Research Team

Michael Hoerger, PhD, MSCR

Dr. Hoerger is Louisiana's leading expert in psycho-oncology research. He is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Oncology at Tulane University, a Contributing Member of the Tulane Cancer Center, an MBA student ('22) at the Freeman School of Business, and the Managing Director of Palliative Care Research at the University Medical Center of New Orleans.

As a clinical health psychologist trained in healthcare research administration and strategic management, Dr. Hoerger's career focuses on improving quality of life by reducing the emotional and physical burden of cancer. Dr. Hoerger has published 80 articles and chapters in psychology and medicine, serves as a reviewer for 50 scientific journals, teaches research methodology and statistics, mentors research trainees, provides clinical services, and engages with the community on issues related to work, education, and health. Currently, he serves on the editorial board of Health Psychology, functions as Tulane's Organizational Lead for the NIH-sponsored Palliative Care Research Cooperative (PCRC), and has reviewed $100 million in research grants for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Dr. Hoerger was Tulane's first faculty member to complete the NIH-sponsored Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center's Roadmap Award. His team leads a randomized clinical trial funded by the American Cancer Society to improve knowledge and attitudes related to palliative care in the racially and socioeconomically diverse community of New Orleans. Dr. Hoerger is the Founding Director of Louisiana's Health Psychology doctoral training program and Founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Research Program.

Dr. Laura Perry, PhD

Laura is Lousiana's 1st Health Psychology PhD graduate, as of summer 2021. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane in 2016. She is particularly interested in how personality and individual differences contribute to physical and emotional health outcomes in cancer, and how knowledge of these relationships could be leveraged in clinical contexts to improve personalized medicine and patient outcomes. Additional areas of interest include health disparities, palliative care outcomes evaluation, patient perceptions of palliative care, and scale development and other statistical methods.

Brenna Mossman, MA

Brenna is a rising 2nd year doctoral student working with Dr. Michael Hoerger in the health psychology program. She graduated from Tulane with a B.S. in Psychology and Political Science, and she received an M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in research methods from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to returning to Tulane, Brenna worked as a Research Assistant at Columbia University Medical Center and a Research Manager at Adelphi Values in Boston, where she specialized in the development, selection, and implementation of clinical outcome assessments. She is interested in utilizing patient-centered outcomes and mixed methods research to understand and assess the impact of cancer on psychosocial well-being. She aims to help develop interventions that will improve health-related quality of life in those with cancer by increasing access to and utilization of palliative care.

Hallie Voss, MS

Hallie recently completed her undergraduate and Master's degree in psychology and behavioral health on the "3+1" double-accelerated track. She is interested in personality and how it can relate to palliative care and its perceptions. She plans to pursue further training in psychology, and when she is not working in the lab, she enjoys drawing, playing the guitar, and taking online personality tests.

Sarah Alonzi, BS, Senior Lab Manager

Sarah recently graduated from Loyola University studying Psychology and will pursue a PhD in adult Health Psychology at UCLA in September. She is primarily interested in exploring psychosocial and environmental factors that can be targeted and manipulated to increase treatment efficacy in cancer and chronic health conditions. Outside of her work in the lab, Sarah enjoys hiking, SCUBA diving, and her work helping other students write research proposals as a teacher's assistant for an Introduction to Research class.

Lily Freestone, BS

Lily recently graduated from Tulane after studying Neuroscience and Public Health. She is interested in how social and psychological factors play into a person's likelihood of developing and responding to disease, as well as the importance of preventive care measures such as health promotion and education.

Sanjana Easwar, BS

Sanjana is a 2nd year medical student at the LSUHSC School of Medicine in New Orleans. She earned a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University in 2020. Currently, she hopes to practice in pediatrics, ophthalmology or psychiatry. She is interested in studying physician-patient relationships as well as the integration of allopathic medicine and palliative care in cancer treatment. Outside of the lab, Sanjana enjoys dancing, music, playing tennis, and watching Saints football.

Alyssa (Seowoo) Kim

Alyssa is a Senior studying neuroscience and psychology at Tulane. She is interested in the overall health and well-being of individuals and ways to improve the quality of life of people in different settings. Alyssa's other areas of interest include palliative care, burden of family caregivers, and patient empowerment. During her free time, Alyssa enjoys traveling and cooking. Alyssa is presently abroad.

Addison Dunn

Addison is a Junior studying neuroscience, psychology, and public health at Tulane University and plans to pursue medical school in the future. She is primarily interested in exploring the psychological relationships between patients and physicians in order to maximize the best relationship and treatment plans. In addition, she is interested in psychology related to obstetrics and gynecology. Outside of the classroom and lab, Addison enjoys running and biking, and studying and tutoring Cell and Molecular Biology!

Joe Hirsch

Joe is a Junior studying Sociology at Tulane and plans to go to medical school after college. He is thinking about pursuing oncology as a possible medical specialty but is keeping other possibilities open. He is interested in how cancer affects the patient’s state of mind, as well as how cancer affects the patient’s interactions with loved ones. He is also interested in healthcare disparities, with regard to race and more. Outside of academics, Joe loves running, Spikeball, music, and hanging with friends.

Dana Zapolin

Dana is a Junior at Tulane University, studying Psychology, Public Health and French. She plans to pursue a PhD in either Clinical Psychology or Neuropsychology. The PORP lab combines her interests in Public Health and Psychology, and she is excited to be given the opportunity to work as a research assistant. In her free time, Dana enjoys playing tennis, spending time with friends and family, and volunteering with children.

Samir Sureshbabu

Samir is a Sophomore majoring in neuroscience on a pre-med track and minoring in social innovation and social entrepreneurship. He is interested in personality, biological, and cognitive psychology. He is also interested in the field of oncology, specifically the treatment of cancer. Samir likes to play tennis, listen to music, and paint in his free time.

Undergraduate Alumni Pursuing Further Academic Training
  • Katie Seibert, MD (Psychology BS in 2015): Internal Medicine resident at the University of California, Los Angeles

  • Sara Voorhees, MS (Psychology BS in 2015): Clinical Health Psychology PhD student at the University of Florida

  • Catherine Rochefort, MS (Psychology BS in 2014, Behavioral Health MS in 2015): Clinical Psychology PhD student at Southern Methodist University

  • Laura Perry, MS (Psychology BS in 2016): Health Psychology PhD student at Tulane University

  • Brooke Duarte, BS (Psychology BS in 2016): Clinical Psychology PhD student at Suffolk University

  • Ashley Beggin, BS (Psychology BS in 2017): Clinical Psychology PhD student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

  • Leah Walsh, MS (Psychology BS in 2017, Behavioral Health MS in 2018): Clinical Health Psychology PhD student at Fordham University

  • Hannah Mercorella, BS (Psychology BS in 2019): Pre-nursing student at the University of Miami

  • Adina Kazan, BS (Neuroscience BS in 2019): MD student at Thomas Jefferson University

  • Sanjana Easwar, BS (Cell and Molecular Biology BS in 2020): MD student at Louisiana State University

  • James Rogers, BS (Psychology BS and Neuroscience BS in 2020): Post-bac at the National Cancer Institute