Meet the Team


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

Postdoctoral Fellows

Adina Fischer, MD, PhD

Dr. Adina S. Fischer is a resident physician in Psychiatry within the Research Track and T32 NIMH-funded Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University. She completed her B.Sc. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research within the Early Childhood Cognition Laboratory. Dr. Fischer earned her M.D. and Ph.D. in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (Neuroscience Track) at Dartmouth. Her dissertation research examined the effects of cannabis on brain circuitry and cognition using advanced fMRI methods, pharmacologic interventions, clinical, behavioral, and cognitive assessments. Her current program of research at Stanford examines neuroimaging, behavioral and clinical correlates of risk and resilience to adolescent mood and substance use disorders. Dr. Fischer was recently awarded the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Depression.

Kelsey Hagan, PhD

Dr. Kelsey Hagan is a research postdoctoral fellow in the PEARL and the Eating Disorders Research Program at Stanford University. Dr. Hagan completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology (with a minor in quantitative psychology) at the University of Kansas and earned her B.A. at Emory University, where she double-majored in psychology and Spanish. Dr. Hagan's research interests are in the mechanisms (behavioral, neurobiological, social) that contribute to the onset and course of eating and mood disorders. Dr. Hagan is also interested in novel methods of diagnosis and classification of eating and mood disorders.

Graduate and Medical Students

Akua Nimarko

Akua is a Neurosciences PhD candidate at Stanford. Prior to Stanford, Akua graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology. Akua is interested in the neural basis of mood disorders and of resilience. In the PEARL, Akua uses neuroimaging techniques to understand brain factors that help differentiate between adolescents who will and will not develop a mood disorder. After completing her PhD, Akua plans to pursue an academic research career as a professor. Outside of research, Akua enjoys traveling, watching movies, dancing, and hanging out with friends.

Research Coordinators

Jaskanwaljeet (“Jas”) Kaur

Jas graduated from University of California, Merced with a BS in Cell & Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology. She has previously worked within UCSF’s Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Department to help develop in vivo imaging techniques for labeling, visualizing and quantifying stem cells. More recently, she had been a part of the Department of Neurology and was involved with brain computer interface (BCI) research involving stroke rehabilitation for upper extremities and Electrocorticography (ECoG) Brain Machine Interface (BMI) research for Speech and Motor Control for patients who suffer from Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystrophies. As a CRCA within the PEARL lab, she coordinates patient visits and aims to use neuroimaging techniques to better understand brain behavior changes within adolescents. Outside of research, Jas enjoys reading and relaxing.

Kayla Carta

Kayla is a clinical research coordinator in the PEARL team at Stanford University. Kayla previously conducted schizophrenia research in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University. At the PEARL, Kayla coordinates studies investigating mood disorders in adolescents. Kayla is interested in investigating the neural mechanisms that cause mood disorders and aims to discover novel biomarkers associated with behavioral outcomes.