School of Medicine

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  • Karen J. Parker, PhD

    Karen J. Parker, PhD

    Truong-Tan Broadcom Endowed Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Comparative Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Parker Lab conducts research on the biology of social functioning in monkeys, typically developing humans, and patients with social impairments.

  • Sergiu P. Pasca

    Sergiu P. Pasca

    Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Director of the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsA critical challenge in understanding the intricate programs underlying development, assembly and dysfunction of the human brain is the lack of direct access to intact, functioning human brain tissue for detailed investigation by imaging, recording, and stimulation.
    To address this, we are developing bottom-up approaches to generate and assemble, from multi-cellular components, human neural circuits in vitro and in vivo.
    We introduced the use of instructive signals for deriving from human pluripotent stem cells self-organizing 3D cellular structures named brain region-specific spheroids/organoids. We demonstrated that these cultures, such as the ones resembling the cerebral cortex, can be reliably derived across many lines and experiments, contain synaptically connected neurons and non-reactive astrocytes, and can be used to gain mechanistic insights into genetic and environmental brain disorders. Moreover, when maintained as long-term cultures, they recapitulate an intrinsic program of maturation that progresses towards postnatal stages.
    We also pioneered a modular system to integrate 3D brain region-specific organoids and study human neuronal migration and neural circuit formation in functional preparations that we named assembloids. We have actively applied these models in combination with studies in long-term ex vivo brain preparations to acquire a deeper understanding of human physiology, evolution and disease mechanisms.
    We have carved a unique research program that combines rigorous in vivo and in vitro neuroscience, stem cell and molecular biology approaches to construct and deconstruct previously inaccessible stages of human brain development and function in health and disease.
    We believe science is a community effort, and accordingly, we have been advancing the field by broadly and openly sharing our technologies with numerous laboratories around the world and organizing the primary research conference and the training courses in the area of cellular models of the human brain.

  • Ryan Pate, MD, MS

    Ryan Pate, MD, MS

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    BioDr. Ryan Pate is a board-certified adult psychiatrist with eligibility for board certification in geriatric psychiatry. He completed his general adult psychiatry training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and pursued his geriatric psychiatry fellowship at Stanford Health Care. In addition to his psychiatry training, he is actively participating in the psychoanalytical psychotherapy fellowship offered by the Palo Alto division of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. Dr. Pate's research interests primarily focus on providing support for caregivers and developing group interventions tailored to older adults with mental health disorders. At Stanford, his professional practice primarily takes place in an outpatient setting, where he conducts appointments that involve a combination of medication management and psychotherapy interventions. Beyond his clinical work, Dr. Pate is dedicated to medical education.

  • Sujata Patel

    Sujata Patel

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Vaden Health Center

    BioSujata Patel is a staff psychiatrist at Vaden Health Center, where she provides care to Stanford students. Her areas of interest include the transition to college and working with parents of college students.

  • Margot Paul

    Margot Paul

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    BioDr. Paul is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University where she graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors in psychology. She then received a master of science degree in behavioral health psychology the following year, after partaking in the 4+1 master's program. She graduated with her doctor of psychology degree from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium, where she won the award for Outstanding Overall Student (2021). She completed her clinical psychology doctoral internship at the Sepulveda VA in Los Angeles and her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford School of Medicine.

    During her postdoctoral year she continued her research on using virtual reality (VR) as a method of engaging in behavioral activation for individuals with depression. Dr. Paul began her VR work in 2017 after joining Dr. Kim Bullock’s Virtual Reality-Immersive Technology Clinic & Laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Paul won the Cheryl Koopman Dissertation of the Year Award for designing and implementing a feasibility study and three-arm pilot randomized controlled trial to examine the feasibility of using a VR headset as a way to administer behavioral activation therapy for participants with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. She presented her past and ongoing research findings as a speaker at Shift Medical 2021: Virtual Medical XR Congress and Expo (2021), Stanford Psychiatry Grand Rounds (2022), IVRHA’s 7th Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium (2023), VMed23 (2023), ADAA (2023), and CYPSY26 (2023). Dr. Paul has worked and consulted with VR companies and local Bay Area startups in the technology and mental health space. She has published on her virtual reality work.

    Clinically, she is interested in working with adults with anxiety and mood disorders, interpersonal difficulties, health-related difficulties, and/or substance use disorders. Dr. Paul has experience working with high-performance individuals, such as healthcare providers and student athletes. She practices using predominantly cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies, but integrates various skills depending on the presentation and need of each unique individual.