Attention, Emotion, and Neurophysiological Development (ATTEND) Lab

Increasing numbers of children and adults are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), yet its diagnosis is controversial and new treatments are needed. The ATTEND lab uses a multi-method approach that combines behavioral ratings, cognitive tests, and physiological measures to understand the basic processes contributing to ADHD. We are especially interested in the unique differences between individuals with ADHD. Our long-term goals are to improve clinical assessment and diagnosis and inform development of new treatments that directly target the causes of impairment.

Want to participate in our research or find out more about what we do? Check out our Recent Research or Participate.

ATTEND Lab Staff

Principle Investigator

Sarah Karalunas

Sarah Karalunas, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

Sarah was born and raised in upstate NY. She completed her B.A. in Neuroscience at Hamilton College and received her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from Pennsylvania State University with a Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. After years of tolerating cold, snowy winters, she was lured to the Pacific Northwest by the promise of beautiful summers and only a bit of rain. Her NIH-funded research program takes a multi-method approach to characterizing the basic cognitive, emotional, and physiological processes contributing to ADHD. Instead of thinking about everyone with ADHD as a single group, she is particularly interested in understanding differences among individuals with ADHD. Sarah is also a licensed psychologist and the Psychology Director of OHSU's Child &Adolescent Psychiatry ADHD Clinic. She conducts neuropsychological assessments with children and families. After work and on the weekends, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and 15-year-old coonhound. She is passionate about ensuring that all children and families have access to high-quality, evidence-based mental health care that addresses their unique needs and hopes that her research can contribute to that goal.

Graduate students

Brittany Alperin

Brittany Alperin, Ph.D. Candidate

Brittany grew up in southern New Hampshire and received her BA in neuroscience and psychology from Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts. She was then employed as a research assistant for Dr. Kirk Daffner in the Lab of Healthy Cognitive Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where she used event related potentials to understand selective attention in aging adults. She is currently a 5th year PhD student in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience here at OHSU working with Dr. Sarah Karalunas in the ATTEND lab as well as Dr. Joel Nigg on the ADHD Research Study. Her dissertation focuses on mind-wandering in adults with and without ADHD and attempts to better quantify this complicated phenomenon using novel self-report measures in conjunction with neurophysiological techniques. Brittany's future plans include teaching at a small liberal arts college as well as facilitating community-based outreach promoting social-emotional well-being.

Research staff

Mason McLellan

Mason McLellan, B.A.

Having lived most of his life in Oregon, Mason recently completed his B.A. in psychology with a minor in gender studies at Lewis &Clark College. His research interests include the study of emotion regulation, trauma, neuroimaging, and improvement of treatment specialization and fit. Mason is a research assistant with the ATTEND Lab and hopes to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology.

Amber Schwartz

Amber Schwartz, EXITO Scholar 

Amber is a senior and BUILD EXITO Scholar at Portland State University, majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Her research interests include determining ADHD trajectories, examining the influence of comorbidity on ADHD adolescents, and general abnormal psychology. She is a tester in the ATTEND Lab and eventually plans to pursue Occupational Therapy specializing in neurological development and/or pediatrics.

McKenzie Figuracion

McKenzie Figuracion, EXITO Scholar

McKenzie is currently attending Portland State University and is a working on completing a B.S. in psychology with a minor in biology and a concentration in neuroscience. She is a scholar with the BUILD EXITO program and is interested in researching how trauma experienced during childhood and adolescence affects development. McKenzie is an intern in the ATTEND lab and plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with the hopes of becoming a professor and researcher.

Contact us

Call the Main ATTEND lab line: 503-418-8080

email us: