Primary Research Staff
Toni Antonucci, Ph.D.
Director of LCD
Toni C. Antonucci is the Elizabeth M. Douvan Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Program Director and Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program at the Institute for Social Research, all at the University of Michigan, USA. Her research focuses on social relations and health (physical/psychological/cognitive functioning) across the life span. Professor Antonucci studies all types of social relations including close social relations, peer and family relations, caregiving, and social media. She is interested in family multigenerational relations, child and adult development. Further, Professor Antonucci has conducted comparative studies on social relations and health in the United States, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Japan.
Noah J. Webster, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist
Noah J. Webster received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University with specializations in Medical Sociology and Research Methods. Dr. Webster’s research focuses on the bidirectional influences of health and social relationships and the role of the lived environment in shaping social relations. His work has examined these topics across developmental contexts using representative survey data from the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. He is principal investigator of multiple sponsored research projects focused on translating knowledge from these research areas to develop interventions designed to promote health-related behaviors through social resources in communities with fewer economic resources.
Kristine J. Ajrouch, Ph.D.
Adjunct Research Professor
Kristine J. Ajrouch received her PhD in Sociology from Wayne State University in 1997. She joined LCD in 1998 as a post-doctoral fellow, and has retained her affiliation since that time. She is also Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University. Her research has focused, for over twenty years, on Arab Americans beginning with ethnic identity formation among adolescent children of immigrants followed by the study of social relations, aging and health.
Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, Ph.D.
Patricia Reuter-Lorenz received her PhD in Psychology in 1987 from the University of Toronto and became a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan in 1992. She joined the LCD in 2012. She studies neurocognitive aging of memory and executive functions using behavioral and brain imaging methods, along with interventions that may ameliorate cognitive decline.
Elaine Wethington, Ph.D.
Adjunct Research Professor
Elaine Wethington is Professor Emeritus of Human Development at Cornell University. She is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan PhD program in Sociology. Since 2003 she has been Co-Director and Director of the Pilot Study Core for the Cornell Edward R. Roybal Center for Translation of the Behavioral and Social Sciences of Aging. Her current research focuses on developing efficient measures of toxic stress in families, relationship transitions, and exposure to major and minor stressors that can be used in longitudinal studies of the population in surveys, randomized controlled trials with frequent follow-up, and on smartphones.
Laura B. Zahodne, Ph.D.
Dr. Zahodne is a clinical neuropsychologist who received her PhD from the University of Florida and completed her neuropsychology internship at Brown University. Before joining the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan and affiliating with the Life Course Development program in 2016, she completed postdoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Zahodne’s interests include: psychosocial factors in cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disease and racial/ethnic inequalities in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRDs).
Jess Francis, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Francis received her PhD in Information and Media Studies from Michigan State University in 2018. Upon graduating, she completed a year-long postdoctoral fellowship in clinical and translational science at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Center for Health + Technology. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research’s Life Course Development Program. Her focus is digital inequalities, social isolation, and the impact of emerging technology use on older adults’ well- being. She has worked on grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and was the 2020 recipient of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research’s A. Regula Herzog Young Investigator Award for her work in aging research.
Ketlyne Sol, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Sol is a postdoctoral research fellow collaborating with LCD since 2018. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Loma Linda University where her clinical training emphasis was in rehabilitation psychology, which focuses on the holistic assessment and treatment of individuals with acquired, chronic, or progressive disabling illness. Dr. Sol is interested in evaluating positive psychosocial factors, such as social networks and social support, that buffer against risk factors such as low literacy, low educational attainment, and less neighborhood resuorces to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD).
Simon Brauer, Ph.D.
Research Area Specialist
Simon Brauer is a quantitative sociologist with research interests in religion across the life course and within families. He received his PhD in Sociology from Duke University in 2019. He is currently a research area specialist working on the dissemination and analysis of complex social network survey data. He is interested in Bayesian probability modeling and using machine learning to enrich existing datasets.
Rita Xiaochen Hu
Rita Hu is a PhD student at the University of Michigan’s joint program in Social Work and Psychology. She joined LCD in the fall of 2018 after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the development and influence of age stereotypes across the lifespan, the intersectionality of age, gender and race/ethnicity, as well as the protective role of social relations in combating ageism and promoting social and emotional well-being among older adults.
Joonyoung Cho received his MSW and MPH from Washington University in St. Louis, and he is a Ph.D. student in the Joint Program in Social Work and Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. His research interest includes aging-in-place, relocation, life course, social relation, productive aging, and internet communication and technologies.
Jay is a doctoral student in The Joint Program in Social Work and Developmental Psychology at The University of Michigan. He has earned bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Social Work from The University of Iowa and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to coming to Michigan he spent five years working in direct practice as a social worker in an acute care setting. He is clinically licensed in Missouri and Michigan. His current research interests center around older adults with chronic health and mental health concerns and older adults experiencing elder abuse.
UROP Lab Assistant
Maryam Romio grew up in Baghdad, Iraq and graduated from Lamphere High School in Madison Heights, MI. She is a freshman at the University of Michigan- LSA hoping to transfer to the School of Public Health to pursue a career in epidemiology. She hopes to later pursue research projects that involve public health policies and issues.
UROP Lab Assistant
Maham Adnan graduated from Grosse Ile High School. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, majoring in Biology, Cognition & Neuroscience with a minor in Law, Justice & Social Change. Maham has been working in a nursing home facility since 2016 and has developed an interest in researching cognitive health and Alzheimer’s disease. She plans to apply to medical school and hopes to pursue neurology.