Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Ph.D.

Dr. Sauer-Zavala is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky (UK) and is the founding Director of Clinical Services at the UK Clinic for Emotional Health. Dr. Sauer-Zavala received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from UK in 2011; she completed her predoctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at Boston University. She then spent seven years on the faculty in BU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Science before returning home to UK in 2019. Her research is focused on exploring emotion-focused mechanisms that maintain psychological symptoms and using this information to develop more targeted, easily-disseminated intervention strategies. Her research has been supported by NIMH, NIAAA, Templeton Foundation, the Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Dr. Sauer-Zavala has co-authored over 110 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and  books. In particular, she is a co-developer of the Unified Protocol and the founding director of the Unified Protocol Institute; she remains involved in consultation and training for this intervention. Email Dr. Sauer-Zavala at and follow her on twitter at @SauerZavala

Matt Southward, Ph.D.

Matt is a Research Assistant professor in the TIPS Lab. He received his PhD in 2019 from The Ohio State University working with Dr. Jennifer S. Cheavens, and he completed his pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. He is interested in using open science practices with translational behavioral research to better understand, optimize, and personalize the processes of change in therapy, specifically among those with mood and personality disorders. To this end, he has investigated facets of emotion regulation flexibility, the quality of participants’ emotion regulation skills, and the role of acceptance- and change-based skills on within- and between-person changes in DBT. His research has been supported by funding from the NIH and Ohio State. Matt currently serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12). Email Matt at, follow him on Twitter @Matt_Southward_, and see a full list of his research at Google Scholar and on OSF.

Doctoral Students

Stephen Semcho, M.A.

Stephen is a fifth-year doctoral student in the TIPS Lab who is currently on internship at VA Lexington. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his Master of Arts in Clinical Health Psychology from Appalachian State University in 2014. Prior to attending UK, Stephen worked as a licensed clinician in Asheville, NC, and contributed to research in substance use, mindfulness, and emotion regulation. Stephen is interested in the identification, classification, and assessment of transdiagnostic factors of psychopathology, as well as the advancement of personalized transdiagnostic cognitive-behavorial interventions. Email Stephen at                         

Nicole Stumpp, M.S.

Nicole is a fourth-year doctoral student in the TIPS program. She graduated from Centre College in May 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted research on implicit racial bias. After graduation, Nicole served as a Mental Health Technician at The Ridge Behavioral Health System working with adolescents in the psychiatric and chemical dependency units. Nicole is broadly interested in self-injurious behaviors, borderline personality disorder, and outcomes of inpatient treatment. Email Nicole at

Matina Fruhbauerova, M.S.

Martina is a fourth-year doctoral student of Clinical Psychology at UK. She received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Washington in June 2016. As an Honor’s Psychology student and a McNair scholar, she conducted her original research at the UW Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress with Dr. Lori Zoellner. Then, she spent 4.5 years working first as a research assistant and later as a lead research coordinator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Recovery (CSPaR) directed by Dr. Kate Comtois. Though Martina’s research interests remain broad, she’s passionate about cultivating new ways to understand, prevent, and treat self-harming and suicidal behaviors; the etiology and the mechanisms in the maintenance of severe psychopathology, specifically in borderline personality disorder; and developing methods to predict who will benefit from various evidence-based treatments, and the mechanisms of these treatments. Email Martina at

Doug Terrill, M.S.

Doug is a third-year doctoral student in the TIPS Lab. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2017 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and History. After graduation, Doug worked for a year and a half as a Lab Manager in the Family Relationships Lab at Indiana University directed by Dr. Amy Holtzworth-Munroe. He then moved to Rhode Island, and spent two years working as a Clinical Research Assistant in a partial hospitalization program directed by Dr. Mark Zimmerman at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. Doug is broadly interested in suicidal thoughts and behaviors, transdiagnostic mechanisms of psychopathology, personalized treatment, and factors that influence treatment outcomes in a variety of settings. Email Doug at

Alex Hines, M.S.

Alexandra is a third-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Kentucky and is an affiliate member of the TIPS lab. Her primary appointment is with Dr. Thomas Widiger’s research program. Alexandra graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice Studies. While at the University of Georgia, she worked in the Personality Studies Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Josh Miller and Dr. Courtland Hyatt and the Neuropsychology and Memory Assessment Lab under the mentorship of Dr. L. Stephen Miller. Alexandra’s research interests include personality, diagnosis and classification of psychopathology, and the development of mental health interventions. Email Alexandra at

Maddie Kushner, B.A.

Maddie is a second-year doctoral student in the TIPS Lab. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to joining the lab, Maddie worked as an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Sheri Johnson, and then as a research coordinator with Dr. Kiara Timpano at the University of Miami. Maddie’s research interests include emotion regulation, maladaptive behaviors, transdiagnostic mechanisms of psychopathology, and evidence-basedi nterventions which target them.

Research Assistants


Hannah Croom

Hannah is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in communication. Her primary interests include psychological disorders and interventions for psychological disorders. After graduation, Hannah plans to pursue a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology.



Eric Bridges

Eric is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. His primary interests include de-escalation techniques, destigmatizing marginalized mental health issues, understanding the effects of daily stressors and their coping strategies, as well as improving therapeutic practices. After graduation, Eric plans to pursue graduate school with the ultimate intention of earning a doctoral degree. 

Abrar Rahman

Abrar is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in neuroscience. His primary interests include topics regarding trauma, suicide, addiction and autism spectrum disorder. After graduation, Abrar plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.