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URMC / Labs / Van Orden Lab / Lab Members


Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Kimberly Van OrdenKimberly Van Orden, Ph.D.
Phone: (585) 275-5176

Prevention of late life suicide


Yeates ConwellYeates Conwell, M.D.
Phone: (585) 275-6739

Risk factors for suicide in the second half of life and their implications for service system redesign

Caroline SilvaCaroline Silva, Ph.D.

Caroline Silva, Ph.D., is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry. She completed the NRSA (T32) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Silva completed her A.B. in Psychology at Harvard University and received her M.S. / Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Florida State University. She completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Broadly, her research has examined interpersonal risk factors for suicide via the lens of a contemporary theory of suicide—the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. In particular, Dr. Silva has examined the role of two forms of social disconnection—thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness—in suicide risk among high-risk populations including sexual minorities, military service members, and clinical outpatients. Dr. Silva’s current program of research is centered on the prevention of suicide among Hispanics. She has translated and evaluated a measure of social disconnection among native and heritage Spanish-speakers. Her current research focuses on using the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide to inform the development and evaluation of suicide prevention interventions for at-risk Hispanics. Her work is supported by a KL2 career development award from the UR CTSI.

Postdoctoral Researchers

photo of julie lutzJulie Lutz, Ph.D.

Julie Lutz, Ph.D., is a NRSA (T32) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Lutz completed her B.A. in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton, and completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at West Virginia University. She completed her clinical internship in geropsychology at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Her research focuses on associations between functional disability, chronic health problems, and suicide among older adults. More specifically, she is interested in how interventions promoting adaptive coping with changes in functioning and health may mitigate suicide risk in late life.

Graduate Students

Jenn DaksJenn Daks

Jenn is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Rochester. Jenn received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gerontology from Towson University. Early on, Jenn’s undergraduate studies, research and clinical experience were focused on exploring the effects of mindfulness interventions for older adults experiencing chronic pain, as a means to promote well-being. After graduating, she broadened her research interests to study the effects of social relationships in periods of adjustment. In her current graduate studies, Jenn is continuing to study the effects of mindfulness in romantic relationships under the mentorship of Dr. Ron Rogge. Bridging these experiences, in the HOPE lab, Jenn is excited to be working with older adults who experience psychosocial challenges, and examining the buffering effects of social connectedness and engagement.

Meghan HuangMeghan Huang

Meghan is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Rochester. She received her BA in psychology from Swarthmore College, where she completed research on the relationship between perceived social support and social skills in the development of depression. During this time, she also assisted in the implementation of a school-based depression prevention program for adolescent girls. Post-graduation, Meghan continued her work in the depression prevention field, examining the efficacy of an interpersonal skills-based prevention program for adolescents at risk for depression. Currently, at the University of Rochester, Meghan studies the impact of interpersonal stress and social support-seeking behaviors in the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms in adolescence. She is thrilled to be joining the HOPE lab and assisting in research examining social connectedness in older adults.

Rafayet AliRafayet Ali

Rafayet Ali is a PhD student of Computer Science in University of Rochester. Currently working under Dr. Ehsan Hoque, his research is focused on Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and developing technologies to help people improve social skills. This includes understanding human emotions, using machine learning techniques to facilitate improving social skills, and designing effective feedback mechanism for helping people.


Ehsan HoqueEhsan Hoque, Ph.D.

Ehsan Hoque is an Asaro-Biggar ('92) Family assistant professor of Computer Science and interim Wentworth Director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science at the University of Rochester. He leads the Rochester Human-Computer Interaction (ROC HCI)Group and received his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013.

He studies human behavior through a computational lens to generate new insights and theories about human behavior that are "written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all." His PhD thesis yielded the first scientific evidence that it is possible for humans to improve their face-to-face interpersonal skills through a virtual assistant. The project was highlighted by MIT Museum as one of the most unconventional inventions at MIT.

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Research Staff

April Buttaccio, MPHApril Buttaccio, MPH

Laurel Prothero, BSLaurel Prothero, BS


Chris CoronaChristopher Corona, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow