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The HAPPY Lab Team

The HAPPY Lab research team, led by Dr. Emma Childs, consists of experienced clinical research coordinators, nursing staff, a psychiatrist, and student volunteers who are training in the design and conduct of clinical studies and learning about how drugs produce effects on mood and behavior.

If you are interested in training opportunities at the HAPPY Lab, please email Dr. Childs.


Emma Childs, PhD

Principal Investigator

Emma is an Associate Professor in the Department of

Psychiatry and Director of The HAPPY Lab.

She completed her PhD at King’s College London, UK, then skipped across the pond to Chicago where she joined

Dr. Harriet de Wit at the University of Chicago.

Ten years later she moved to UIC and founded the HAPPY Lab. 

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Armanjot Lakhen, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Armanjot graduated in 2022 from UIC in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He has been with the Happy Lab since February 2021 and is very interested in studies involving biology, psychology, and medicine.

In the future, he aims to build a career that allows him to work in psychiatry and learn more about the human body. 

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Nam Nguyen

Post-bac/Pre-Med Researcher

Nam graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with B.S in Neuroscience. He is taking his gap year before applying to medical school. Besides being a research assistant at the HAPPY Lab, he is also a medical assistant at a Neurology clinic. Nam has been our lab member since 2021. He enjoys camping and exploring different cuisines in the Chicago area :)


Nida Ullah

Undergraduate Student Trainee

Nida is a third-year undergraduate student with a major in psychology and a minor in chemistry. She has future career goals in the health field, with a particular interest in working with under served communities.

In her free time, she likes hanging out with her dog, going on long walks, and drinking coffee :)  

The HAPPY Lab is located on the UIC Medical Campus in the Near West community of Chicago. We are based in the Psychiatric Institute building

(SPHPI) at the corner of Ashland and Taylor. 

1601 W Taylor St, Suite 318, Chicago, IL 60612.

Map   Directions


Drey Maton

Undergraduate Student Trainee

Drey is a fourth year student-athlete with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Spanish for the Professions at UIC. He has been an undergraduate lab assistant since May 2021 and runs cross country and track and field as a UIC Flame. He has a career goal in medicine.


Megan Sia

IMSA SIR Student Trainee

Megan is a high school student at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA). She completed an independent research project at the HAPPY lab under the IMSA SIR (Student Inquiry and Research) program in 2022, and will return to the lab in 2023 to complete a second research project.

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Mark Rinaolo

Medical Student Researcher

Mark is a second-year medical student enrolled at the UIC College of Medicine. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Neuroscience and is interested in psychiatry and psychiatric research. He is conducting research jointly with the HAPPY lab and COIP.

Medical Staff


Aneet Y. Ahluwalia MD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

and Internal Medicine

Dr. Ahluwahlia is the HAPPY Lab study physician who provides care and safety oversight for participants in our studies. He is Director of the inpatient psychiatry consult-liaison service at UIHealth and also a board certified internist providing primary care and inpatient internal medicine coverage.

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Ana-Leonor Jay

Research Nurse

Ana provides support and safety oversight for procedures in our research studies. Her primary interests are in reproductive health and she also conducts research into Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in the Laboratory for Reproductive Endocrine and Inflammation Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UIC. Click here to read about the study.

Our Collaborators


Pauline Maki

Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Maki is an internationally recognized expert in women’s mental health research. She is Director of the Women’s Mental Health Research Program and Senior Director of Research at the Center for Research on Women and Gender at UIC. Learn more


Tori Eisenlohr-Moul

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

and Psychology

Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul is an international expert in the pathophysiology, assessment, and treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and cyclical exacerbation of other psychiatric disorders. She is Associate Director of Translational Research in Women’s Mental Health at UIC. Learn more

Happy Lab Alumni

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Sissi Huang, MA

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Joseph Lutz, PhD

now: Director of Postdoctoral Affairs, UKY

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Michael Bremmer, BS

now: Graduate Student, UNC



Nia Sotto, BS

now: Piercer, Luxe


Jessica DeArcangelis, BA

now: Licensed Professional Counselor, Pure


Arleen Perez, BS

now: Research Technician,

UIC Glover Lab

now: PhD Student,

University of Maryland



Kiran Ladhani, BSPS

now: Pharmacist


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Dev Patel

now: Undergraduate Student,

Vanderbilt University


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Hyerim Yang, BS

now: Graduate Student, UIC Glover Lab


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