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Dr. Klaus Libertus
Principal Investigator

My research interests examine the role of early motor skill development for the emergence of children’s social and cognition abilities. In particular, I am interested in what factors influence when and how children acquire a new motor milestone and how the motor skills influence the child’s interactions and engagement with the environment. I address this question in typically developing children and in children at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) using motor training and enrichment paradigms with very young infants to facilitate motor development (e.g., using "Sticky Mittens") and eye tracking assessments to evaluate social perception.

Graduate Student
Darcy Smith

Vanderbilt University, M.Ed., 2018 (Child Studies)

Vanderbilt University, B.A., 2016 (Psychology, Philosophy)

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program. I am interested in studying the longitudinal effects of early motor skill development. More specifically, I study the social, cultural, and biological factors which shape individual differences in motor development across the first two years of life. I also study how early motor skills predict later outcomes in other domains of development, such as executive function, parent-child interactions, and language development. 

Ran An
Graduate Student

University of Pittsburgh, B.S., 2018

I graduated from Pitt in August 2018 with double majors in HR and Finance. Though I was a business student as an undergrad, I’ve always been fascinated by psychology, especially developmental psychology. After graduation, I worked full-time as a student employment coordinator at the Office of Human Resources at Pitt. I’m planning to attend graduate programs with a focus in developmental psychology. I’m very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow at the Online Baby Lab.

Daniela Casas
Lab Manager

I graduated from Pitt in August of 2020 as a psychology major and a minor in Spanish Literature. Currently, I am a master student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling in hopes that I work with children and adolescent within immigrant communities. It is always fascinating to see how early childhood development can be play such an impactful role within everyday life. Whenever I have free time, I am usually playing with my cat or trying to hangout with loved ones and friends!


Kelly Barber

I am majoring in psychology here at Pitt, with minors in applied statistics and sociology. I love working with children and have a keen interest in their cognitive and social development. I hope to continue my education and career using my knowledge to help children thrive to their full potential. I am thrilled to begin my first semester in the BabyLab! I cannot wait to see where this research goes in the future and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Alex Harris

I’m Alex! I’m currently studying psychology as a junior at Pitt with a special interest in stress and coping, specifically in those who have been diagnosed with or are recovering from a life-threatening illness. When I’m not studying for exams or doing homework, I love to workout! I lift in the mornings at our gym on campus, but also practice yoga regularly. Above all-else, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!

Ciana Lee

Hi, I'm Ciana! I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish. I have special interests in cognitive and behavioral development in children and adolescents. I intend to focus my graduate and postgraduate career in neuropsychology, in hopes that I can help and influence children positively! Outside of school, I am very involved with my big family and enjoy spending time with all my baby cousins! My interests in helping children stem from my loving family!

Amy Job

Hey guys, I’m Amy! I’m currently a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in psychology and neuroscience with a minor in Spanish and chemistry. I’m really interested in developmental and abnormal psychology and hope to attend medical school after graduating. If I’m not studying or hanging out with my friends, you can catch me binge watching Netflix or watching the latest episode of the Bachelor. I’m super ecstatic to be working at the Online BabyLab and I can’t wait to see what this semester brings! 

Anna Audley

Hi, I am Anna! I am currently pursing a double major in biology and psychology with a minor in chemistry. I am very interested in developmental psychology and I plan on attending medical school after graduating. When I am not in the library studying, I love to workout and hang out with friends. I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to work at the BabyLab, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Juliana Hagen

Hi, I'm Juliana!  I am a freshman majoring in Psychology with potential minors in economics and math.  I am very interested in child development, cognitive psychology, and child counseling.  I hope to attend graduate school after my time at Pitt.  I enjoy spending my free time with my family/friends and playing volleyball.  I am so glad I was given the opportunity to be working at the Online BabyLab this spring! 

Keely Rehman

Hi, I’m Keely! I am currently a freshman at Pitt studying biology and psychology. I’m super interested in pursuing a career with children and plan on continuing my studies by going to graduate or medical school after graduating. In my free time I love watching Friends, listening to music, or doing anything in nature. I am excited to learn new things working in the Online BabyLab and to be a part of this research!

Alexa Kim

Hi, I’m Alexa! I am a junior Psychology major here at Pitt. I am interested in the developmental aspect of childhood and adolescence and hope to go to physical therapy school after graduating. Aside from school, I love spending time with friends and family and exploring new places. I am excited to be a part of Online BabyLab and contribute to the research! 

Lab Alumni

Jyothi Thippana

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2018 with a degree in Neuroscience, along with a minor in Chemistry and a concentration in Psychology. As an undergraduate, I worked at the Kid’s Thinking Lab for three years under Dr. Melissa Libertus. While there, I studied a variety of influences that may predict child math development, such as parent-child interaction. I plan to attend medical school in the near future, and I am specifically interested in the field of primary care. I’m excited to be working at the Online BabyLab and contribute to such important research in infant motor development!

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