Current Health Psychology fellows, 2021-2023

“Psychology and Medicine:Translational Research on Stress, Behavior and Disease”

First year

Katie Alegria, PhD T32 postdoc fellowKatie E. Alegria is a health psychologist with a Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences from the University of California, Merced. Her research program employs theoretical frameworks to inform interventions that improve health outcomes for those who experience stress and health-related adversity, particularly in groups targeted for marginalization. At UCSF, Katie works with Dr. Elissa Epel investigating research questions surrounding climate change distress, health inequities, and the relationship between diet and stress.

Ryan L. Brown, PhDRyan Linn Brown received her Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences with a dual focus on Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine and Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Rice University. Her research centers on close relationships and the stress response system to identify biopsychosocial mechanisms through which early-life and chronic psychological stress influence health across the lifespan. At UCSF, she works with Dr. Aric Prather and Dr. Elissa Epel to study the biological processes underlying healthy aging. You can read more about her work at

Kimberly Martin, PhDKimberly J. Martin earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UCLA. Her research examines the experiences, perceptions, and health outcomes of minoritized people in important contexts (e.g., Black Americans in the healthcare system). Through her research she aims to develop culturally relevant methods and interventions to eradicate inequity and discrimination. At UCSF, Kimberly works with Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes to investigate the impact of intergroup social interactions on Black Americans' perceptions and physiological health. Learn more about Kimberly and her research at

Second year

Hio Wa Mak, PhDHio Wa Mak received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. She is a lifespan developmental psychologist studying social and emotional development at multiple timescales (i.e., short-term social and emotional dynamics in daily life and long-term developmental changes in social relationships and mental health across years). She studies and quantifies meaningful patterns of everyday social and emotional dynamics (based on intensive longitudinal assessments) and examines their long-term implications for mental and physical health. At UCSF, she works with Dr. Wendy Mendes to study the dynamic interplay among stress, emotion, and physiology in daily life and their implications for well-being.

Brian Don, PhDBrian Don received his Ph.D. in Social-Health Psychology at Kent State University. Prior to UCSF, he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Social Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brian’s work is focused on close relationships, and how motivation, affect, and mindfulness contribute to the success of pivotal relational interactions, such as social support and gratitude interactions. At UCSF, his primary advisor is Dr. Elissa Epel, with whom he is exploring how mindfulness and meditation interventions contribute to relational, mental, and physical well-being. Brian also collaborates with Dr. Wendy Mendes to examine how relationships contribute physiological processes in everyday life.