Founding Director

Edward McAuleyEdward McAuley


Dr. McAuley's research emphasis is in exercise and health psychology. His work has primarily focused upon social cognitive determinants and consequences of exercise and physical activity with a particular interest in aging populations. As such, his work has examined how social, psychological, cognitive, and physiological variables interact to influence exercise behavior and the health outcomes associated with exercising.



Neha GotheNeha Gothe


Dr. Gothe's academic training is in the fields of psychology, counseling and kinesiology. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and an Affiliate Faculty of the Beckman Institute. Her specific research interest and expertise is in examining the efficacy of yoga interventions in improving neurocognitive health, physical fitness and quality of life across the lifespan.




Project Coordinator

Rae McDonaldRae McDonald

Rae is the Project Coordinator for the EPL, working specifically on the SAY Exercise Study. She works with Dr. Gothe and the research staff to facilitate research activities in the lab. In her free time, Rae enjoys cycling and trying new foods.


Graduate Research Assistants

Jonathan CernaJonathan Cerna

Jonathan is a first-year doctoral student in Neuroscience. He received his B.S. in Dietetics from Iowa State University with a minor in Exercise Science, and his M.S. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he also completed his dietetic internship. His research interests focus on the effects of modifiable lifestyle behaviors such as nutrition and exercise, with a focus on the effects of mindfulness-based practices on cognitive function and structure. He enjoys reading, cooking, practicing yoga and meditation daily, among other things.


Anne DanburyAnne Danbury

Anne is a second-year doctoral student. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015 with an MS in Kinesiology, and she received her BS in Athletic Training from Northeastern University in 2013. She is a Certified Athletic Trainer currently working with Fighting Illini Athletics. She is interested in the psychological effects of elite athletic participation and the psychophysiologic markers of optimal performance vs overtraining.


Emily ErlenbachEmily Erlenbach

Emily is a second-year doctoral student. Her research interests focus on the benefits of physical activity and fitness in improving cognitive function across the lifespan. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis and her MS in Kinesiology from UIUC. Emily is an active member of the Fighting Illini Triathlon team, and loves to spend her time swimming, biking, and running.


Veronica GarciaVeronica Garcia

Veronica is a second-year master's student in the Kinesiology program at UIUC. She earned her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from Washington State University in 2020. Her research interests focus on the promotion of physical activity, specifically among minority populations, and to develop culturally tailored mechanisms to help them understand the importance of health and movement.


Revati Malani

Revati is a first-year master's student in the Kinesiology program at UIUC. She completed her bachelor's degree in physiotherapy from MUHS, India. She has previous experience of working in a diabetic clinic as an Exercise Expert and is a certified yoga instructor. Her research interests focus on physical activity and its relation with chronic and lifestyle diseases. She enjoys reading and baking.


Sarah Philip

Sarah is a first-year master’s student in Kinesiology. She received her B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in 2019. She has previous experience working with collegiate football athletes, wheelchair athletes, and chronic diseased populations. Her research interests focus on the effects of physical activity on cognitive function, specifically memory. She loves to paint, play sports, and go on spontaneous adventures.


Vaishnavi Sridharan

Vaishnavi is a second-year master's student, she graduated from Loughborough University in 2020 with an MSc in Sport & Exercise Psychology. She has prior trainings in counseling psychology and forensic science from University of Mumbai. She has worked with the Loughborough Lightning Tennis Team as performance support. Her research interests include promoting exercise using identity theories, exercise and mental health benefits, mindfulness in sport, using exercise as therapy. She plays badminton, rugby and practice yoga on a daily basis.


Stephanie Voss

Stephanie is a first-year doctoral student in Kinesiology. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Northwestern University in 2014 and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Rush University in 2018. She is a licensed and practicing occupational therapist as well as a yoga instructor. Her research interests include using a biopsychosocial approach to examine the functional health benefits of mind-body interventions such as yoga, breathwork, and meditation and their underlying neurological and physiological processes in individuals with chronic illness. She enjoys baking, crafting and practicing yoga in her free time.