Current Lab Members

Patrick Hill


Dr. Hill’s research focuses on how individual dispositions influence outcomes associated with healthy aging and development across the lifespan. His recent work has examined the value of living a purposeful life, being dispositionally forgiving of others, as well as having a conscientious disposition. His research has focused on identifying developmental trends on these and other dispositional traits, the factors that influence their change trajectories over the lifespan, as well as the mechanisms linking them to positive (and negative) outcomes. In addition, Dr. Hill is a dog person.

Gabrielle Pfund


Gabrielle majored in Psychology and Hispanic Studies at Pepperdine University, from which she graduated in the Spring of 2018. Her research explores the way relationships and purpose shape each other. Her current research focuses on how romantic partners can help or hurt each other’s sense of purpose, and how similarities between sense of purpose levels and life goals predict relationship outcomes. Lastly, and also most importantly, Gabrielle is a dog person.

Megan Wilson

Megan majored in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Missouri, where she graduated in 2018. Stay tuned for more on Megan!

Rachel Best


Rachel is an undergraduate student majoring in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology with a minor in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities. Her primary research interests include late-life transitions and the interaction of personality and health in older adults. Her current research projects focus on the influence of personality, social adjustment, and health behavior on cognitive decline and the effects of retirement on purpose in life. Rachel is a dog person.

Ellie Martin


Ellie is a senior at Lindenwood University majoring in Psychology and Sociology while minoring in Nonprofit Administration. Her research interests include religion and its relationship to individuals’ sense of purpose and health. Above all, Ellie is a dog person.

International Lab Members

Laura Dewitte


Laura received her BA in Psychology, and MS in Clinical and Health Psychology at KU Leuven, where she is currently working on her PhD in Psychology with Dr. Jessie Dezutter. Laura’s research focuses on meaning in life among older adults and those dealing with non-normative cognitive decline. She is currently collaborating with the PATH Lab on projects related to purpose and cognitive functioning, as well as how best to measure purpose and meaning in different populations.

Lab Alumni

Gemma Baugh


Gemma is a former PATH Lab undergraduate research assistant. She graduated with a degree from the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at WUSTL along with minors in Computer Science and Writing. Her research in the PATH Lab examined purpose across the United States and how purpose is associated with variables such as financial status and physical health when examined at the state level.

Felix Cheung


Dr. Cheung was a former postdoctoral research associate in the PATH lab. His research focuses on individual, familial, and societal predictors of mental health, with a particular focus on life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing. His research with the PATH Lab has examined societal and statewide correlates of purpose, and how income mobility influences societal wellbeing. Dr. Cheung is now a research assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong.