Who We Are

Principal Investigator

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

Dr. Lawrence Fung is an Associate Professor (University Medical Line) at the Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator 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, and the father of a neurodiverse teenager on the autism spectrum. He serves as the principal investigator of studies investigating the neurobiology of autism 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 on the autism spectrum. 

Current Members

Lyrid Zhao, Ph.D.

Lyrid is a postdoctoral scholar for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project. She’s also a clinical psychologist who is interested in how socio-cultural influences shape individual mental health, particularly the experience of disadvantaged/overlooked populations in their socio-cultural context. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time in nature and with her cat Caicai. 

Rachel VanDaalen, Ph.D.

Rachel VanDaalen is a postdoctoral scholar for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University. She is interested in researching how marginalized individuals—especially people with disabilities, LGBTQ, and multiply marginalized populations—respond to social and cultural stressors, as well as how these responses are related to one's understanding of one's identity. She also enjoys music, penguins, and hanging out with her cat, Pierogi.

Erica Detemmerman, B.A.

Erica Detemmerman is the administrative associate for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, Fung Lab and Center for Sleep in Autism Spectrum Disorder. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, she became a pre-kindergarten teacher’s assistant and also started part-time work as a research assistant at the Goldin-Meadow lab at the University of Chicago studying non-verbal communication. Desiring to focus on autism, she started work at Soaring Eagle Academy’s therapeutic day school where she supported students with very different profiles and support needs using the Developmental Interpersonal Relationship model. She likes visiting her homeland, Switzerland, and baking pastries.

Yu Jie (Emily) Hsiao, M.A.

Yu Jie (Emily) Hsiao is the research coordinator for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, Fung Lab. Before the lab, Emily was an elementary school teacher in Taiwan and extended her research interests in developmental psychology, specifically focused on child development at UCLA. She is interested in neurodiversity and seeks to explore the potential of the autistic population and support the families by assisting with Neurodiversity at Work and Neurodiversity Employment Research. Outside of the research, Emily enjoys connecting friends with cooking, taking outdoor adventures, and catching up with her lovely students. 

Mina Woo, B.A.

Seungmin (Mina) Woo is a second-year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Art History and Health and Human Biology. In 2021, she was an SNP-REACH camp counselor and started the TSPAA project to create educational videos to train service providers on working with adults with IDD. The project expanded to become DIVERSE, and Mina now works with the DIVERSE research team to produce new educational videos to train support workers. She hopes to apply the knowledge gained from this work towards her goals of becoming a competent and caring physician. Mina is interested in working with disadvantaged populations, especially people with disabilities, Spanish-speaking populations, and immigrants. Outside of school, she enjoys salsa and bachata dancing, running outside, and spending time with her friends and family. 

Hannah Karsting is an intern for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project. She is a sophomore at Columbia University studying Psychology and Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species. Hannah became interested in neurodivergence after being diagnosed with ADHD at age 17 and subsequently learning about other neurodivergent diagnoses received in early childhood. Beyond research, she enjoys directing, musical theatre, plant-based eating, and spending time with animals!

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.

Helen Zhu

Helen is a senior 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, the managing editor of her school's yearbook, and an avid pianist and vocalist. She joined the Fung Lab in 2019, and she is currently working on the development of a musical abilities assessment for individuals with ASD, Stanford Neurodiversity Project's high school summer program (SNP REACH), and the Network for K-12 Neurodiversity Education and Advocacy (NNEA).

David James, M.D., M.A.

David is a psychiatry resident at Stanford.  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. 

Isabella Duan graduated from Stanford in 2021 with a B.A.H in Human Biology and a B.A. in Linguistics. She is very interested in the intersection of autism, child language acquisition and medicine, as she is currently conducting research on expressive language and the correlates of reading in children on the spectrum. She is the program coordinator for the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit, respectively. She is also a SNP-REACH camp counselor in 2022. 

Lauren Clarke is an MD student at Stanford and a passionate advocate for inclusive health. Lauren joined the Stanford Neurodiversity Project to develop educational programs that teach physicians how to provide care to adults on the autism spectrum. Outside of medical school, Lauren enjoys staying active and has been a volunteer with Special Olympics for many years.

Isabella He is a SNP-REACH camp counselor in 2022, as well as a research intern in the Fung Lab. She is an incoming freshman at Stanford University, and serves as the chair of the Network for K-12 Neurodiversity Education and Advocacy (NNEA). With the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, she is working on a vocational training study for neurodiverse/neurodivergent individuals and an AI-powered job matcher project with the Neurodiversity At Work initiative. Outside of neurodiversity advocacy, she is a wrestler, pianist, and an editor for her school journalism team.


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.

Leila Chew, MD

Leila graduated from Stanford University and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. During her time at Stanford, she worked at the Fung Lab where she primarily focused on the Neurosteroids Project. She is currently an ophthalmology resident at UCLA.

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.

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.

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. 

Catherine Gao

Catherine (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate and Human Biology major at Stanford University. She is passionate about disability advocacy and health equity, and hopes to bring these perspectives with her as she pursues psychiatry. Currently, she is working on the Stanford Neurodiversity Project's high school summer program. Outside the classroom, she loves writing, reading, and photography.

Ladan Mohamed, B.S.

Ladan is Lab Manager and Clinical Research Coordinator of the Fung Lab. She graduated from Yale University with a major of Cognitive Science.

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.

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. 

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”.

Mark Gavartin

Mark Gavartin was a Program Manager for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project. He focuses on the Neurodiversity at Work Program. He holds a degree in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz and has worked in Employment Services for 10 years. Most recently, he was a Program Manager at Hope Services where he managed multiple programs to help Neurodiverse individuals find meaningful employment. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family, cooking, and scuba diving. 

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

Kevin Lee Sun is Assistant Professor of Piano at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Sun earned his B.A.S. in biology and classics at Stanford University, then his M.M. in piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he served as Piano Department Assistant. In the subsequent three years, he was a Stanford Medical School student. With his diverse educational background, Sun has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles of original research in the fields of psychiatry, student mentorship, and Platonic philosophy. Combining these previous interests with music, Sun’s most recent research has focused on alternative learning modalities for studio class that are inclusive of international and neurodiverse students.

  • Lauren Kwa
  • Belinda Esqueda
  • Joriene Mercado


  • Susanne Bruyere, PhD
    Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University
  • 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
  • David Spiegel, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
  • Daniel Spielman, PhD
    Department of Radiology, Stanford
  • Keith Sudheimer, PhD
    Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
  • Wenchao Sun, PhD
    Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory, Stanford
  • Nolan Williams, MD
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford

Group pictures