People

Megan K. Mueller, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Megan Kiely Mueller is the Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Junior Professor and Associate Professor of human-animal interaction at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also Co-Director of the Tufts Institute 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 pet ownership and adolescent development, and animal-assisted interventions for youth with social anxiety. Her research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Society for Companion Animal Studies, and the Tufts Springboard program. Dr. Mueller currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Anthrozoology, as well as on the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond Advisory Board.  


Erin King, M.S.

Ph.D. Student and Research Coordinator

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 Tufts Pets and Well-Being Lab, Erin is working in the Center for Animals and Public Policy, is also 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.


Nicole Porter, OT

Research Assistant

Nicole is an entry level Occupational Therapy Doctorate Student at Tufts who is interested in human-animal interaction and how it effects performance of everyday activities and mental health. She hopes to one day integrate animal-assisted interventions into her future Occupational Therapy practice. In her free time, she likes to play with her three cats and runs the social media for an animal shelter in her hometown.


Catie Silvestri, OT

Research Assistant

Catie Silvestri is an entry level Occupational Therapy Doctorate student at Tufts University. She is interested in human-animal interaction and its impact on individuals’ participation in meaningful activities. She enjoys volunteering with a hippotherapy program, where she can observe firsthand the therapeutic benefit that human-animal interaction offers. She hopes to integrate human-animal interaction into her future OT practice. In her free time, Catie loves to spend time outside with her dogs, Ginger and Victor.


Jason Getzler

Research Assistant

Jason is a current Tufts senior, who is a double major in Biology and Spanish Cultural Studies. Jason is Co-Coordinator of Tufts Animal Aid volunteer dog walking services and takes an interest in understanding how our interactions with animals can induce biologically quantifiable changes in both us and animals.


Eli Halbreich

Research Assistant

Eli Halbreich is an undergraduate student studying Psychology at the Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences. In addition to working in the Tufts Pets and Well-Being Lab, Eli is a Research Assistant for the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction (TIHAI). His current research project areas include the effect of dogs on applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy sessions and the effect of dogs on the activity levels of children.