Who We Are

Principal Investigator

Lawrence Fung, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Lawrence Fung is an Assistant Professor (Medical Center Line) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He received his BS with honors from University of California at Berkeley, MS in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, PhD from Cornell University, and MD from George Washington University. Dr. Fung completed his general psychiatry residency, child & adolescent psychiatry fellowship, and postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford University. Dr. Fung is a researcher and clinician specialized in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the father of a neurodiverse teenager with ASD. He serves as the principal investigator of studies investigating the neurobiology of ASD by state-of-the-art molecular neuroimaging and bioanalytical technologies. He studies novel pharmacologic interventions, including pregnenolone. Dr. Fung is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. Dr. Fung directs the Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic, which specializes in assessing and treating adults with ASD. 

Current Members

Christy Matta, M.A.

Christy Matta, M.A. is a mental health practitioner specializing in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and work with emotional dysregulation and throughout her career she has worked with neurodiverse individuals. Prior to joining the Stanford Neurodiversity Project as Program Manager she worked in non-profits and local government and in 2004, she co-designed and provided clinical supervision to a winner of the American Psychiatric Associations (APA) Gold Award. Christy is the author of “The Stress Response”.

Sumayah Nuhaily Eddington, M.P.H.

Sumayah is a public health practitioner specializing in behavioral sciences research with a particular interest in working with underrepresented populations. Prior to joining the Fung lab as lab manager/clinical research coordinator, she received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from San Diego State University and subsequently a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University.

Vicky Lam, B.A.

Vicky recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Biomedical Research. With the Fung Lab, she wishes to continue exploring her passion for science by assisting with neuroimaging studies on Autism Spectrum Disorder. She hopes to apply the insight and knowledge gained from clinical research towards her future education in medical school. 

Isabelle Frances Morris, B.S.

Isabelle recently graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in psychology. She is unapologetically Autistic and is passionate about using her experiences to change systems for the better. Isabelle is excited to join the Stanford Neurodiversity Project in developing student support programs.

Kevin Sun, M.M. Piano, B.A.S.

Kevin is an M.D. candidate of Stanford University School of Medicine. Interested in psychiatry, he seeks to learn more about neurodiversity to better serve his future patients. He joined the Fung lab in 2019 to work on neuroimaging and neurosteroid metabolomics studies, and to contribute to the Stanford Neurodiversity Project. Outside of research, Kevin is a concert pianist with a Masters degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

David James, M.A., B.A.

David is an MD candidate at Stanford with an interest in psychiatry.  Before medical school, David studied GABAergic interneuron development as a graduate student.  He joined the Fung Lab to further explore both of his interests in neuroscience and autism by assisting with the molecular neuroimaging project.  Outside of the lab, David is an avid hiker, cyclist, and weightlifter. 

Paulette Penzvalto, PGDip, AD

Paulette is a Program Manager in Corporate Engineering at Google. She is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, leads Autism Programs at Google and is active in the Google Disability Alliance. Paulette presents nationally on issues pertaining to Autism and Employment in tech and studied Computer Science while a student at Columbia University, has two graduate degrees in Opera and has performed internationally. Paulette is pursuing a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts at Stanford. She focuses on neuroscience and music research in the Fung Lab.

Neha Konakalla

Neha is an undergraduate student at Stanford, passionate about doing research in artificial intelligence, linguistics, and psychology to help individuals, especially those with special needs, improve their language and communication skills. She is currently working on the BuddyBot study with Dr. Fung.

Kelsey Wu

Kelsey is an undergraduate student at Harvard University. Her volunteer work with Special Melodies Choir for youth with autism sparked her interest in music cognition and Autism Spectrum Disorder research. She is currently working on the development of a musical abilities assessment for individuals with ASD. In school, she is actively involved in student government and she enjoys performing vocal jazz.

Helen Zhu

Helen is a junior at The Harker School in San Jose, interested in interdisciplinary research involving neuroscience, music, psychology, and computer science. She is a passionate volunteer for children with autism, a section editor on her school journalism team, and an avid pianist and vocalist. She is working on BuddyBot and the development of a musical abilities assessment in the Fung Lab. 

Collaborators

  • Susanne Bruyere, PhD
    Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University
  • Fred Chin, PhD
    Department of Radiology, Stanford
  • Takako Fujioka, PhD
    Department of Music, Stanford
  • Joachim Hallmayer, MD, Dr Med
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Antonio Hardan, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Lynn Koegel, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Robert Koegel, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Monica Lam, PhD
    Department of Computer Science, Stanford
  • Linda Lotspeich, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Ruth O’Hara, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • JP Onnela, PhD
    Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Harvard University
  • Karen Parker, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Jennifer Phillips, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Bernhard Ross, PhD
    Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto
  • Manish Saggar, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Diana Sarko, PhD
    Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
  • David Spiegel, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Daniel Spielman, PhD
    Department of Radiology, Stanford
  • Keith Sudheimer, PhD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Wenchao Sun, PhD
    Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory, Stanford
  • Nolan Williams, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford

Alumni

Ryan Flores, BS

Ryan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Upon graduating, he began work at the Fung Lab where he primarily focused on the GABA Project. Ryan is excited for the opportunity to continue working on neuroimaging studies for the advancement of Autism Research. He is currently a medical student at the University of Southern California.

Rachel Schuck, M.A.

Rachel was a research coordinator in the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program. She has a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley and an MA in Special Education from San Jose State University. She is interested in family involvement in autism intervention as well as developing and optimizing assessment tools. In the Fung Lab, Rachel administers the neuropsychological assessments, such as diagnostic and IQ testing. Outside of work, Rachel loves cats, basketball, traveling, and Disneyland. She is currently a graduate student at University of California at Santa Barbara.

Emily Arnold, B.S.

Emily Arnold graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in neurobiology. On campus, Emily is a member of The Suitcase Clinic, which provides medical and social services for homeless women and children. She is interested in studying the biological mechanisms behind neuropsychological disorders. She is currently a research assistant at UCSF.

  • Mary Hrulbut, M.A.
  • Leila Chew, BS (Currently at UCLA School of Medicine)
  • Lauren Kwa
  • Belinda Esqueda
  • Joriene Mercado