciting field. For fun, I like to read, bake, and have movie nights with my friends.

Sadia Samin


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hi, my name is Sadia and I’m a Chemistry major and a Law, Justice, and Society minor here at UT Austin! I really enjoy dancing, cooking/baking, and making artwork! I am also interested in pursuing a career in research in the future! I decided to join the Texas Twin Project because I was really interested in the psychology regarding children and wanted to learn more about it.

Caroline Whitmarsh


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hello! My name is Caroline Whitmarsh and I am a sophomore Psychology and Plan II Honors double major at UT. In addition to researching with the Texas Twin Project, I represent the College of Liberal Arts at various university events through Texas Phanos. I come from a family with multiple sets of twins (although I am not a twin myself), and over time I have developed a significant interest in how twins work together. I was so excited to learn that my university has research dedicated to twins! For fun, I love exploring Austin’s beautiful parks, reading (ideally at these parks), and practicing yoga. In the future, I plan to pursue graduate degrees in psychology and hope to research, work with, and advocate for neurodevelopmental differences and disorders in children. 

Darlynn Barrera


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hi everyone! My name is Darlynn Barrera, and I am a first-year student here at UT. I am currently majoring in Psychology on a pre-law track, and I hope to become an international business lawyer. I choose to work with the Texas Twin Project because it is a great opportunity to gain experience in a research laboratory as well as expand my knowledge on what it is like to work with children and their families. In my free time, I like to dance and workout. 

Mishal Karedia


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hi! I’m Mishal Karedia! I’m currently an undergraduate Psychology Major and Sociology Minor Honor student at The University of Texas at Austin. I joined the Texas Twin Project in hopes of gaining more experience with research, children, and cognitive testing. The Texas Twin Project allows me to utilize and strengthen different strengths while allowing me to become a more trustworthy and responsible young adult. In the future, I hope to become a Counseling Psychologist specializing in helping children who deal with mental illnesses. I enjoy helping others, spending time with friends and family, reading, and being outdoors (hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.). I love working with different people and making new relations!




Andrew Wagner


Alumni Research Assistant

My name is Andrew, and I am a senior biology major here at The University of Texas at Austin. Also, fun fact: I am a triplet, so I love working with twins and other multiples and can definitely relate to what it’s like to have siblings that are the same age! I will be graduating this spring of 2022 and will be attending medical school starting this fall. I am interested in family medicine, internal medicine, and oncology. Growing up in a small, rural town in southeast Texas, one of my main goals is to increase the quality and accessibility of healthcare in rural clinics and hospitals. I hope to give back to these communities that desperately need doctors who care about the health and wellbeing of the people in these areas. In my spare time, I love to play the guitar and go hiking. I am thrilled to be a part of the Texas Twin Project that links my interests of biology as well as psychology.

Sophia Eggenberger


Alumni Research Assistant

I graduated from UT with a B.A. in psychology last December, and now I’m working in the Twin Lab and at an ABA therapy center for children in Austin. I chose to work in the twin lab because I’m really interested in how the environment can shape development. I also think that working with twins is a unique and very important area of research. After this summer, I will be moving to San Antonio to earn my master’s degree in School Psychology at Trinity University!

Dede Nguyen


Alumni Research Assistant

My name is Dede, and I am a human development and family sciences major at UT, with minors in social work and sociology. I am fascinated by how biological and societal factors shape the course of human life. I chose to work with the Texas Twin Project because this study gives me a hands-on approach on studying how genetics and other factors can impact cognition in children. For fun, I like to draw, paint, or write creatively. My future goals are to pursue a masters in either social work or counseling to become a licensed marriage and family therapist.