Faculty and Staff


Cary Savage, Ph.D.Cary R. Savage, Ph.D.
• Director, Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience
• John H. Wineinger Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Email: csavage@kumc.edu

Dr. Savage received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University. He completed an internship in clinical psychology and postdoctoral fellowships in neuropsychology and functional neuroimaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School. He remained on the faculty of MGH and served as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and as the Director of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at MGH.

Dr. Savage moved to Kansas City in 2003 to serve as Director of Functional MRI in the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center and as a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at KUMC. He was recently named director of the new Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience at KUMC and the John H. Wineinger Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Savage has published more than 100 research papers and review articles, and he is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, and Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Dr. Savage's research has been continuously funded since 1995, when he received a Scientist Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His work is currently supported by the NIH and private foundations. Dr. Savage's research uses functional neuroimaging techniques to identify how the brain contributes to strategic behaviors and decision making. Areas of specific focus include brain mechanisms of healthy and unhealthy eating, exercise adherence, and other health behaviors.


Florence Jean Breslin, M.S., CCRPFlorence Breslin
• Senior Research Associate and Manager for Research Operations
• Email: fbreslin@kumc.edu
Florence received her Master of Science degree in biology from the University of Virginia in 2006. Following her graduate work, Florence studied preclinical addiction at the UVA Center for Addiction Research and Education; analyzing the effects of drug treatments on alcohol addiction and sex differences in cocaine and nicotine addiction. At the Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience, she is a senior research associate and the manager for research operations.



Jennifer Freund, MHSA, FACHEJennifer Freund
• Assistant Director
• Email: jfreund2@kumc.edu
Jennifer joined the Center for Health Behavior Neurosciences in July 2012. Jennifer had been with the University of Florida Physicians and Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., as the manager for the outpatient hematology/oncology clinics and the outpatient infusion center. She also worked for a time on general administrative and operational projects relating to all 31 of the outpatient physician clinics. Jennifer started her administrative career at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at KUMC in 2003, serving as the administrative assistant and subsequently the administrative officer. In 2006, she was named the Research Administrator of the Year for KUMC. She has a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in health services administration, both from the University of Kansas. She is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and has served on the board for the North Florida Chapter of ACHE.



Josh Powell A.B.Joshua Powell
• Research Associate
Email: jpowell2@kumc.edu
Josh received his A.B. in history and science from Harvard University in 2004. After college, Josh joined the Department of Preventive Medicine at KUMC where he coordinated an fMRI study of nicotine craving. After serving as project manager in the Department of Family Medicine and research assistant at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, Josh left KUMC to start a small business providing technology consultation to small and medium business clients in the Minneapolis area. He returned to the Kansas City area to accept a position as statistical programmer for Quintiles, a fully integrated bio and pharmaceutical services provider.
Josh joined the CHBN in 2011 to conduct and expand the center's procedures for fMRI data analysis, as well as provide support for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh workstations.



Whitney Sparks, M.S.Whitney Sparks
•  Research Assistant
•  Email: wsparks@kumc.edu
Whitney received a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in biology at Birmingham Southern College in 2008. She then completed her Master of Science in applied psychology from the University of South Alabama in 2010 with her thesis investigating the efficacy of a dietary intervention for symptoms of PMDD. Her research interests include using neuropsychology and fMRI to investigate health behaviors involved with obesity and improving efficacy in obesity interventions. She currently works as a project coordinator under Dr. Cary Savage on Neuroimaging Studies of Reward, Impulsivity, and Adherence to an Exercise Program.



Teresa Y. Pan, B.S., B.A.Teresa Pan
•  Graduate Research Assistant

•  Email: tpan@kumc.edu
Teresa is a doctoral student in the clinical health psychology program at the University of Kansas. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology and neuroscience, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, in 2009. Her current research has been supported by the University of Kansas's Psychology Strategic Initiative Grant and Doctoral Student Research Fund, and explores variations in brain activity patterns that may be potential neurocognitive markers associated with obesity and depression vulnerability. In addition to research, Teresa is developing her skills as a clinician through the KU Psychological Clinic and KU Medical Center.

Where are they now?

Rebecca Lepping, Ph.D.
•  Email: rchambers@kumc.edu
Rebecca is a former research assistant at the Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience. She holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology of music (2004) from the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, England, and a Master of Arts degree in piano performance (2008) from the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She received her doctoral degree in cognitive psychology at the University of Kansas in 2013, and is now the Functional MRI Manager at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center. During her research career, she has been involved in a variety of neuroimaging studies of obesity, traumatic brain injury, and memory in aging musicians. Her dissertation work used music as an affective probe to study the neural basis of emotion processing in depression and other psychiatric disorders. She uses both fMRI and ERP methodologies in her research in affective neuroscience, studying emotion by exploring the cognitive and affective etiology and symptomatology of depression.  In her current position as fMRI Manager, she is exploring additional neuroimaging and data analytic techniques, including arterial spin labeling (ASL), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and brain morphometry (VBM).


Christy Olson, Ph.D.
Email: colsen2@kumc.edu
Christy Olson completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Olson's graduate work, which was funded by a predoctoral NRSA award, focused on neural correlates of memory in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University. 


Trisha Patrician, M.A.
Email: tpatrician@kumc.edu
Trisha completed her coursework and dissertation ("A Longitudinal Investigation of Psychological and Neural Mechanisms of Weight Loss") toward her doctoral degree in the clinical health psychology program at the University of Kansas, from which she also received a Master of Arts degree in psychology in 2011. She served as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Savage's R01 ("Brain Function Predictors of Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance") from 2008 to 2013 and assisted with data collection and analysis. She has presented findings from this study at Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and The Obesity Society annual conferences. Her research interests involve emotion regulation, eating behavior, and fMRI. Clinically, she has significant experience with neuropsychological assessment, and she has co-led groups on behavioral treatment for depression and mindfulness skills development.  Currently Trisha is a predoctoral intern at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. 

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