We’re a team of faculty, staff and graduate students who are working together to develop knowledge about risk, protective factors, couple development and marriage education to enhance marital and family relationships. Read on to learn more about our team’s research interests and backgrounds.
Yunying (Annie) Le, Research Assistant Professor
Yunying (Annie) Le, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. She was born and raised in Shanghai, China and received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research is situated at the intersection of couple relationship health, prevention/intervention, and research methodology. Specifically, using advanced quantitative methods, she conducts translational work evaluating couple-based intervention targeting at-risk couples as well as basic research on relational processes within couples as they adapt to stress across normative transitions and non-normative experiences. Her goal is to develop and adapt prevention and intervention programs that promote couples’ relationship health at different stages across the lifespan.
View Yunying Le's publications.
Howard Markman, John Evans Distinguished Professor, Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies
Howard Markman, Ph.D., is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver and Co-director of the Family Research Center. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association Division of Family Psychology and the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy. His awards include the Distinguished Contributions to Family Therapy Research Award from American Association to Family Therapy.
Dr. Markman is the developer of the internationally known evidence based couples relationship education program, PREP (The Prevention and Relationship Education Program). He is one of the leading researchers in the areas of couples, marriage, divorce-prevention, couples relationship education and therapy in the world. He has written over 100 books and scientific articles in the couples and family field including the bestselling couples relationship education book, Fighting FOR Your Marriage (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, 2010). He has had grants from NIMH, NSF and NICHD since 1980 to support his research at the University of Denver. He also has practice in couples therapy and gives workshops for couples and he is the Director of the University of Denver’s Couples Clinic. The PREP program is widely used in the U.S. Military and in over 10 countries around the world including, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Israel, Estonia, Australia, Austria, Colombia, Germany, and Chile. PREP has cited by the CDC as a research-based program that can prevent or ameliorate Inter partner violence and has been reviewed by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and is listed in the U. S. Government’s (SAMHSA) registry of evidence-based programs and practices. A new on-line version of PREP is available and several RCT’s has found positive findings including increasing relationship quality and decreasing IPV. Dr. Markman has appeared in the local and national media, including Oprah, Today Show, 20-20, NY Times, CNN, WSJ, Denver Post, Jerusalem Post, Washington Post, and NPR etc. and gives talks and workshops around the world.
View Howard Markman's publications.
Nicholas Perry, Research Assistant Professor
Nicholas Perry, Ph.D. (he/him) is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Utah in 2018 and his clinical psychology internship and postdoctoral research fellowship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His program of research focuses on sexual and gender minority health through a couple and family lens, as well as the implementation and evaluation of community-based programs to strengthen relationships and reduce health disparities.
His active research projects include: (1) an NIH-funded (R01MD018167; PI: Perry) longitudinal study examining sexual minority couples’ health and relationships in the newlywed period using quantitative, qualitative, and psychophysiological methods; (2) an American Psychological Foundation-funded study (MPI: Perry, Goldstein) of daily health behaviors and relationship functioning among sexual minority female couples who are of higher body weight using ecological momentary assessment and Fitbit data; and (3) a Mental Research Institute-funded (MPI: Perry, Harkness) project tailoring and piloting an evidence-based relationship education program for Latino sexual minority men via community stakeholder input. He also collaborates closely with Drs. Rhoades, Stanley, and Le on several other ongoing federally-funded projects. He also maintains a small private practice where he sees adult and couples, primarily from the LGBTQIA+ community. In his spare time, he loves Colorado’s outdoors, as well as trying to improve his game in his queer rec dodgeball league.
View Nicholas Perry's publications.
Galena Rhoades, Research Professor, Director of the Family Research Center
Galena Rhoades, Ph.D., is the Director of the Family Research Center and a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. Her research program focuses on romantic relationship development and predictors of relationship success, maternal health and mental health, and evaluations of community-based relationship education and coaching programs for teens, adults, and couples. She has over 100 publications in these areas. She also founded a non-profit in Denver, Thriving Families, that offers MotherWise, a program for women during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as mental health support. She also has a small private practice where she conducts individual and couple therapy.
View Galena Rhoades' publications.
Scott Stanley, Research Professor, Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies
Scott Stanley, Ph.D. is a research professor at the University of Denver. He is an expert in family psychology, focusing on commitment, conflict, cohabitation, relationship development, and the prevention of relationship distress/dissolution. He has published extensively, both in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly book chapters, and is widely sought after as a research consultant, providing input to many research projects around the U.S. Along with colleagues such as Dr. Howard Markman and Dr. Galena Rhoades, Stanley has conducted research on relationship education since the early 1980s, mostly funded by grants (to one of these three scholars) from the National Institutes of Health or the Administration for Children and Families. Stanley and Rhoades have also conducted research on cohabitation, relationship development, and commitment, also funded by the National Institutes of Health. This research has influenced efforts aimed at helping individuals improve their relationship decision-making in consequential relationships. Stanley writes blog articles on relationship development, commitment, asymmetrical commitment, marriage, cohabitation, and relationship education at slidingvsdeciding.com.
View Scott Stanley's publications.
Anely Alamo, Project Coordinator
Anely Alamo is a Project Coordinator in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. She earned her Bachelors in Health Sciences and Minors in Psychology from the University of West Texas A&M in 2020. Anely also has experience in clinical and administrative settings which fall in with her professional interests in obstetric care, labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care. On her time off, she enjoys the beautiful Colorado scenery, reading and giving all the love to her dog, Zoey.
Claire Chapman, Research Assistant
Claire Chapman (she/her/hers) is a Research Assistant in the Family Research Center at the University of Denver. She earned her Bachelors in Psychology from UMass Amherst in 2020. Claire has a clinical research background in schizophrenia spectrum disorders and asthma clinical trials. Claire is interested in exploring the bidirectional forces of the environment and psychopathology as it relates to family and marital health. She is passionate about teaching positive communication styles to at-risk adolescents and their family members.
View Claire Chapman's publications.
Carra Gilson, Project Coordinator
Carra Gilson has a background in public health, sociology, maternal and infant health, psychology, and global studies. She earned her Bachelors and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from The Ohio State University (2019, 2020). With experience in clinical, interpersonal, and community-based applications of study and service, she maintains a passion at the intersection of human trafficking survivorship and maternal/ infant health outcomes. Specifically, she is dedicated to understanding and advocating for the role of trauma at this junction. Carra serves in a dual role position, centered around healthy relationship programming and research. Through the University of Denver’s (DU) Family Research Center Carra coordinates many program evaluations across the country. Additionally, Carra manages the data for a MotherWise, a local organization that provides relationship education and supportive services to moms who are either expecting or have recently given birth. Most recently, Carra has started training as a Doula though Denver Health’s volunteer program, and is excited to actively apply her passion for advocating alongside mothers as they experience the unparalleled transition of birth.
View Carra Gilson's publications.
Dominique Harlan, Project Coordinator
Dominique Harlan (she/her), BA, is a project coordinator at the University of Denver’s Family Research Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado Denver, where she double majored in Psychology and Ethnic Studies. She is passionate about trauma psychology. This was an area of interest that was solidified during her time at the University of Colorado Denver as she sought to understand the multi-faceted experiences of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., along with how racism and inequity are systemically upheld and compounded. As a result, she is interested in continuing to explore the vastness of trauma psychology and how it can be applied to other social positions, including sexual and gender minorities.
Charlie Huntington, Graduate Research Assistant, PhD Student, Affective / Social / Cognitive Psychology
Charlie Huntington, MA, LPCC (he/him/his) is a PhD student in the Family Research Center and the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. His research focuses on the intersection of romantic relationships and sexual health, evaluations of community-based relationship education, and the basic science and prevention of sexual assault. He is also affiliated with the Lloyd Social Development Lab at the University of Denver. Outside of research, Charlie sees individual and couple therapy clients at a small private practice and enjoys trail running, rock climbing, and making music.
View Charlie Huntington's publications.
Jenny Lee, Research Assistant
Jenny Lee (she/her/hers) is a research assistant in the Family Research Center at the University of Denver. She earned her Bachelors in Epidemiology from the University of Rochester. Jenny also has experience in clinical settings, program development, and UI/UX design which compliment her current interests in adolescent development and wellness. During her free time, she likes to travel, eat, and explore high quality teas.
Daphne Yunjing Liu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Daphne Liu, PhD (she/her) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Family Research Center at the University of Denver. Her research interests center around emotion regulation, psychopathology, and romantic relationships. She has pursued several lines of research, including (1) how emotion regulation uniquely manifests in psychopathology (e.g., major depressive disorder), (2) how people regulate emotion in social relationships (e.g., romantic relationships), and (3) the link between romantic relationships and mental health. Besides her research endeavors, Daphne is a licensed clinical psychologist with a generalist training background and a specialization in couples therapy. She received her PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences, with a Graduate Certificate in Quantitative Data Analysis, from Washington University in St. Louis, and completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the University of Denver, Daphne completed a one-year clinical/research postdoctoral fellowship at Stony Brook University.
View Daphne Liu's publications.
John Miller, Graduate Research Assistant, PhD Student, Clinical Psychology
John Miller, JD (he/him/his) is a PhD student in the Family Research Center and the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. His research interests center around romantic and peer relationships, relationship education, and mood disorders, as well as psychological law, ethics, and policy. Prior to joining the University of Denver, he received a B.A. in Political Science at Adelphi University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Outside the lab, John enjoys nature walks, photography, reading, and just about every genre of film.
View John Miller’s publications.
Paige Vuksanovich, Project Coordinator
Paige Vuksanovich (she/her/hers) is a project coordinator for the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. She earned a Bachelor's in Psychology from SUNY Albany (2020), and a Master's in Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods from SUNY Buffalo (2023). Paige has experience with research methods and statistical analysis, and is interested in applying these skills to researching areas of equity and diversity in education. On her days off, you can find Paige snowboarding, hiking, or taking pictures of Colorado wildflowers.