Megan K. Mueller, Ph.D. (she/her)
Principal Investigator

Dr. Megan Mueller is an Associate Professor of human-animal interaction at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also Co-Director of the Tufts Initiative for Human-Animal Interaction, a senior fellow at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and teaches in the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy program at the Center for Animals and Public Policy.  Dr. Mueller’s research interests include companion animals and adolescent development, with a focus on positive youth development and teenagers experiencing social anxiety. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. Dr. Mueller currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Anthrozoology, as well as on the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond Advisory Board. Outside of the lab, she enjoys chasing her kids around, puttering in her vegetable garden with her dog Jett, and riding her horse Fox.

Evan Mingo, M.Phil (they/them)
Project Coordinator

Evan Mingo, M.Phil, is the Project Coordinator for the Teen & Dog Study at the PAW Lab. Evan graduated from Yale College in 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology and Ethnic Studies, and then completed a Masters of Sociology in the Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion at King’s College, Cambridge. Evan’s research interests mainly involve clinical consequences of discrimination and bias, environmental and intersectional stress, and diverse sampling and recruitment. Outside of the PAW Lab, Evan enjoys binge-watching movies and TV shows, playing board games, eating good food, and video games.

Jordanne Brown (she/her)
Research Associate

Jordanne Brown, B.S., is a Research Associate at the PAW Lab, working on the Teen & Dog Study. She recently graduated from Florida International University and the FIU Honors College in psychology. Her research interests predominately focus on social anxiety and ADHD in children/adolescents, alternative treatment methodology, and diverse family dynamics. Jordanne was also born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. She is incredibly passionate about her culture, driving her interest in racial, ethnic and cultural diversity. Outside the PAW Lab, Jordanne is an avid equestrian who loves finding new restaurants to eat at with friends and talking with her family.

Rachael Sabelli (she/her)
Projects Manager

Rachael, M.Sc., is the Projects Manager. She has worked at Tufts University since 2018 and is the project manager of multiple studies, including Dr. Megan Mueller’s Teen & Dog study and those in Dr. Margie Skeer’s substance use prevention laboratory. She received her Master of Science in Epidemiology from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2018. Prior to working with Dr. Skeer, Rachael lived and worked in Malawi as a project manager for programs focused on providing comprehensive HIV care to families and served in the Peace Corps (Malawi, 2010-2012).

Erin King, M.S. (she/her)
Ph.D. Student
, Doctoral Research Assistant

Erin King, M.S., is a student in the human-animal interaction track at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine PhD program. In addition to working in the Pets and Well-Being Lab, Erin is the Civic Life Coordinator at Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. Her current research project areas include equity and accessible veterinary care, student service -learning and civic engagement, and human-animal interaction.

Jiaqi Tian (she/her)
Research Assistant

Jiaqi Tian is a student in the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program at Tufts University. Her main interests lie in human-animal interaction and the human-animal bond. Specifically, she focuses on the role of companion animals in children’s development and how pets’ presence can impact the dynamics of human interaction. It’s worth noting that she is a proud owner of two lovely cats.

Keertti Sinnan (she/her)
Student Research Assistant

Keertti is an undergraduate studying Biology and Education on the pre-veterinary track at Tufts University. Her interests encompass small animal medicine, exotic pet medicine, and One Health. She has explored the relationship between humans and animals in these fields through various positions at veterinary clinics, therapy dog organizations, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and now the PAW Lab! Outside of animals, she loves video games, drag, and all things animation.

Niamh Guyer (she/her)
Student Research Assistant

Niamh is an undergraduate at Tufts University, studying biochemistry and biotechnology. She currently works at Armstrong Ambulance as an EMT and for Tufts EMS (TEMS). Niamh is very excited to be working with the PAW Lab, as she is interested in the human psychology involved in human-animal interactions. Niamh’s interests include spending time outdoors, late-night ice cream runs, and anything containing caffeine.

Jahniya Paul (she/her)
Student Research Assistant

Jahniya is an undergraduate at Tufts University, studying Chemistry on the pre-veterinary track. At Tufts, she is involved with Pre-Vet Society and Eco Art Club. She is drawn to the PAW Lab’s research exploring the interactions between human and animals, especially within the context of supporting youth development. This interdisciplinary work aligns seamlessly with her passion for integrating principles of psychology, and animal welfare into a future veterinary career. Outside of her academic interests, Jahniya loves traveling, crocheting, and spending time with family and friends.

Katie Dabney, M.S.
Research Assistant

Katie is a part-time research assistant in the PAW Lab. She has Bachelors’ degrees in Biology and Psychology from Shippensburg University and a M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. She currently works as a part-time research assistant at the Harvard University Evolutionary Neuroscience Lab comparing the behavior and brains of canines and humans. During her free time, she enjoys taking care of her many pets, snowboarding, and outdoor adventures. Katie is especially interested in how differences in the brains of dogs and humans relates to observable behaviors as well as human-dog interactions.

Elizabeth Robertson (she/her)
Research Assistant

Elizabeth is a part-time research assistant with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from Vassar College. She previously worked as an equine intern at Green Chimneys School. During her free time she enjoys going on walks with her dogs and volunteering at local barns.  Elizabeth is especially interested in the environmental factors that effect risk and resilience after exposure(s) to trauma.

PAW Lab Alumni

Eli Halbreich worked in the PAW lab as undergraduate student studying Psychology at the Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences. Eli is now a PhD Student at Texas Tech University studying human-animal interaction in youth.

Nicole Porter was a member of the PAW lab while she was a student in the Tufts Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. She conducted her doctoral research on the implementation of a social participation intervention for youth with social anxiety incorporating pet dogs. Dr. Porter graduated in May 2022.

Sayee Shruthi Manickam is a veterinary student at NC State University and worked with the PAW Lab as a summer research student, and continues to be involved in the Center for Animals and Public Policy’s research on cultural humility curriculum for veterinary students. Her diversity and veterinary-related experiences have greatly influenced her passion for the human-animal bond. She hopes to utilize her learnings in her career as a companion animal practitioner and contribute to improving both animal and human health.

Reilly Uiterwyk is an undergraduate student at Tufts University majoring in Biopsychology and Child Study/Human Development who worked with the PAW Lab as a student research assistant. She has experience working as a swim lesson instructor and camp counselor for children of all ages and is hoping to work more in the animal-child interaction fields.

Laurelle Sum is an undergraduate pre-veterinary student studying Biopsychology and Child Study & Human Development who worked with the PAW Lab as an student research assistant. She works as a veterinary assistant at a local veterinary clinic and has experience volunteering at animal rescues. In her free time, Laurelle likes to dance and play badminton. She also has two dogs!