Meet Our Team

Stanford University

Allan L. Reiss, MD

Principal Investigator         

Howard C. Robbins Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Radiology
Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR)

Dr. Allan Reiss is the Robbins Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Pediatrics at Stanford University and Principal Investigator for the BGAP Study. Dr. Reiss has dedicated his career to investigating how genetic, biological and environmental factors affect brain and behavioral development. As a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, a particularly important part of this work has been to develop more specific and effective interventions for persons with developmental disorders. Dr. Reiss has received numerous major honors and awards in his field including the Spirit of Excellence Award for Lifetime Achievements from the National Fragile X Foundation and election to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences.

 

 


Lara Foland-Ross, PhD

Senior Research Scholar

Dr. Lara Foland-Ross is a Research Scholar at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. Dr. Foland-Ross received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Stanford Neurodevelopment, Affect, and Psychopathology Laboratory from 2010-2015 through the support of an NIMH F32 Grant and a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant. Dr. Foland-Ross' work focuses on brain and behavioral development in children and adolescents using a multi-method approach (neuroimaging, behavioral paradigms, genes and hormones). She is particularly interested in the effects of pubertal hormones on brain circuits underlying mood and executive function, and how hormone-based changes in these circuits may influence everyday behaviors in the developing teen.

 

 


Megan Mullis, MA, MS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Megan serves as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research for the Klinefelter Study. She earned her M.A. in Forensic Psychology from the George Washington University and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. With a background primarily in forensic psychological evaluation and research, she is excited to expand her skills to include neuropsychological testing and brain imaging. Her current research interests lie in the interactions between genetic disorders, adolescent development, and long-term mental health outcomes.


Jamie Sundstrom, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Jamie is a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis where she earned her degree in Cognitive Science with an emphasis in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. She now serves as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research for the BGAP Study as well as the PANDA Study. During her undergraduate years, she was involved in a longitudinal study for young children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has a special interest in developmental disorders as well as the genetic components that underlie brain development and function.

 


Vanessa Alschuler, BA

Research Consultant

Vanessa Alschuler has transitioned from her role as the lead Clinical Research Coordinator for the BGAP Study. She earned her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is now working towards her PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota. Her past and current research involvement includes longitudinal neurodevelopmental studies with adolescents and teens. Her current interests lie in the connections between brain and behavior with an emphasis on executive and socio-emotinal functioning and the role that genes and homrones play in neurodevelopment.


Tracy Jordon, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Tracy Jordan is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. Dr. Jordan received her PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Pediatric Neuropsychology from Palo Alto University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship in Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School/Masonic Children's Hospital. For her dissertation research project, she investigated X-chromosome dosage effects on visuospatial skills in pre-puberal girls with Turner Syndrome. Dr. Jordan's previous work has also focused on neurodevelopment and treatment outcomes in children with Hurler Syndrome (MPS Type 1). Currently, Dr. Jordan is particularly interested in genetic and hormonal influences on neuropsychological functioning (learning, memory, visuospatial skills, executive functioning, and social cognition) in children and adolescents.  


Matthew Marzelli, MS

Research Data Analyst

Matthew Marzelli is a Research Data Analyst at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. He received his M.S. in Bioengineering from Stanford University and was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Radiology. His past research focused on the development of novel brain imaging methods using ultra high-field (7 Tesla) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His current research interests include the development of robust image acquisition and processing tools for both MRI and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a means to better investigate links between brain structure, function, cognition, and behavior.


Graduate Student Researchers

Samantha Sims, B.A., M.S.

Samantha is a doctoral candidate researcher in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research and contributes to both the BGAP and PANDA Studies. Samantha earned her BA in Psychology and Sociology at Boston University in 2016. Since graduating she has worked as a research assistant in Australia at both Curtin University and the University of Western Australia studying adolescent resilience and healthy aging. She is now a student at the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium, where she earned her M.S., and hopes to continue pursuing her interests in mental health treatment for adolescents and marginalized communities.

Hannah Steinberg, B.S., M.S.

Hannah is a doctoral candidate researcher in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. She contributes to both the BGAP and GirlBAND Studies. Hannah grew up on the East Coast and earned her B.S. in Psychology and Child Development at Tufts University in 2017. After graduating, she spent a year working as a Clinical Educator at McLean Hospital’s Adolescent DBT Program, 3 East. Hannah is now a doctoral candidate at the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. Her clinical and research interests include working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma-related disorders, and suicidality, as well as neuropsychological testing in pediatric settings.

Jennifer Wahleithner, B.S.

Jen (she/her) is a doctoral candidate researcher and a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium. She received her B.S. cum laude in Psychology with a minor in International Studies: Comparative Religion from the University of Washington in 2016, where she was a Mary Gates Research Scholar. After graduation, Jen explored the healthcare field by working in a number of different roles, such as a Pediatric Mental Health Specialist on a children’s inpatient psychiatric and behavioral medicine unit and as a Medical Scribe for emergency department physicians. Prior to matriculating into the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium in 2019, Jen was working as a Data Analyst in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies within UCSF’s School of Medicine, assisting on studies related to wellness and smoking cessation in residential substance use disorder treatment settings. Jen’s research and clinical interests include anxiety and trauma-related disorders, the impact of discrimination on mental health, and eliminating healthcare disparities.

Yelena Markiv, M.S.

Yelena is a doctoral candidate researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. She received her M.S. in Psychology from Palo Alto University. She is currently a PhD candidate in Clinical Psycholog pursuing an emphasis in Neuropsychology at Palo Alto University. Within her doctoral program, Yelena is involved in research exploring the long-term neurocognitive effects of sport-related concussion in children and adolescents as well as the neurocognitive effects. Her previous work in research includes working with girls and women with Turner syndrome in efforts to further understand their brain functioning on number and math processing through the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Yelena is primarily interested in research and clinical work in pediatric and adult populations with developmental or acquired neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.

Yi-Hua Lin, B.A.

Yi-Hua is a doctoral candidate researcher in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. Yi-Hua earned her B.A. in Psychology and Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, Yi-Hua worked as a behavioral specialist at the Bay Area Clinical Association, Oakland, in their Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. Her interests include working with marginalized communities and adolescents struggling with mood disorders and suicidality.  

Danielle Gonzalez, B.A., M.A.

Danielle graduated from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela, with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduation she moved to the United States, where she graduated from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C., with an M.A. in Forensic Psychology. In 2019, she started at Palo Alto University (PAU) for the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Program. She plans to specialize in the Child and Family Trauma Area of Emphasis and Diversity and Community Mental Health Emphasis. Her clinical and research interests are the impact of trauma in families and children in risk situations or that experienced complex trauma, specifically immigrants and refugees populations. Danielle is currently volunteering with the Refugee Health Alliance Mental Health interviewing people that are in the process of appealing for asylum in the United States.  

Jacie Brown, B.S., M.S.

Jacie is a doctoral candidate researcher in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research and contributes to the BGAP Study. Jacie is currently at Palo Alto University pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in forensics. During her time in her doctoral program, she has gained experience in a wide range of assessment tools (psychodiagnostic and neuropsychological) and shows interest in building these skills further to include working with children.

Naomi Kaswan, B.S., M.S.

Naomi is a doctoral candidate researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. She obtained her BS in biopsychology with a minor in applied psychology from UCSB and her MS in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University. Naomi is currently a PhD candidate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology at Palo Alto University. Within her doctoral program, Naomi is involved in research investigating the neuropsychiatric effects of sports concussion in youth populations. Her work has been focused on the utility of proposed embedded validity indicators in youth populations. Naomi's clinical interests include neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation psychology in patients with complex medical and neurological presentations.


Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Judith Ross, MD

Principal Investigator         

Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Thomas Jefferson University

Dr. Judith Ross is the Director of the Nemours/AIDHC EXtraordinarY Kids Clinic (for children with X and Y chromosome variations). Nemours/ AIDHC in Wilmington, Delaware is one of the largest pediatric network/research organizations in the country. Her qualifications include board certification in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. She has over 25 years of NIH-funded pediatric research experience, focused on endocrine and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with X and Y chromosome disorders (XYY syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome). Results of this research has elucidated neurophysiological, pathological, and molecular genotype-phenotype relationships, and the role of selected X and Y genes in children in health and disease. As an active clinical researcher, she has partnered with patients and families, and other stakeholders, have spoken at national meeting, and serve on advisory boards of the advocacy organizations (AXYS [Klinefelter syndrome, XYY syndrome]). She currently serves as a member of the AXYS Clinic and Research Consortium.

 


Karen Kowal, PA-C

Physician Assistant and Study Coordinator

Karen Kowal is the Physician Assistant and Study Coordinator for the eXtraordinarY Kids Clinic at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. She obtained her title as a Physician Assistant from Rutgers University, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is also a certified Diabetes Educator and has more than 25 years of experience working with families of children with X or Y chromosome variations. Her research involvement has focused on the endocrine, genetic, cognitive and behavioral phenotypes of children with chromosome disorders.


Gabrielle Stefy, MPH

Clinical Research Coordinator

Gabrielle (Gabie) Stefy is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the eXtraordinarY Kids Clinic at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. She received her M.P.H. with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Temple University. Her past research focused on multi-faceted psychological interventions targeting high-risk behaviors among low-income women and children. Her current research interests include the interaction between behavior and neurodevelopment of children and teens with sex-chromosome variations.


Nicole DiVirgilio, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Nicole DiVirgilio is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the eXtraordinarY Kids Clinic at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. She received her M.S. in Health Promotion from the University of Delaware. Her past research experience includes physical activity and nutrition policies within child care centers and fruit and vegetable prescription programs for families. Her current research interests include the outcomes of sex chromosome variations within childhood development, especially the social and reproductive aspects.