The WISH lab is an interdisciplinary lab that studies the interactions between women’s sexual and reproductive health, and mental and physical health.
We have multiple studies in the WISH lab that students can choose to work on depending on their research interests. Each study includes different measures of social and cultural determinants of mental, physical and sexual health that could support students’ interest in health disparities that impact women and gender minority groups.
The Sexual Lubricants and Immune Parameters (SLIP) study is currently our main ongoing study that aims to expand scientific data on how lubricants can influence vaginal inflammation and immune responses during sexual arousal. We are aiming to investigate how a healthy vaginal microbiome influences sexual arousal.
The Cycles effects on Mood, Behaviors and Inflammation on Trauma Survivors (CyMBIoTS) recently finished participant recruitment. In this study we are further examining the changes of endocrine and immune response over the menstrual cycle in both populations with and without sexual trauma history.
The Heteroflexibility, Arousal and Substance use Habits (HASH) study was conducted to examine substance use in sexual minority women. We have finished collecting data for this study so research assistants’ primary duties would be cleaning physiology data like heart rate variability and vaginal pulse amplitude as well as help analyze and interpret behavioral coding data.
Sexual well-being (SWELL) study is an extensive survey we publish each academic semester that collects responses from women and gender minority people’s sexual well-being. This survey includes many measures like exposure to sexual violence and positive aspects of sexuality.
|Advisor Name:||Tierney Lorenz|
|Secondary Contact:||Maddi Ellis|
|Secondary Contact E-mail:||email@example.com|
|Advisor College:||Arts and Sciences|
|Potential Student Tasks:||Research assistants would be responsible for helping run in-person study sessions with participants (e.g., SLIP study). Additionally, RA’s will learn how to clean and analyze different types of psychological and physiological data (e.g. electrocardiography, vaginal pulse amplitude, biological samples and survey responses); assist with running assays on biological samples, like saliva, to test different hormone levels; conduct statistical analysis; help choose survey questionnaires; and conduct a variety of administrative tasks such as data entry. RAs attend weekly lab meetings, and once per semester conduct presentations on journal articles describing new research on women’s health.|
Interest in health, physiology and biology. Prior experience in biology/chemistry labs not required but helpful. Conscientious, detail oriented, and mature. Interested in diversity, social justice, and feminist science. Students from any major can apply (but may be of special interest to students in Psychology, Biology, Women’s and Gender Studies and other related disciplines).
Students who conduct work with biological samples are strongly encouraged to receive the Hepatitis-B vaccination. If you are not vaccinated and would like to be, the lab will provide a no-cost vaccine during your onboarding.
|Training, Mentoring, and Workplace Community:||
As most of the students coming to our lab have limited experience in a research setting (let alone a psychophysiology lab), we do extensive training over multiple weeks before RAs are expected work independently. This includes a “watch 3, do 3” approach to all lab tasks. Some duties can be completed remotely, but many will be hands on in the lab. We are flexible around class schedules and lab shifts can happen in evenings/weekends.
Research assistants are an integral member of the lab team, and have the opportunity to contribute their ideas to ongoing studies. Many students stay on for multiple years to do their own studies as honors theses, UCARE projects, and independent studies. Several of our RAs have said their lab experiences helped them get into medical school and others to graduate school in Psychology.