About Us

Rebecca Thurston

Rebecca Thurston

Director

Dr. Rebecca Thurston is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Women’s Biobehavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds additional appointments in the Departments of Psychology and Epidemiology and at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Thurston received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University,her PhD from Duke University, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University. Dr. Thurston is the Principal Investigator of several National Institutes of Health research studies focused on midlife women’s reproductive and cardiovascular health. Dr. Thurston is recipient of the International Menopause Society’s Henry Burger Prize, the North American Menopause Society’s Vasomotor Symptoms Research Award, and is an elected fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research

Yuefang Chang

Yue-Fang Chang, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Yue-Fang Chang, Ph.D, is a research assistant professor at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh. She holds a doctoral degree in statistics and a master degree in epidemiology. She has worked in a variety of areas, such as women’s health, diabetes, health outcome, image study and injury epidemiology. In addition to the MSHeart study, she also serves as the statistician in several epidemiological studies including Cardiovascular Health Study, Women’s Health Initiative and Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.

Matthew Garcia

Matthew Garcia

Database Manager

Matthew has a total of 8 years of service at UPMC and in 2012 he started at the Women’s Bio-Behavioral Health Lab under Dr. Thurston. He has over 10 years of experience managing data using various technologies such as SQL server, Microsoft Access, SAS, SPSS and Excel. He also manages and designs multiple share-point sites for various studies and also designs websites using HTML/CSS and WordPress. He has earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh Oakland Campus.

Carey Mittermierer

Carey Mittermeier, MID, MPH

Senior Research Associate

Carey has been with the lab since the fall of 2015. She holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Development from the University of Pittsburgh. She has over three years of experience working with various research projects.

Diana Buck

Diana Buck, BA

Research Project Assistant

Diana joins the Women’s Bio-Behavioral Health Lab after working with multiple research projects at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh over the past 30 years.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Chatham College and pursued graduate training in Counseling Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Diana has applied her training and experience to studies of women’s health including The  Healthy Women Study and the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.

Kat Wojnas

Kat Wojnas

Research Project Assistant

Kat started with the lab in January of 2017. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration on pre-medical studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Kat has experience with research during her undergraduate education and has presented her work at the Association for Psychological Science’s annual research conference.

Holly Thomas

Holly Thomas,MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Thomas seeks to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary, patient-centered clinical research that will improve the health and quality of life of women as they age. In particular, she is interested in understanding the physical and psychosocial factors that contribute to sexual dysfunction in midlife and older women. She uses this understanding to develop behavioral treatment options to improve the sexual health of midlife women.

Sara Nowakowski, PhD

Sara Nowakowski, PhD

Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas

Dr. Nowakowski received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University. She is a faculty member at University of Texas Medical Branch in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She specializes in Behavioral Sleep Medicine with a focus on women’s health. Dr. Nowakowski is Principal Investigator of an NIH career development (K23) award evaluating a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia tailored for menopausal women experiencing insomnia and nocturnal hot flashes.

Affliatied Collaborators and Trainees

Elissa Gretz, MD, Assistant Professor

Elissa Gretz, MD,

Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Rhoda J. Conant, MD

Rhoda J. Conant, MD

Medical resident, Oklahoma University Medical Center, Department of obstetrics and gynecology

Natalie Suder, PhD

Natalie Suder, PhD

PhD candidate epidemiology

Carolyn Gibson, Ph.D.

Carolyn Gibson, Ph.D.

PhD (UCSF)

Past Laboratory Members

Will Fisher, PhD
Researcher

Ruhiyyih Degeberg
Research Specialist

Rachel Dahlborg
Research Specialist

Jill (Currey) Boyd, MPH
Research Specialist

Dana Schreiber
Research Associate

Jane Owens
Research Program Administrator

Maya Lambaise, PhD
Research Specialist

Xiao-Hui Wang, PhD
Research Project Coordinator