Principal Investigator

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Dr. Misty Hawkins

Lab Director, Associate Professor at Indiana University

The REACH Lab is run by Dr. Misty A.W. Hawkins, an associate professor in the Department of Health & Wellness Design at in the School of Public Health IU. Dr. Hawkins is a clinical health psychologist and behavioral medicine researcher on a mission to understand the relationships between emotional factors (e.g. depression), cognitive factors (e.g., executive function), chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, cardiovascular disease) and health behaviors (e.g., eating, exercise, breastfeeding). She believes that understanding how the way we feel and think impacts our physical health (and vice versa) is the first step in combating hard-to-treat health conditions like obesity or promoting healthy behaviors like exercise and breastfeeding. When she's not doing research, Dr. Hawkins uses Netflix, Hulu, and PBS shows to keep her motivated on the treadmill (e.g., Downton Abbey, Drop Dead Diva, Dexter). Of course, running after and snuggling with her toddler helps keep happiness well within reach.

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GRADUATE Researchers

Graduate students bring the ideas and drive that make the REACH Lab successful.

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                  Kelsey Sinclair, MA

                     Graduate Student

Kelsey Sinclair is a first year behavioral health sciences graduate student at Indiana University. She received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Sam Houston State University. Kelsey’s research interests include the impact that eating behaviors, psychological distress and weight bias contribute to the perpetuation and development of negative health behaviors and how these behaviors impact other health outcomes. Additionally, Kelsey is interested in how to promote and maintain positive health behaviors and prevent negative health outcomes. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys exploring local coffee and book shops, hoarding books and occasionally reading them, and spending time with her dog, Lucy, and two cats, Momo and Appa. 

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                  Austin Medlin, BS

                     Graduate Student

Austin Medlin is a first-year biostatistics graduate student at Indiana University. He received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and mathematics from Oklahoma State University. Austin’s research interests include psychosocial stress and its impact on chronic diseases, as well as possible avenues for the prevention of these diseases. In his free time, Austin enjoys drinking coffee, playing video games, reading, and spending time outside with his dog, Henry.

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                            Harley Layman, MS

                                 Graduate Student

Harley Layman is a fourth-year clinical psychology graduate student at Oklahoma State University. She is currently funded by a NIH T32 training grant for doctoral biomedical researchers from underrepresented populations. Her research interests include investigating the relationship between mental and physical factors related to body image disturbance. Specifically, she is interested in examining how the internalization of and drive for different body ideals are associated with different eating and exercise behaviors, psychological factors (e.g., adverse childhood experiences), and physiological and neurocognitive consequences (i.e., inflammation and cognitive function). In her spare time, you can find her at the gym, walking her dog, Winston, watching Greys Anatomy, and playing games with friends. 

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                             Natalie Keirns, MS

                                   Doctoral Candidate

Natalie is a seventh-year clinical psychology graduate student at Oklahoma State University. She is currently funded by a NIH F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award which investigates the acute inflammatory effects of weight stigma. More broadly, her primary research interests involve discovering ways to utilize interactions between mental and physical health to improve overall well-being. Past and current projects have included issues of obesity, weight loss, weight stigma. eating behaviors, and psychosocial well-being. Outside of work, Natalie can probably be found watching Netflix with her friends and family or talking about her dog. She also enjoys good food & hanging with her lab mates. 

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                            Madison Stout, MS

                                 Doctoral Candidate

Madison Stout is a sixth-year clinical psychology graduate student at Oklahoma State University. Madison's research examines loneliness and social pain as psychosocial determinants and mechanisms of chronic health conditions; neurocognitive factors and their relation to the stress response (i.e., cortisol, inflammation); and psychosocial and neurocognitive factors that predict health behavior change (i.e., weight loss, HPV vaccination, and smoking cessation). Madison has matched for her pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care system and will complete her degree in summer 2023. In her free time, Madison is usually reading, crocheting, playing Mario Kart online with her sister, or scrolling through TikTok.

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Undergraduate Researchers

Dr. Hawkins is working to build a team of motivated and high-achieving undergraduate students at IU to make the REACH Lab research come to life while they receive valuable training experiences to help them succeed in fields like psychology, medicine, public health, nursing, counseling, etc. Click here for more information about undergraduate research opportunities.