Contact Information

phone: (317) 274-6761

office: LD 100E

Jesse C. Stewart

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Psychology, School of Science, IUPUI
Affiliated Scientist, Indiana University Center for Aging Research and Regenstrief Institute
Faculty Scientist, Indiana University Diabetes Translational Research Center
Member, Indiana University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases

I’m a Professor of Psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, better known as IUPUI. Since its launch in 2006, I've also been directing the CBM Lab. I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Ohio University, and I completed postdoctoral training in cardiovascular behavioral medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. My primary research interests are: (1) psychosocial risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, (2) biobehavioral mechanisms underlying psychosocial factor-cardiometabolic disease relationships, and (3) psychosocial interventions as primary prevention approaches for cardiometabolic diseases.


I'm also a self-taught (read: below average) guitar player and a music gear hoarder. My last two big scores were a Gretsch Catalina drum kit and a 1950’s all-tube Westinghouse record player console. My daughter and son love them…my wife, not so much. I'm also a lover of craft beer, indie rock, and the outdoors, especially when combined.

PhD Students

Loretta Hsueh

I am a fifth-year graduate student in the CBM Lab, currently on internship at University of Illinois at Chicago. I previously earned my degrees from San Diego State University (M.A.) and UC Santa Barbara (B.A.). My research seeks to understand how patient, provider, and system factors determine disparities in medical care and outcomes for racial/ethnic minority and immigrant groups. I am particularly interested in how racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants experience healthcare at the primary care level. The ultimate goal of my research is to inform the development and implementation of policies that intervene on, and ideally eliminate, the mechanisms maintaining disparities that lead to health inequity.


On the weekends, my research seeks to understand my dog, a 50 lb. bull terrier named Fig. I have a particular interest in uncovering the deeper meaning behind her deeply unconventional behavior. I am currently seeking high-impact, peer-reviewed journals that are willing to accept these null results.

Jay S. Patel

I am a sixth-year clinical graduate student on the health psychology track. I earned my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Social and Behavioral Sciences Methodology from the University of Kansas. My work in the lab focuses on the association between depression profiles and vascular disease pathology. I am particularly interested in identifying and exploring health ramifications of cardiotoxic depressive symptoms. Outside of the lab you can find me cooking (to unimpressed), exploring the Indianapolis food/brewery scene (as a reaction to reviewer 2), and hiking when it is warm (in a poor attempt to run away from my problems).

Brittanny M. Polanka

I earned my B.S. in Psychological Sciences from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. While growing up in MN didn’t foster in me a particular liking for snow or the great outdoors, I do enjoy indoor activities, such as yoga, knitting, and eating. Currently, I am a sixth-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program (Health Psychology emphasis area) at IUPUI and I am on internship at University of Florida at Gainesville. My research interests include psychosocial risk factors of cardiometabolic disease (e.g., insomnia, anxiety, depression) and underlying immunological mechanisms in vulnerable, high-risk populations (e.g., HIV+, minority, and/or disadvantaged adults).

Aubrey L. Shell

I am a third-year student in the CBM Lab and the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, specializing in Health Psychology. I earned my B.A. in Psychology from Cedarville University and my M.S. in Clinical Psychology here at IUPUI. My research interests include emotional overeating and the various factors that contribute to obesity-related health issues. I am also passionate about developing individualized obesity prevention models, including physical activity and person-centered meal planning. ​I enjoy spending quality time with my husband (watching sports or enjoying the outdoors), exercising, and checking items off my many to-do lists. 

Depression Care Manager

Krysha MacDonald

Hello! I'm Krysha - a licensed mental health counselor, the depression care manager for the eIMPACT Trial, and the CBM Lab morale booster/cheerleader. I graduated from Ball State University with a M.A. in Clinical Psychology and have 17+ years of mental health experience, ranging from school-based services to being an integrated behavioral health specialist in primary care settings. When I am not in the lab, you can find me at the kickboxing studio, out at a festival, seeing live music, or outdoors participating in something active - most recently completing my first half-marathon. Truth be told, I'm active mostly to allow for another passion - good, locally sourced food and craft beverages. I'm also an avid animal advocate, rescuer, foster parent, and proud mama of 3 bully fur babies.

Research Assistants

Rachel Jackson

I'm a prospective graduate student with a keen interest in clinical health psychology, who serves as a research assistant in the CBM lab. My undergraduate studies consist of both Psychology and Media Arts and Science. I am passionate about exploring how life impacts us from a biopsychosocial perspective and how these features can be used to support someone in positive ways and increase their quality of life. Outside of research and schoolwork, I enjoy rock climbing, rainy days in a cafe, movie nights with friends, reading, and traveling.


Desiree Zielke, 2012

Clinical Psychologist, Becoming Balanced, Fargo, ND

Misty A.W. Hawkins, 2013

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University

Manisha Sawhney, 2013

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Mary, Bismark, ND

Tasneem Khambaty, 2015

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland – Baltimore County

Jessica Berntson, 2018

Registered Clinical Psychologist (Provisional), Southport Psychology, Calgary, AB

Elizabeth Vrany, 2018

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

Virgil Gonzenbach, 2018

Master's Student, The University of Texas at Dallas

Kaitlyn Walsh, 2019

Doctoral Student, Social & Personality Psychology, Texas A&M University