Principal Investigator

Roger C. McIntosh, Ph.D. - Dr. McIntoshDr. McIntosh earned his Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in 2012 and began his career at the University of Miami the same year as a postdoctoral fellow on the NIMH-T32 Training Grant (MH018917) where his training focused on the psychoneuroimmunological mechanisms of chronic HIV-1 infection. As an Associate Professor within the Health Division his psychological research interests range from understanding the impact of mood disturbances such as anger and depression to psychosomatic disturbances like alexithymia on health outcomes in persons living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. McIntosh’s neuro-based work utilizes functional magnetic resonance imaging to elucidate the effects of age and chronic disease on neuroendocrine regulation and neurocognitive functioning in the executive function, learning and memory domains. His immune-based work focuses on the bidirectional effects of systemic inflammation on cardiovascular, central and autonomic nervous systems in persons living with HIV/AIDS. 

As director of the BREATH Lab, Dr. McIntosh supervises neuropsychological, cardioautonomic and cardiorespiratory assessment. In addition, the lab conducts flow cytometric analysis to characterize inflammatory-immune and endothelial cell populations, as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging to quantify cerebral perfusion, brain metabolite spectroscopy, resting state functional connectivity, and task-based activity. This multi-modal interdisciplinary approach not only facilitates discovery in health neuroscience but provides hands-on training for health and cognitive behavioral neuroscience trainees. Dr, McIntosh is currently supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute K01 mechanism (HL139722-01, McIntosh (PI), 2/6/2018 - 2/5/2023) to examine HIV-related alterations to the central-autonomic nervous system and associated risk for developing hypertension.


Graduate Students

Ratanpriya Sharma, M.S. - Ratanpriya Sharma headshotRatanpriya Sharma is a graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology program. She received her bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and her Master's in Educational Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Before joining the University of Miami, Ratanpriya worked in the I-CARE lab at Indiana University for two years. She was a co-coordinator on a study that conducted investigations on client experience regarding HIV/AIDS counseling, psychosocial and emotional effects of having HIV/AIDS, and challenges faced by pregnant mothers infected with HIV in Botswana. Ratanpriya is interested in studying the neurological effects of HIV and the impact of chronic discrimination on cardiovascular health among people living with HIV. She is also interested in studying the coping mechanisms that help mitigate the effects of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. 

Kaitlyn Dillon headshotKaitlyn Dillon, M.A. - Kaitlyn Dillon is a graduate student in the health track of the clinical psychology program. Kaitlyn is interested in cognitive decline in individuals living with chronic disease, including HIV and cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining the lab, Kaitlyn completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology at University of Florida and her master’s degree in psychology at New York University. She has also worked at a private psychology practice and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

K. Howard photoKia Howard is a doctoral student in the cognitive behavioral neuroscience track of the psychology program. Kia was born and raised in Philadelphia. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Temple University. After graduating, Kia worked as a research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). At UPenn, Kia first worked in a cancer research laboratory that focused on immunological determinants of health. The second lab Kia worked in at UPenn was an experimental neuropsychological laboratory that focused on a broad range of topics including astronaut brain health and sleep disturbances. This broad exposure to research aided Kia's own research interests. She is interested in researching the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and immunology (PNI). Additionally, Kia is interested in researching how race plays a part in the PNI space. 

Lab coordinators and research staff

H. Hoogerwoerd photoHannah Hoogerwoerd, lab coordinator, received her B.A. in Psychology and Neuroscience from New College of Florida. Hannah is interested in investigating the therapeutic value and underlying mechanisms of contemplative practices involving mindful attention to bodily states for emotional regulation, particularly via interoception and vagal pathways. Her previous research looked at variations in the neural correlates of sensorimotor integration in relation to one’s experience of embodiment and psychological wellbeing. She is additionally interested in the psychosomatic manifestations of chronic disease. Before joining the lab, Hannah was a technician in both clinical and research settings, as well as having taught yoga to children and older adults. 

Lab Alumni and Collaborators

Maria Di Bello headshotMaria Di Bello – visiting scholar, University La Sapienza of Rome.

Dr. Di Bello is a clinical psychologist (B.S./M.S) and she holds a II level master’s degree in psychoneuroimmunology. She has wide teaching experience for students with disabilities and collaborations with a psychiatric community for residential treatment of adolescents.
Dr. Di Bello is currently on the Behavioral Neuroscience doctoral program at the University La Sapienza of Rome. Her research is mainly focused on bidirectional body-brain interactions, and how this relationship affects social behavior contributing to the development of chronic diseases and psychological disorders. Specifically, she is interested in identifying psychoneuroimmunological processes supporting various domains of neurocognitive and cardio-autonomic functioning in the context of prosocial motivations and, additionally, in exploring the modulatory effects of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS, and transcranial direct current stimulation, TDCS) on the functionality of these processes.

Judith Lobo, B.A. - former graduate student, Postdoctoral fellow at UC San DiegoJudith Lobo


R. Hoshi headshotRosangela Akemi Hoshi, P.T., Ph.D. - former postdoctoral fellow and visiting scholar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cardiology Department, Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School Cardiology Department

Dr. Hoshi investigates heart rate variability, nontargeted metabolomics (bioactive lipids) associated with physical activity and their further relationship with incident CVD in 2 case-control studies and genetic associations of these metabolites. 

M.Hidalgo headshotMelissa Hidalgo, M.D. – former research coordinator, Resident physician in Deerfield Beach, FL.

Sincerest thanks to all of the undergraduate students who have worked to sustain the lab’s projects.