For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop

Research Team

Left to Right: Yunxi Yang, Martha Rueter, Ascan Koerner, Carey Hoppmann, Kayla Anderson, Amy Walkner-Spaan, Jennifer Connor, Laurel Davis

Investigators

Martha Rueter, Ph.D.

Professor Martha Rueter is an Associate Professor (faculty profile) in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Human Development and Family Studies.

Professor Rueter is the Principal Investigator for the Family Communication Project. This means that she is the person primarily responsible for the overall administration of the Family Communication Project. Professor Rueter has served as Principal Investigator or Investigator on more than a dozen research projects related to her research interests, which include family interactions in families where children are not genetically related to parents, adoptive family interactions, and child and adolescent adjustment within the family context.

Professor Rueter teaches graduate and undergraduate Family Research Methods courses.

Ascan Koerner, Ph.D.

Professor Ascan Koerner is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota (faculty profile). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Communication Arts.

Professor Koerner is an investigator on the Family Communication Project. His main responsibilities include supervising the parts of the research project dealing with family communication, including the observations made in the family communication laboratory. In addition, his previous work on family communication patterns provide much of the theoretical underpinnings of the research project.

His academic interests focus on family communication and on the cognitive basis of relationships and their influence on interpersonal communication, including message production and message interpretation. Professor Koerner teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Interpersonal Communication, Persuasion, Social Cognition and Communication Theory.

Jennifer Connor, Ph.D.

Professor Jennifer Connor is an associate professor in the Community Psychology Department at St. Cloud State University (faculty profile), teaching in the community psychology program and the marriage and family therapy program.

Professor Connor is a co-investigator on the Family Communication Project, leading the recruitment team and serving as the ART mental health expert. Her research interests include women's health issues, sexuality, and investigating healthy family dynamics.

Professor Connor is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT and Minnesota Board Approved Supervisor. She also provides individual, couples, and family therapy in Big Lake, MN at Family Prospective Resources specializing in women's health and infertility.

Mark Damario, M.D.

Dr. Mark Damario is the Medical Director of the Reproductive Medicine Center at the University of Minnesota, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health.

Dr. Damario received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1986. He completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency and additional fellowships, including one in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and has a subspecialty certification in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Dr. Damario's clinical and research interests are in assisted reproductive techniques (ART) and the long-term health outcomes for children conceived using ART, reproductive surgeries, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Brad Van Voorhis, M.D.

Dr. Bradley Van Voorhis, MD, is the Director of the University of Iowa Center for Advanced Reproductive Care. He is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is board certified in both general obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Dr. Van Voorhis received his medical degree from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 1984. He completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the Medical College of Virginia and fellowship training at Harvard Medical School.

His clinical interests include infertility and reproductive endocrinology. Dr. Van Voorhis' research interests are in fertility outcomes, single embryo transfer with IVF, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) and the long-term health outcomes for children conceived using ART.

Joanna E. Scheib, Ph.D.

Joanna E. Scheib, Ph.D.

Dr Scheib is an associate adjunct professor at University of California, Davis. The goal of her research program is to understand the experiences and well-being of families created through donor insemination.

In collaboration with The Sperm Bank of California in Berkeley, as Research Director, she is examining (i) the role of family relationships, openness and functioning in the well-being of donor-conceived adolescents and adults, (ii) the experiences of being raised in non-traditional families, (iii) the effect of open-identity donation on recipient and donor families, and (iv) the outcome of releasing donor identities to donor-conceived adults. Findings from this work help with the development of policy for open-identity gamete donation. TSBC is the oldest organization in the US to offer open-identity donation, meaning that people conceived with the help of this program are some of the first in the world to access their donor's identity in planned releases.

Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.

Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.

Alice D. Domar, Ph.D. is a pioneer in the application of mind/body medicine to women's health issues. She not only established the first Mind/Body Center for Women's Health, but also conducts ongoing ground-breaking research in the field. Her research focuses on the relationship between stress and different women's health conditions, and creating innovative programs to help women decrease physical and psychological symptoms. She has conducted research on infertility, breast cancer, menopausal symptoms, ovarian cancer, and premenstrual syndrome.

Dr. Domar has earned an international reputation as one of the country's top women's health experts. She is currently the Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF. She is an associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and a senior staff psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Domar has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as a best-selling author, media authority and sought-after public speaker. She is the author of numerous books, on the advisory board for Parents, Health and Shape Magazines, and Resolve, and on the Board of Experts for ShareCare.com.

Lauri Pasch, Ph.D.

Dr. Lauri Pasch is an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and a psychologist at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health. Pasch specializes in infertility, family building and reproductive health, and her main research interest is psychological aspects of infertility. As a nationally recognized expert in research addressing the psychological needs of fertility patients, she has published studies on the psychological consequences of infertility treatment, parenting children born from egg and sperm donation, and marital communication.

She has been part of the Center for Reproductive Health team for more than 10 years, conducting consultations for the center's patients. She also coordinates its stress reduction program, support groups and psychoeducational workshops on topics such as egg donation, adoption and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Pasch is a member of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and is currently its scientific director. She speaks nationally on topics such as third-party reproduction and coping with PCOS.

Research Staff

Kayla Anderson

Kayla Anderson is a M.A./Ph.D. student in the Family Social Science department at the University of Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in Youth, Adult, and Family Services from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Kayla's position on the Family Communication Project currently involves developing the online survey measures and survey instrument, overseeing the project budget, and developing the project budgets for grant funding. Kayla's research interests include: complex families, family interactions, and child and adolescent adjustment within the family and social context.

Muzi Chen

Muzi Chen

Muzi Chen is a M.A./Ph.D. student in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S.B. in Human Resources and Industrial Relationships from the University.

Muzi's current responsibility for the Family Communication Project is grant budget development. Muzi's research interests are family interactions, trauma and resilience, parenting and child adjustment, as well as prevention and intervention.

In her spare time, Muzi enjoys traveling, watching movies, and playing the violin. 

Laurel Davis

Laurel Davis is a Ph.D. student in the Family Social Science Department at the University of Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in music from Macalester College.

Laurel's work on the project includes recruiting families and helping with the online data collection. Laurel's research focuses on family interactions. She is especially interested in how parents influence the way children understand and regulate their emotions. Laurel also works with Ambit Network, a center at the U of M that disseminates evidence-based parenting training programs and treatments for traumatized children.

In her spare time, Laurel likes to garden, play ice hockey, and perform with the Macalester College Bagpipe Band.

Carey Hoppmann

Carey Hoppmann is a third year undergraduate in the Family Social Science program at the University of Minnesota.

Her position with the Family Communications Project includes administrative organization. Carey is also conducting research in the Family Medicine department at the University, relating to family meals and child health outcomes.

Amy Walkner-Spaan

Amy Walkner-Spaan is a Ph.D. student in the Family Social Science Department at the University of Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her master's degree in social work from Tulane University in New Orleans. Her current research interests include grief and loss, adoptive family relationships, and non-biologically related families.

Amy's positions on the Family Communication Project include overseeing the recruitment of families and supervising interviewers for the in-lab family observation.

In her spare time Amy enjoys playing the bass clarinet with the Grand Symphonic Winds and visiting her family in Wisconsin.

Yunxi Yang

Yunxi Yang is an M.A. student in the Family Social Science Department at the University of Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Sichuan University, China. Her current research interests include father involvement, family communication patterns, and intergenerational relations across lifespan.

Yunxi's responsibilities on the Family Communication Project include website maintenance and survey measurement.

In her spare time, Yunxi enjoys reading, journaling, photography, and oriental dance.