Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute


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  • Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAutism 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.

  • Monther Abu-Remaileh

    Monther Abu-Remaileh

    Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Genetics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study the role of the lysosome in metabolic adaptation using subcellular omics approaches, functional genomics and innovative biochemical tools. We apply this knowledge to understand how lysosomal dysfunction leads to human diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer and metabolic syndrome.

  • Ehsan Adeli

    Ehsan Adeli

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research lies in the intersection of Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Healthcare, and Computational Neuroscience.

  • Raag Airan

    Raag Airan

    Assistant Professor of Radiology (Neuroimaging and Neurointervention) and, by courtesy, of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Materials Science and Engineering

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur goal is to develop and clinically implement new technologies for high-precision and noninvasive intervention upon the nervous system. Every few millimeters of the brain is functionally distinct, and different parts of the brain may have counteracting responses to therapy. To better match our therapies to neuroscience, we develop techniques that allow intervention upon only the right part of the nervous system at the right time, using technologies like focused ultrasound and nanotechnology.

  • Gregory W. Albers, MD

    Gregory W. Albers, MD

    Coyote Foundation Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery
    On Partial Leave from 04/01/2022 To 11/30/2022

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur group’'s research focus is the acute treatment and prevention of cerebrovascular disorders. Our primary interest is the use of advanced imaging techniques to expand the treatment window for ischemic stroke. We are also conducting clinical studies of both neuroprotective and thrombolytic strategies for the treatment of acute stroke and investigating new antithrombotic strategies for stroke prevention.

  • Russ B. Altman

    Russ B. Altman

    Kenneth Fong Professor and Professor of Bioengineering, of Genetics, of Medicine (General Medical Discipline), of Biomedical Data Science and, by courtesy, of Computer Science

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI refer you to my web page for detailed list of interests, projects and publications. In addition to pressing the link here, you can search "Russ Altman" on http://www.google.com/

  • Kanwaljeet S. Anand

    Kanwaljeet S. Anand

    Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Critical Care) and of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Anand is a translational clinical researcher who pioneered research on the endocrine-metabolic stress responses of infants undergoing surgery and developed the first-ever scientific rationale for pain perception in early life. This provided a framework for newer methods of pain assessment, numerous clinical trials of analgesia/anesthesia in newborns, infants and older children. His research focus over the past 30+ years has contributed fundamental knowledge about pediatric pain/stress, long-term effects of pain in early life, management of pain, mechanisms for opioid tolerance and withdrawal. Current projects in his laboratory are focused on developing biomarkers for repetitive pain/stress in critically ill children and the mechanisms underlying sedative/anesthetic neurotoxicity in the immature brain. He designed and directed many randomized clinical trials (RCT), including the largest-ever pediatric analgesia trial studying morphine therapy in ventilated preterm neonates. He has extensive experience in clinical and translational research from participating in collaborative networks funded by NIMH, NINDS, or NICHD, a track-record of excellent collaboration across multiple disciplines, while achieving success with large research teams like the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network (CPCCRN). He played a leadership roles in CANDLE (Condition Affecting Neuro-Development & Learning in Early infancy) and other activities of the Urban Child Institute and UT Neuroscience Institute. More recently, he led the NeoOpioid Consortium funded by the European Commission, which collected data from 243 NICUs in 18 European countries.

  • Katrin Andreasson

    Katrin Andreasson

    Professor of Neurology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research focuses on understanding how immune responses initiate and accelerate synaptic and neuronal injury in age-related neurodegeneration, including models of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. We also focus on the role of immune responses in aggravating brain injury in models of stroke. Our goal is the identification of critical immune pathways that function in neurologic disorders and that can be targeted to elicit disease modifying effects.

  • Martin S. Angst

    Martin S. Angst

    Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory's current transformative research efforts focus on studying immune health in the context of surgery and anesthesia.

  • Eric Appel

    Eric Appel

    Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering, by courtesy, of Pediatrics (Endocrinology), of Bioengineering and Center Fellow, by courtesy, at the Woods Institute for the Environment

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe underlying theme of the Appel Lab at Stanford University integrates concepts and approaches from supramolecular chemistry, natural/synthetic materials, and biology. We aim to develop supramolecular biomaterials that exploit a diverse design toolbox and take advantage of the beautiful synergism between physical properties, aesthetics, and low energy consumption typical of natural systems. Our vision is to use these materials to solve fundamental biological questions and to engineer advanced healthcare solutions.

  • Bruce Arnow, Ph.D.

    Bruce Arnow, Ph.D.

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (General Psychiatry and Psychology - Adult)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCurrent research interests include treatment outcome for major depression, particularly treatment refractory and chronic forms of major depression, as well as mediators and moderators of outcome; the epidemiology of chronic pain and depression; relationships between child maltreatment and adult sequelae, including psychiatric, medical and health care utilization.

  • Ann M. Arvin

    Ann M. Arvin

    Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Emerita

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory investigates the pathogenesis of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection, focusing on the functional roles of particular viral gene products in pathogenesis and virus-cell interactions in differentiated human cells in humans and in Scid-hu mouse models of VZV cell tropisms in vivo, and the immunobiology of VZV infections.

  • Jeremy Bailenson

    Jeremy Bailenson

    Thomas More Storke Professor, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Education

    BioJeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, Professor (by courtesy) of Education, Professor (by courtesy) Program in Symbolic Systems, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. He spent four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.

    Bailenson studies the psychology of Virtual and Augmented Reality, in particular how virtual experiences lead to changes in perceptions of self and others. His lab builds and studies systems that allow people to meet in virtual space, and explores the changes in the nature of social interaction. His most recent research focuses on how virtual experiences can transform education, environmental conservation, empathy, and health. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Stanford. In 2020, IEEE recognized his work with “The Virtual/Augmented Reality Technical Achievement Award”.

    He has published more than 200 academic papers, spanning the fields of communication, computer science, education, environmental science, law, linguistics, marketing, medicine, political science, and psychology. His work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for over 20 years.

    Bailenson consults pro bono on Virtual Reality policy for government agencies including the State Department, the US Senate, Congress, the California Supreme Court, the Federal Communication Committee, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Research Council, and the National Institutes of Health.

    His first book Infinite Reality, co-authored with Jim Blascovich, emerged as an Amazon Best-seller eight years after its initial publication, and was quoted by the U.S. Supreme Court. His new book, Experience on Demand, was reviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Nature, and The Times of London, and was an Amazon Best-seller.

    He has written opinion pieces for Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, PBS NewsHour, Wired, National Geographic, Slate, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has produced or directed six Virtual Reality documentary experiences which were official selections at the Tribeca Film Festival. His lab’s research has exhibited publicly at museums and aquariums, including a permanent installation at the San Jose Tech Museum.

  • Zhenan Bao

    Zhenan Bao

    K. K. Lee Professor, and Professor, by courtesy, of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry

    BioZhenan Bao joined Stanford University in 2004. She is currently a K.K. Lee Professor in Chemical Engineering, and with courtesy appointments in Chemistry and Material Science and Engineering. She has been the Department Chair of Chemical Engineering from 2018. She founded the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiative (eWEAR) and is the current faculty director. She is also an affiliated faculty member of Precourt Institute, Woods Institute, ChEM-H and Bio-X. Professor Bao received her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from The University of Chicago in 1995 and joined the Materials Research Department of Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. She became a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 2001. Professor Bao currently has more than 700 refereed publications and more than 100 US patents with a Google Scholar H-index 190.

    Bao is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. Bao was elected a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Science in 2021. She is a Fellow of AAAS, ACS, MRS, SPIE, ACS POLY and ACS PMSE.

    Bao is a member of the Board of Directors for the Camille and Dreyfus Foundation from 2022. She served as a member of Executive Board of Directors for the Materials Research Society and Executive Committee Member for the Polymer Materials Science and Engineering division of the American Chemical Society. She was an Associate Editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Science, Polymer Reviews and Synthetic Metals. She serves on the international advisory board for Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, ACS Nano, Accounts of Chemical Reviews, Advanced Functional Materials, Chemistry of Materials, Chemical Communications, Journal of American Chemical Society, Nature Asian Materials, Materials Horizon and Materials Today. She is one of the Founders and currently sits on the Board of Directors of C3 Nano Co. and PyrAmes, both are silicon valley venture funded companies.

    Bao was a recipient of the VinFuture Prize Female Innovator 2022, ACS Award of Chemistry of Materials 2022, MRS Mid-Career Award in 2021, AICHE Alpha Chi Sigma Award 2021, ACS Central Science Disruptor and Innovator Prize in 2020, ACS Gibbs Medal in 2020, the Wilhelm Exner Medal from the Austrian Federal Minister of Science in 2018, the L'Oreal UNESCO Women in Science Award North America Laureate in 2017. She was awarded the ACS Applied Polymer Science Award in 2017, ACS Creative Polymer Chemistry Award in 2013 ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2011. She is a recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry Beilby Medal and Prize in 2009, IUPAC Creativity in Applied Polymer Science Prize in 2008, American Chemical Society Team Innovation Award 2001, R&D 100 Award, and R&D Magazine Editors Choice Best of the Best new technology for 2001.

  • Annelise E. Barron

    Annelise E. Barron

    Associate Professor of Bioengineering

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsBiophysical mechanisms of host defense peptides (a.k.a. antimicrobial peptides) and their peptoid mimics; also, molecular and cellular biophysics of human innate immune responses.

  • Michael Bassik

    Michael Bassik

    Associate Professor of Genetics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are an interdisciplinary lab focused on two major areas:(1) we seek to understand mechanisms of cancer growth and drug resistance in order to find new therapeutic targets(2) we study mechanisms by which macrophages and other cells take up diverse materials by endocytosis and phagocytosis; these substrates range from bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells to drugs and protein toxins. To accomplish these goals, we develop and use new technologies for high-throughput functional genomics.

  • Fiona Baumer

    Fiona Baumer

    Assistant Professor of Neurology and of Pediatrics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCauses of Disturbed Cognition in Pediatric Epilepsy