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Monika A Waszczuk, PhD

Monika A Waszczuk, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Monika Waszczuk is an Associate Professor of Psychology. She completed her undergraduate training at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK. Afterwards, Dr. Waszczuk received her MSc and PhD in Behavioral Genetics from the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, UK. Following her graduate training, Dr. Waszczuk joined the Department of Psychiatry at Stony Brook University in New York, where she completed her postdoctoral training and conducted research as an Assistant Professor. Many of her projects at Stony Brook University have been in collaboration with the World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program. Dr. Waszczuk is an executive board member of the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) Consortium and serves as a Chair of the HiTOP Genetic Workgroup. Dr. Waszczuk joined the faculty of RFUMS in 2020.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Research Interests

The overarching goal of Dr. Waszczuk’s research program is to explicate the role of genetic vulnerability in the etiology and co-occurrence of physical and mental health conditions. Research topic include:

  • Application of polygenic risk scores to predict severity and long-term course of PTSD, inflammation, and other health outcomes in responders to the 9/11 disaster.
  • Interplay between personality traits, health-related behaviors, and trauma/stress exposure in mental and physical health.
  • Etiology of psychiatric conditions, in particular emotional disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD), in developmental and adult populations.
  • Psychiatric comorbidity, classification, and the HiTOP model, with a focus on transdiagnostic approaches.

Connect with Dr. Waszczuk on Twitter: @MAWaszczuk

Are You a Prospective Graduate Student?

Dr. Waszczuk will not be accepting students for the 2024/2025 academic year. 

Current Students

Amanda Masserlie, MS

Amanda Masserlie, MS
Doctoral Student

Amanda is a fifth-year student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program. She graduated from RFUMS with an MS in Clinical Counseling in 2019. Her primary research interests focus on the effects of anxiety on cognitive functioning across the adult lifespan. Her clinical interest is in adult neuropsychology, specifically transplant neuropsychology, neuro-oncology, and the cognitive effects of infectious disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and traveling.

Krista Ekberg

Krista Ekberg, MS
Doctoral Student
Twitter: @kristaekberg

Krista is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program. Prior to entering the RFUMS doctoral program, she worked as a research assistant at DePaul University, assisting with an NIH-funded project investigating the prevalence of pediatric myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Broadly, Krista is interested in examining the convergence of psychological and physical health outcomes in pediatric populations, with a specific focus on investigating how genetic vulnerabilities contribute as underlying factors within these interconnected domains. Krista defended her master's thesis in May of 2023 which examined the extent to which genetic vulnerabilities for high BMI and type 2 diabetes are associated with depressive symptoms and body dissatisfaction in adolescents. In Krista’s free time, she enjoys going to live music shows, traveling, and cooking.


Ekberg, K.M., Torres, C. & Jason, L.A. (2021) Parent-child discrepancies in health-related quality of life of children and adolescents with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Qual Life Res.

Chris Khudari

Christopher Khudari, MA
Doctoral Student

Christopher is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. Before joining Rosalind Franklin University, he received his BA in Psychology from the University at Buffalo and his MA in Psychology from Stony Brook University. Following his Masters degree, he worked as a project coordinator at Stony Brook Medicine on an artificial intelligence study examining PTSD and health in World Trade Center Responders. He also served as a clinical interviewer for a Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) project. He is broadly interested in how genetic risk factors and personality traits influence psychopathology and health outcomes.

Jessica Krawiec

Jessica Krawiec
Master's Student

Jessica is a second-year student in the Psychology Clinical Counseling MS program. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019, with a minor in Social Work. Jessica is currently completing a therapeutic externship at a local therapeutic day school. Broadly, she’s interested in the connection between personality facets and psychopathology, especially concerning the development of mood disorders. Moreover, she is interested in exploring the effect of trauma, stress, personality, and socialization on our cognitive processes and brain structures, the ways in which the intersection between genetic predispositions and childhood experiences influence the development of psychopathology, and ways to promote resiliency. Outside of school, Jessica enjoys spending her free time reading fantasy books and taking pictures of her family dog.  

Youjin Kim

Youjin Kim
Master's Student 

Youjin is a first-year student in the Clinical Counseling MS program. In 2022, she graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Sciences. Her primary interests include the interaction between the role of trauma, health behavior patterns, and genetic predispositions in cognitive functioning and development of psychopathology. In her free time, Youjin enjoys spending time with friends and listening to music.


Lab Alumni

Elaine Schultz, MS

Elaine Schultz, PhD
Elaine is currently completing postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. She completed her PhD dissertation project titled “The Impact of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder on Respiratory and Cognitive Health in 9/11 Responders: The Role of Sleep Disturbances” and graduated from the Clinical Psychology PhD program at RFUMS in 2023.

Palak Singh, MS

Palak Singh, PhD
Palak is currently completing postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa, FL. She completed her PhD dissertation project titled “The Moderating Role of Social Support on the Polygenic Risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in 9/11 Responders” and graduated from the Clinical Psychology PhD program at RFUMS in 2023.

Anakaren Elizondo

Anakaren Elizondo, MS
Twitter: @AnakarenElizon

Anakaren is currently completing PhD program in Clinical Child Psychology at The University of Hartford. She graduated from the Clinical Counseling MS program at RFUMS in 2023.

Recent Publications (selected)

Please see Dr. Waszczuk’s CV for a complete list of her current/previous research funding and peer-reviewed publications.

Harrison, T. J., Docherty, A., Finsaas, M., Kotov, R., Shabalin, A., Waszczuk, M. A., … Klein, D. N. (in press) Exploring the Relationship Between Genetic Risk for Depression and Youth Episodic Stress Exposure. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Waszczuk, M. A.*, Jonas, K. G.*, Bornovalova, M., Breen, G., Bulik, C., … Waldman, I. (2023). Dimensional and Transdiagnostic Approaches in Psychiatric Genome-wide Association Studies. Molecular Psychiatry.

Rodriguez-Seijas, C., Li, J. J., Balling, C., Brandes, C., Bernat, E., Boness, C., … Waszczuk, M. A., Eaton, N. R. (2023). Diversity and the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP). Nature Reviews Psychology.

Eaton, N. R., Bringmann, L. F., Elmer, T., Fried, E. I., Forbes, M. K. … Waszczuk, M. A. (2023). A Review of Approaches and Models in Psychopathology Classification Research. Nature Reviews Psychology.

Waszczuk, M. A., Morozova, O., Lhuillier, E., Docherty, A. R. Shabalin, A. A., … Luft, B. J. (2023). Polygenic Risk Scores for Asthma and Allergic Disease Associate with COVID-19 Severity in 9/11 Responders. Plos One 18 (3).

Mann, F. D., Clouston, S. A. P., Cuevas, A., Waszczuk, M. A., Kotov, R. … Luft, B. J. (2023). Genetic Liability and Cognitive Impairment in World Trade Center Responders. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 92, (2), 701-712.

Waszczuk, M. A., Kuan, P. F., Yang, X., Miao, J., Kotov, R., Luft, B. J. (2023). Discovery and Replication of Blood-Based Proteomic Signature of PTSD in 9/11 Responders. Translational Psychiatry 13 (8).