Hi, I'm Dan.
founder & director of The Match Lab
I’m a social psychologist and dating expert with a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a master's degree from UCLA, and a PhD candidacy in psychology from UCLA. In my studies, I've won $200,000 in research funding and published over 30 scientific articles on new discoveries in psychology. I'm also an award-winning writer, poet, and comedian.
But my life had a rocky start.
I was born with two tremoring hands, two unstable legs, and several hundred spastic muscles from head to toe.
Being born with cerebral palsy, I spent my first weeks on life support in the ICU hoping to make it each day. And the experiences I've had have shaped who I am today and the work I do.
Growing up, I spent thousands of hours in physical, occupational, and speech therapy learning how to walk, talk, and use my hands. In school, while my classmates worried about how they’d look with braces on their teeth, I spent my childhood with corrective braces on my legs. While my classmates worked through problems on our math tests, I was still struggling to hold a pencil the right way. And while my classmates played freely outside after school, I was stuck in occupational therapy learning how to tie my own shoes.
My life experiences have taught me the value of perseverance and the power of optimism. I know what it's like to struggle, to feel helpless, and to be the underdog — and what it's like to overcome the hardest of challenges.
I never let having a phsyical disability hold me back. In fact, I've dedicated a lot of my life to seeing how much I can defy my physical limitations athletically. In elementary school, I became a brown belt in karate. In middle school, I was on my school's swimming, wrestling, and tennis teams. And in high school, I went pro with my favorite of all sports — ping pong — and became a member of the U.S. National Paralympic Table Tennis Team.
For a year of my life, I was a professional ping pong player, fully funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee to train, travel, and compete around the world. During that time, I competed on behalf of the U.S. in three international tournaments, representing American athletes with disabilties. I achieved a ranking of #60 in the world and #2 in the U.S. for athletes within my Paralympic division. Since then, I've won a bronze medal at the 2022 U.S. National Championships and a gold medal at the 2022 U.S. Open. Each time I play table tennis, I am reminded that we are each so much more than the limitations that hold us back.
For college, I went to Cornell University in beautiful upstate New York. At Cornell, I discovered my passion for psychology. I became fascinated by understanding how people think, feel, and behave, and the science of attraction — how people choose whom to date (and whom not to date). From Cornell, I was awarded best senior honors thesis, graduated in the top 1% of my class, and was named a Presidential Scholar.
After Cornell, I began my graduate studies in social psychology at UCLA. I currently hold a master's degree in social psychology and a PhD candidacy in social psychology from UCLA.
While at UCLA, I've won $200,000 in research funding and published over 30 scientific articles on new discoveries in psychology. I've been awarded seven fellowships and was recognized as one of the top doctoral students in the U.S. by the American Psychological Association.
My research has been featured in Psychology Today, Cheddar, Daily Mail, New York Post, New York Magazine, and on Netflix.
Outside of my research and ping pong careers, I'm a stand-up comedian who's performed shows at several venues around Los Angeles, including The Hollywood Improv, Boston Court Pasadena, The Pico, and The Comedy Chateau.
I'm also trained in improvisational comedy and, of course, well-read on the psychology of humor. 😉
From these life experiences, I use my unique perspective to create authentic dating profiles that stand out from the crowd and attract compatible matches. For each client's profile, I take my training as a social psychologist, scientist, writer, and comedian and put it to work.
Interested in working together on your dating profile? I'd love to hear from you.