The Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Group  

Meet Our Team

Principal Investigators


Heidi Feldman, MD, PhD

Dr. Feldman is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician in the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine. Her research interests have focused on children with various clinical disorders, including otitis media, autism, and intellectual disability. She has also studied children with neurological injury, including children who have experienced strokes and children born preterm with and without white matter injury, many of whom have cerebral palsy. Her current research focuses on language and cognition after prematurity. She is also extremely interested in improving the delivery of health care to children with developmental and behavioral disorders.




Irene Loe, MD

Dr. Loe is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician in the Department of Pediatrics. Her past research has focused on academic and educational outcomes, early behavior and cognitive profiles, and executive function (EF) impairments in school age children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Her current research interests focus on EF, attention, learning, and behavior in preschool children at high risk of these problems due to preterm birth or family history of ADHD. She is particularly interested in the links between EF skills and academic and functional outcomes as well as interventions targeting EF skills. Ultimately, she hopes to investigate whether improvements in EF skills result in better outcomes for high-risk children.




Lynne Huffman, MD

Dr. Huffman is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Teaching Line at Stanford University. She is in General Pediatrics as well as the section of Developmental Medicine. She serves as the Director of Outcomes Measurement and Research at the Children’s Health Council. She is very active in the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Residency Rotation.






Michal Ben Shachar, PhD: Dr. Michal Ben-Shachar is a Lecturer in the English Department and a member of the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, where she is the Head of the Neurolinguistics Lab. She completed her Ph.D. at Tel-Aviv University and conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University.






Yael Leitner, MD: Dr. Leitner is a senior pediatric neurologist and the director of the Tel- Aviv Child Development Center and pediatric ADHD clinic, affiliated with the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University. She is a senior lecturer in pediatrics, the organizer of the continuing medical education course in developmental neurology and the secretary of the Israeli Child Development Society. Her research work and interest centers around risk factors in developmental disabilities, prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation and the later impact of minor fetal MRI abnormalities on neurocognitive development.



Katie Travis, PhD: Katie is an Instructor in Pediatrics. She began working with Dr. Feldman after obtaining her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego in 2011. Katie’s doctoral research investigated the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological correlates of word understanding abilities in healthy 1-2 year old infants.  She is experienced using a range of human neuroimaging techniques including magneto and electro-encephalography as well as structural MRI techniques in pediatric populations. Building on these experiences, Katie joined Dr. Feldman’s laboratory to study how language and reading skills develop in older children and children at risk for learning disabilities.  Specifically, she will be studying how white matter structures of the brain contribute to reading skills in both healthy children and children who were born pre-term. Understanding both the neural and behavioral factors underlying reading abilities in children will help to identify children who are at greatest risk for learning difficulties. In later stages of this research, Katie hopes to assist in designing interventional strategies for improving reading abilities in children at risk for delays.


Research Assistants

Vanessa Durand, BA: Vanessa is the research assistant and lab manager for Dr. Feldman. She graduated from Harvard University in May 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology with a Life Science emphasis and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Educational and School Psychology. Vanessa is interested in the interactions of childhood developmental disabilities and learning disabilities with various educational outcomes and targeted educational and behavioral interventions. Her primary research project is investigating how preterm and term born children differ in how they learn how to read, and how each group of children develops skilled reading throughout early elementary school. Vanessa is also taking on a key role in the development and implementation of an intervention aimed at helping both preterm and term born who are struggling with reading and reading-related skills. 



Elizabeth Loi, BA: Liz is a research assistant for Dr. Feldman and Dr. Loe. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 with a B.A. in History. Her thesis focused on child rearing in the United States during the post-World War II era. While she was at UC Berkeley, she was involved as a research assistant in several psychology labs, including most recently, the Cal Mania Program, where she worked on a study examining reward sensitivity in bipolar disorder. At the DBP Research Group, Liz co-coordinates the Predicting Language Outcomes From Early Processing Efficiency in Preterm Children Study and coordinates the Myofascial Structural Integration for Cerebral Palsy Study. She is also a coach for The Executive Function in Preschool Children at Risk for Inattention and Hyperactivity Study. Liz is broadly interested in atypical development, socioemotional competence, and the factors that contribute to improved outcomes in children of various clinical populations.


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