Meet the Team



Assistant Professor and Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Faculty 
Scholar in Pediatric Translational Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Pediatric Mood Disorders Program
Director, Pediatric Emotion And Resilience Lab
Stanford University School of Medicine

Owen Phillips, Ph.D.

Dr. Owen Phillips grew up next to San Francisco in Marin County. There he went to Redwood High School in Larkspur before he moved south to Los Angeles. In 2006, he obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Owen dedicated the next few years to neuroscience research at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) in UCLA. In early 2012, he moved to Rome, Italy and conducted research at the Santa Lucia Foundation hospital. At the end of 2015, he was awarded his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. In January, he joined Manpreet Singh’s lab at Stanford University as a Postdoctoral Fellow. 

Dr. Phillips’ research integrates brain imaging, genomics and neurocognitive data in novel ways to uncover new insights into the brain's structure and function. For more information, please visit:  

Alexis Staver

Lexi graduated from San Jose State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child Development. After graduating, she moved to Boston to complete a master's in Applied Child Development in the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. During her time in Boston, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. John Weisz's Laboratory for Youth Mental Health at Harvard University. At the PEARL lab, she currently works as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the AIMS and MOMENTUM studies. Lexi is passionate about improving the mental health of children and adolescents, and in her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors and eating good food.

Jane Zaiko

Jane received two baccalaureate degrees simultaneously in Psychology and Fine Arts from San Jose State University. After graduating, Jane worked with the Stanford Etkin Lab where she coordinated and acquired neuroimaging data for a number of clinical trials aiming to strengthen the current biological and psychological foundation in understanding depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Her research interests lie in studying anatomical changes in the brain in response to alternative approaches to trauma treatment. She is currently working towards a degree in diagnostic medical imaging, and hopes to study the brain’s process of repair and rehabilitation. In her free time, Jane enjoys traveling, reading, making art, and listening to music.

Melissa Packer, MA

Melissa received an M.A. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University. Prior to joining PEARL, she was the lab manager for the  Cancer Survivorship Research Team, also in the Stanford Psychiatry and  Behavioral Sciences Department. Melissa is interested in elucidating the neurobiological underpinnings of pediatric mood disorders and mechanisms of treatment response; the heterogeneity in the presentation of mood disorders with a specific interest in aggression, impulsivity, and irritability; the transactional nature between parenting and children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior; intergenerational transmission of risk for mood disorders; and peer relationship correlates of mood disorders in youth, especially bullying behavior (both perpetration and victimization), popularity/unpopularity, and friendlessness. Because Melissa also has a forensic psychology bent, she hopes to eventually examine these topics specifically in justice-involved youth as well. She plans to pursue an interdisciplinary academic research career. Outside of research, she enjoys hiking, scary movies, baking, and llamas.

Danielle Wall

Danielle grew up in sunny Sarasota, Florida before receiving her bachelors degree in Neurobiology from Harvard University. As an undergraduate, she focused much of her time on research, serving as an RA for multiple labs and organizations, including the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies, the Harvard Center for Brain Science, the MIT Department of Biological Engineering, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. After graduating, she worked as a clinical research associate at Halo Neuroscience, a San Francisco-based neurostimulation company. Now a clinical research coordinator within Stanford's Pediatric Mood Disorders Program, her primary research interests involve better characterizing the biological and psychosocial factors involved in the development of psychiatric disorders in order to improve treatment for affected individuals. Outside of work, she loves writing music, exploring the great outdoors, and her Australian Shepherd Tucker.

Lizzy Weisman

Lizzy grew up in Atherton, California before graduating from Harvard University in 2014 with a major in Psychology. During her junior year she worked as a lab assistant at a Harvard lab for developmental sciences.  Prior to joining PEARL, she worked at Apple as a project manager for ResearchKit. 

In her free time, Lizzy can be found playing soccer, attending music concerts or trying out new restaurants.

Sara Leslie

Sara graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. (Honors) in Psychology and a specialization in Neuroscience. While at Stanford, she worked in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory on neuroimaging research and completed her thesis on the relation between depression, stress, and cortical thickness. Subsequently she has worked in research labs specializing in cognitive neuroscience, emotion regulation, and memory disorders, and has continued to be interested in the brain systems involved in emotion and cognitive processing. At the PEARL lab she is focused on the acquisition and analysis of neuroimaging data as a means to more deeply understand the development and treatment of pediatric mood disorders. She hopes to continue investigating the interactions between neural processes, cognition, and emotional experience. In her free time, she enjoys photography, writing, and exploring the beauty of nature. 

Nina Bahl

Nina grew up in Toronto, Canada, where she received her master’s in medical neuroscience from the University of Toronto. After graduating, she focused on neuropsychiatric research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and UCSF in San Francisco—here, she worked with young people affected by mood disorders and psychosis, while integrating behavioural and neuroimaging research methods.

At Stanford, Nina hopes to contribute to a deepened understanding of the development and treatment of pediatric mood disorders. Outside of research, she enjoys all things creative, listening to podcasts, yoga, and eating great food in the Bay.