Lab Director

A portrait of Larry Hawk, with psychology, taken in the James Platt White room in Abbott Library in January 2024. Hawk’s research is around smoking and vaping. 

Photographer: Douglas Levere

Larry Hawk, Ph.D. (he/they)

Dr. Larry Hawk feels fortunate to work with a great multidisciplinary Behavioral Health team, including collaborators across North America. He received his doctoral degree in in Clinical (Health) Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996 and completed his clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Hawk began his career as a clinical psychophysiologist and continues to take a non-reductionistic approach to integrating psychology and biology. Most of Dr. Hawk’s recent and current research focuses on the role of basic cognitive and affective/motivational processes and treatment mechanisms in tobacco/nicotine use. He employs a range of research methodologies, including basic behavioral pharmacology lab studies, intensive real-world assessment, and randomized clinical trials. A parallel line of work focuses on ADHD. Dr. Hawk also enjoys traveling with his wife, cycling, and a range of family-oriented outdoor activities.

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Project Manager


CeCe Duerr, M.S.

CeCe received her B.A. and M.S. degrees from Mississippi State University, where she played on the Lady Bulldogs golf team for 4 years. She has been a clinical research coordinator for over 25 years and has worked on many different types of projects, including: childhood weight control, coping skills training for partners of pathological gamblers, a longitudinal study assessing stability and changes in mental health and drinking behaviors, and multiple smoking cessation clinical trials.  She is excited to be coordinating studies in the Behavioral Health Lab at UB.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three cats, as well as going to concerts, traveling, photography reading and hanging out with family and friends.

Graduate Students

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Robert Cooper, M.A.

Bobby is a doctoral student in the Hawk Lab. He studied psychology as an undergraduate at SUNY Fredonia with minors in statistics and coaching. He then received his Master’s degree in general psychology at the University at Buffalo before entering the clinical psychology Ph.D. program in the fall of 2020. Bobby’s research interests center around how substance use, particularly nicotine and caffeine, impact cognition, physiology, and behavior. Outside of the lab, Bobby enjoys sports (including running, soccer, and hockey), as well as hiking.

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Samantha Johnstone, B.A

Samantha Johnstone is a doctoral student in the Hawk Lab. She received her BA in psychology and completed an honours thesis at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson), with a minor in criminology. Her research interests involve understanding and treating cooccurring substance use disorders and serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia), as well as elucidating specific treatment mechanisms (e.g., emotion/cognition). Apart from academia, she enjoys house music, dancing, and horror movies/books. 

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Ashlan Hubbard, B.S. (she/her)

Ashlan recently graduated from the University at Buffalo, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Neuroscience. She completed a senior honors thesis with Dr. Ashare studying the presentation of social support and depression among tobacco cigarette smokers with HIV. Ashlan now works as a Research Assistant with Drs. Hawk and Ashare. Her primary research interest includes the exploration of integrative naturopathic treatments for mood disorders. Ashlan is an advocate for environmental conservation and loves to explore the outdoors.


Eugene Maguin, Ph.D.

Gene is a data manager/analyst for multiple projects in the Hawk Behavioral Health Lab. Gene completed his undergraduate B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University, earned his PhD in Developmental Psychology at Michigan State University in 1991, and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as a program manager at the Research Institute on Addictions and as a Research Scientist in the UB School of Social Work before coming to Psychology in 2018. Gene is an avid dancer.


LeahAnne Humphrey, B.S.

LeahAnne graduated in 2022 with her BS in Exercise Science from the University at Buffalo. After graduating, LeahAnne helped patients reduce their risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases through the development and implementation of individualized exercise and lifestyle management programs. Throughout 2022, LeahAnne assisted in writing and publishing a paper about lifestyle interventions that target hyperinsulinemia to normalize hyperglycemia and surrogate markers of insulin resistance. LeahAnne sought out the Hawk lab in May of 2023 to further her research experience and explore her research interests.

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Ashley Schenkel, B.A.

Ashley recently graduated with her BA in psychology from D’Youville University and is now a senior staff member in Dr. Hawk’s lab, assisting on the Vaping and Smoking Project (VASP) and the FRIENDS project. Her primary research focus is concentrated in vaping behaviors, specifically concerning risk perception and consequences of vaping, smoking cessation, and comparing smoking to vaping to discover similarities and differences between the two. Her hobbies include reading, watching/playing sports, and mixology!

Gabrielle Merlo, B.A.

Gabrielle graduated in May of 2023 with a BA in psychology and political science with a minor in philosophy. She has been a member of Dr. Hawk’s lab since January of 2023 where she worked as an undergraduate research assistant. She is now a senior staff member, working to gain experience to apply to doctoral programs. Her primary research interests include Autism and ADHD research, and she has spent the past three years working with neurodivergent students as a Martial Arts Instructor. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys playing the ukulele, painting, and spending time outdoors.

Dakshesh Gusain, B.S.

Dakshesh (Ducky) is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Engineering Sciences with focus in Artificial Intelligence at University at Buffalo. Since August 2023, he has been an Administrative Project Assistant at UBHEART, where he designed and developed the Mechanized Inhaling Smoking Tool (MIST), a vape simulation machine for biomedical research. He also maintains the lab’s human behavioral software suites. His research interests lie at the intersection of cognitive science and human-computer interaction, including but not limited to deep learning analysis of human attention span using functional brain networks and human pose estimation in occupational hazard therapy using computer vision. In his free time, he enjoys cooking. 

Reilly Diemond, B.S.

Reilly graduated from UB in May 2024 with a BS in psychology and a minor in counseling. He has been an official member of Dr. Hawk’s lab since May 2024, splitting his time equally on projects across both Dr. Hawk’s and Dr. Simms’s laboratories. Reilly will be working with us for the next year as he prepares to apply for doctoral programs in clinical psychology. His research interest include psychophysiology (i.e., EEG & EMG) and psychometrics for topics spanning from personality pathology and substance use. In his free time, Reilly enjoys watching movies/shows, reading, and spending time with his friends.

Alumni - Where are they now?

Sarah Tonkin, 2022 PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Health Promotion Research Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center – Stephenson Cancer Center

Whitney Fosco, 2018 PhD

Survey Research Analyst at Fors Marsh

Michelle Bubnik-Harrison, 2016 PhD

Psychologist, Director of Internship, and Coordinator of the Behavioral Health Program for Military Familes, Child and Family Therapy Clinic, Kennedy Kreiger Institute.

Nicolas Schlienz, 2015 PhD

HRI Scientist, Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jessica Rhodes, 2014 PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Westminster College

Rebecca Ashare, 2011 PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo

Keri Shiels Rosch, 2011 PhD

Assistant Professor, Center for Neurodevelopmental and Imaging Research, Department of Neuropsychology, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Joseph Baschnagel, 2007 PhD

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Rochester Institute of Technology

Juliana Read, 2004 PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center