Current Environment:

Meet the PI

Headshot of a brunette woman, Sarah Nelson. Sarah Nelson, PhD - Principal Investigator

Sarah Nelson, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an Attending Psychologist in the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. Her research focuses on the incidence rate and correlates of adverse childhood experiences in pediatric chronic pain populations and on the neurobiological mechanisms of psychological stress, including allostatic load, in pediatric chronic pain. She is the past recipient of a Boston Children's Hospital Office of Faculty Development Career Development Award and a current recipient of a five-year K23 award from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is the first clinical trial to examine the neurobiological mechanisms of stress and mind-body interventions in youth with chronic widespread pain.

Lab Members

Morgan Mitcheson Morgan Mitcheson, B.S. (she/her)
Clinical Research Assistant 

Morgan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Youth and Communities Studies from Suffolk University in Spring of 2023. She is currently the Research Assistant for the fMRI study on pain and stress and how they interact in the brains of adolescents. She is also a research assistant for the Young Adult Pain Rehabilitation Program. In her free time, Morgan enjoys singing, dancing, and cooking new recipes to try!


Brent Leung Brent Leung, B.S
Research Intern

Brent is a graduate student at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine where he is currently completing his Master’s in Medical Sciences. He graduated from Queen’s University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Life Sciences and minoring in Economics. Brent’s current focus is on the physiological mechanisms of stress and how they sensitize individuals to pain. He hopes to discover new targets for treatments and therapies that alleviate the pain caused by stress. 


Sydni Britton Sydni Britton, B.S
Research Intern

Sydni graduated from Fordham University with a BS in Biology and African & African American Studies in 2022. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Medical Science at Boston University. Sydni is interested in investigating how social determinants of health in marginalized communities impact youth with chronic pain. In addition, she works at Boston Medical Center as a scribe, and as an administrative assistant at the Urban Farming Institute in Dorchester.



A woman with brown hair, Bridget Nestor, poses outside for her pain and stress studies team headshot. Bridget Nestor, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Bridget Nestor, PhD is a post-doctoral research fellow at Boston’s Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2022 and completed her clinical internship at Franciscan Children’s. As a post-doc, her research interests include studying the effects of stress on physical and mental health in adolescents. She is also interested in using digital assessments to better understand adolescents’ social and behavioral patterns. Clinically, she is interested in taking a biopsychosocial approach to provide evidence-based intervention to youth and families.


A man, Joaquin Moreno, with dark hair and glasses wears a blue suit for his headshot for the pain and studies lab team page. Joaquin Moreno, BSA, BA
Research Assistant

Joaquin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2021 with a BSA in Biology, BA in Sociology, and Business of Healthcare Certificate from the McComb’s School of Business. He is currently pursuing an MS/MPH dual degree in Medical Sciences and Healthcare Management from Boston University’s School of Medicine (GMS) and Boston University’s School of Public Health. Joaquin is interested in studying how pediatric health disparities influence youth with chronic pain.


Jenny Kim
Clinical Research Coordinator
Samantha headshot, a woman with dark hair has a closed mouth smile as she stares at the camera. Samantha Bento, PhD
Co-Investigator and Collaborator

Samantha P. Bento, Ph.D. is an attending psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Instructor at Harvard Medical School. Sam earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in behavioral medicine and pediatric psychology, from UMBC. She completed her psychology residency at Duke University Medical Center and her post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric pain at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Her research interests include pediatric pain management (with a specific interest in cancer pain), psychoneuroimmunology, and the psychosocial functioning and coping mechanisms of children diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Srinath-Aarabhi, BS Aarabhi (Nammu) Srinath
Research Intern

Aarabhi (Nammu) Srinath graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is currently completing a Master’s in Medical Sciences at Boston University. She is currently helping research the interaction between pain and stress in adolescent populations with chronic pain at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also acting as a medical scribe in the adult pulmonary department at Tufts Medical Center. She has a passion for healthcare and wants to help serve underrepresented populations in the future.