Founder and Principal Investigator

Kristine Klussman, PhD, is a positive psychology researcher, clinician, and community organizer dedicated to helping people more effectively solve global problems through personal accountability and transformation at the individual level. Klussman earned graduate degrees and post-graduate training in psychology from Palo Alto University, Medical College of Virginia and Harvard Medical School. She returned to her native Bay Area to found and direct California Pacific Medical Center’s Health Psychology Program, providing free behavioral and motivational counseling to seriously ill patients and their families. In 2016, Klussman founded the Purpose Project, a nonprofit think tank committed to the scientific research, exploration, education and practice of authentic connection. She speaks on issues of connection and disconnection at workshops and conferences for the general public, and offers coaching for individuals and groups, emphasizing authentic connection as the path to greater peace, purpose, productivity and well-being.


Director of Research

Austin Lee Nichols, PhD is a social psychologist who has dedicated himself to the application of psychological principles and research to improve people’s lives worldwide. In addition to his focus on the self, he has researched various topics related to health, work, personality and research methodology.

He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology and M.S. in Management from the University of Florida and has taught about various psychological principles in countries such as the USA, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Croatia, China, and Bangladesh. He has also presented his research in over a dozen countries around the world and has published over 20 papers in journals such as the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Personality and Individual Differences, and Leadership Quarterly. In addition, he recently coedited a book entitled, “Advanced Research Methods for the Social and Behavioral Sciences” that will be published next year by Cambridge University Press.

He recently relocated to San Francisco with his wife and has fallen in love with the Bay area. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, watching and playing sports, and just generally being active.


Senior Research Scientist

Nicola Curtin, PhD, is a social-personality psychologist with over 15 years’ experience conducting social behavioral research. Her focus is on using social science to improve people’s everyday lives. She is excited to explore ways that people can build both self-awareness as well as inclusive communities, because she believes the two are profoundly related.

She received her joint PhD in Psychology (Personality and Social Contexts) and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. Before starting at Connection Lab, she was an assistant professor of social psychology at Clark University (Worcester, MA) and the Program Evaluator for Stanford University’s School of Medicine Center of Excellence in Diversity in Medical Education.

She lives in Oakland with her partner and their always-on-the-move toddler. She loves to spend time with her family, read, cook and explore all that the beautiful Bay Area has to offer.


Research Associate

Julia Langer, MHS, has a passion for understanding why and how we feel, think, and interact in the hopes of better understanding how to improve lives. She obtained her Masters of Health Science in Mental Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concentrating in mental health research and intervention/prevention program development. She then went on to study children’s mental health programs and efficacy. She has a unique view of mental health through public health highlighting the need for research in resilience, wellness, and community. Julia believes there is a need for a greater understanding of how all aspects of human life and work together to promote wellness.

Outside of work Julia is an aerial arts instructor and a nature lover who enjoys spending her free time hiking and exploring the San Francisco Bay area.