Swati Pandita, PhD
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Dr. Swati Pandita is a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researching social media and well-being. Her research interests lie at the intersection of virtual embodiment (i.e., self-representations and avatars), mental health (i.e., emotion dysregulation), and identity (i.e., race and illness identities). Prior to her work at Caltech, she completed her doctoral studies in Communication at Cornell University, where she studied avatar embodiment and its effects on mental well-being in immersive media. She leverages a multi-disciplinary background in communication (PhD, MS), information science (MPS), and neuroscience (BS) to create virtual environments for managing emotion dysregulation (i.e., depression and anxiety) and inform future clinical applications of XR (e.g., avatar-based psychotherapies). 
Dr. Pandita's work advances both theoretical and therapeutic XR research, with a rigorous commitment to diverse perspectives. Her research engages under-represented minorities in the mental health space, incorporates clinical and non-clinical collaborators, and employs qualitative and quantitative methods. Balancing a variety of perspectives, her work has been broadly published in Translational Issues in Psychiatry, PLOS One, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Similarly, her work has been presented at conference venues such as IEEE Virtual Reality, The International Communication Association (ICA), and Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI). She is also committed to educating researchers about XR, with published work on the clinical applications of VR, and has held numerous workshops to this end.