School of Medicine


Showing 1-10 of 33 Results

  • Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are among the most pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders and are characterized by significant deficits in social communication. A common observation in children with ASD is that affected individuals often ?tune out? from social interactions, which likely impacts the development of social, communication, and language skills. My primary research goals are to understand why children with ASD often tune out from the social world and how this impacts social skill and brain development, and to identify remediation strategies that motivate children with ASD to engage in social interactions. The theoretical framework that guides my work is that social impairments in ASD stem from a primary deficit in identifying social stimuli, such as human voices and faces, as rewarding and salient stimuli, thereby precluding children with ASD from engaging with these stimuli.

    My program of research has provided important information regarding the brain circuits underlying social deficits in ASD. Importantly, these findings have consistently implicated key structures of the brain?s reward and salience processing systems, and support the hypothesis that impaired reward attribution to social stimuli is a critical aspect of social difficulties in ASD. The first study produced by this program of research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and showed that children with ASD have weak brain connectivity between voice processing regions of cortex and the distributed reward circuit and amygdala. Moreover, the strength of these speech-reward brain connections predicted social communication abilities in these children. A second study, which was recently published in eLife, examined neural processing of mother?s voice, a biologically salient and implicitly rewarding sound which is associated with cognitive and social development, in children with ASD. Results from this study identified a relationship between social communication abilities in children with ASD and brain activation in reward and salience processing regions during mother?s voice processing. A third study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that mother?s voice activates an extended voice processing network, including reward and salience processing regions, in typically developing children. Moreover, the strength of brain connectivity between voice-selective and reward and salience processing regions predicted social communication abilities in these neurotypical children. Together, results provide novel support for the hypothesis that deficits in representing the reward value of social stimuli, including the human voice, impede children with ASD from actively engaging with these stimuli and consequently impair social skill development.

    My future research will leverage these findings by examining several important questions related to social information processing in children with ASD. First, we aim to study longitudinal development of social brain circuitry in minimally verbal children with ASD, a severely affected subpopulation that has been vastly underrepresented in the ASD literature. Second, we aim to examine the efficacy of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions, such as Pivotal Response Treatment, for children with ASD and their relation to changes in social brain and reward circuitry. Third, we aim to examine distinct neural profiles in female children with ASD who, on average, have better social communication abilities compared to their male counterparts.

  • Ehsan Adeli

    Ehsan Adeli

    Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests My research lies in the intersection of Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Medical Imaging.

  • Daniel Bowling

    Daniel Bowling

    Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Bio I am a neuroscientist focused on auditory-vocal function in human social communication. My expertise covers psychological, neurobiological, and acoustic perspectives on speech and music, their conveyance of affect, social-significance, and origins in mammalian vocal behavior. I combine psychophysiological, psychoacoustic, neuroendocrine and pharmacological methods to study perception and behavior in human subjects. I graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2006 with summa cum laude honors in Biological Psychology (BS) and Neurophilosophy (BA). I hold a graduate certificate in Cognitive Neuroscience from Duke University (2009), and a PhD in Neurobiology from Duke University School of Medicine (2012). My postdoc at the University of Vienna (2012-18) focused on bioacoustics and auditory-motor synchrony. My work has been recognized with awards including a young investigator award from the University of Vienna and an innovation award from the Social and Affective Neuroscience society. At Stanford, I am working to develop an objective assessment of auditory-vocal affect perception for clinical research on autism in collaboration with scientists, engineers, and artists from departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Music. My work is funded by NIMH and the Wu Tsai Neuroscience Institute. Along the way, I have been fortunate to receive mentorship from Drs. Patricia Churchland, Dale Purves, Tecumseh Fitch, and Karen Parker.

  • Victor Carrion

    Victor Carrion

    John A. Turner Endowed Professor for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests Examines the interplay between brain development and stress vulnerability via a multi-method approach that includes psychophysiology, neuroimaging, neuroendocrinology and phenomenology. Treatment development that focuses on individual and community-based interventions for stress related conditions in children and adolescents that experience traumatic stress.

  • Luis de Lecea

    Luis de Lecea

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical and Translational Neurosciences Incubator)

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests My lab uses molecular, optogenetic, anatomical and behavioral methods to identify and manipulate the neuronal circuits underlying brain arousal, with particular attention to sleep and wakefulness transitions. We are also interested in the changes that occur in neuronal circuits in conditions of hyperarousal such as stress and drug addiction.

  • Karl Deisseroth

    Karl Deisseroth

    D. H. Chen Professor, Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests Research in Dr. Deisseroth's laboratory focuses on developing optical, molecular and cellular tools to observe, perturb, and re-engineer brain circuits. His laboratory is based in the James H. Clark Center at Stanford and has developed optogenetic and tissue engineering methods, employing techniques spanning electrophysiology, molecular biology, optics, neural activity imaging, animal behavior, and computational neural network modeling.

  • Laramie Duncan

    Laramie Duncan

    Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator)

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests We study genetic and environmental effects on mental health. Much of our work is computational and it relies upon genetic data, collected from millions of individuals, from around the world. We use genetic approaches because the overall goal of the lab is to discover fundamental information about psychiatric disorders, and ultimately to build more rational approaches to classification, prevention, and treatment.

  • Flint Espil

    Flint Espil

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Bio Dr. Flint Espil researches the etiology and treatment of tic disorders (including Tourette?s), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and body-focused repetitive behaviors. He is interested in how psychosocial factors, the environment, and underlying brain circuitry influence treatment outcomes among individuals seeking treatment. Dr. Espil is currently collaborating with the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research and the Brain Stimulation Lab to explore novel imaging techniques (e.g., functional near-infrared spectroscopy) and neuromodulation approaches (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation) to improve our understanding of these disorders. He is also exploring ways to adapt and implement evidence-based mental health approaches in community settings. He is currently collaborating with community-based organizations in East Palo Alto to improve access to care for youth in school settings.

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