School of Medicine


Showing 1-20 of 33 Results

  • Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Daniel Arthur Abrams

    Clinical Assistant 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.

  • Ehsan Adeli

    Ehsan Adeli

    Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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

  • Daniel Bowling

    Daniel Bowling

    Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    BioI 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 InterestsExamines 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 InterestsMy 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 of Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch 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 InterestsWe 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

    BioDr. 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.

  • Amit Etkin, MD, PhD

    Amit Etkin, MD, PhD

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator)
    On Leave from 11/01/2019 To 10/31/2020

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe overarching aim of the Etkin lab is to understand the neural basis of emotional disorders and their treatment, and to leverage this knowledge to develop novel treatment interventions. Our work is organized around the study of the neuroscience of emotion and cognitive regulation, as well as neural circuit function, in healthy subjects and individuals with a range of psychiatric disorders.

  • Laura Michele Hack

    Laura Michele Hack

    Clinical Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Psychiatry

    BioDr. Laura Hack is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Clinical Instructor under the mentorship of Drs. Leanne Williams, Alan Schatzberg, and Ruth O’Hara. She is a translational clinician with a research passion for integrating multiple types of biological and environmental data using advanced analytic techniques into a neuroscience-based taxonomy of mood, anxiety, and stressor-related disorders. Laura envisions herself as a ‘psychiatrist of the future,’ incorporating genetic information, brain imaging, blood-based markers, and data from wearable sensors into diagnostic and treatment decisions to help relieve the suffering that arises from our current trial-and-error approach.

  • Douglas F. Levinson, M.D.

    Douglas F. Levinson, M.D.

    Walter E. Nichols, M.D. Professor in the School of Medicine, Emeritus

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Levinson directs the Program on the Genetics of Brain Function in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The program investigates the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia and major depressive disorder), using genetic association, linkage and resequencing methodologies. In collaboration with Dr. Alice Whittemore, we are also actively engaged in statistical methods testing and development for genetic research.

  • Robert Malenka

    Robert Malenka

    Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsLong-lasting changes in synaptic strength are important for the modification of neural circuits by experience. A major goal of my laboratory is to elucidate the molecular events that trigger various forms of synaptic plasticity and the modifications in synaptic proteins that are responsible for the changes in synaptic efficacy.

  • Ryan Matlow

    Ryan Matlow

    Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    BioRyan Matlow, Ph.D., is a child clinical psychologist who serves as Director of Community Programs for Stanford’s Early Life Stress and Resilience Program, and is a faculty member in Stanford's Human Rights and Trauma Mental Health Program. His clinical and research efforts focus on understanding and addressing the impact of stress, adversity, and trauma in children, families, and communities. In particular, Dr. Matlow seeks to apply current scientific knowledge of the neurobiological and developmental impact of stress, trauma, and adversity in shaping interventions and systems of care. Dr. Matlow is focused on engaging diverse populations and providing evidence-based individual, family, and systems interventions for posttraumatic stress following interpersonal trauma, with an emphasis on efforts in school, community, and integrated care settings. He is engaged in clinical service, program development, and interdisciplinary collaboration efforts that address childhood trauma exposure in communities that have been historically marginalized, under-resourced, and/or experienced human rights violations. He has worked extensively in providing trauma-focused psychological evaluation, treatment, and advocacy services with immigrant youth and families, with a focus on immigrants from Latin American countries. Dr. Matlow is involved in the training and dissemination of Stanford's Cue Centered Therapy (Carrion, 2015), a flexible, manualized intervention addressing childhood experiences of chronic trauma.

  • Vinod Menon

    Vinod Menon

    Rachael L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsEXPERIMENTAL, CLINICAL AND THEORETICAL SYSTEMS NEUROSCIENCE

    Cognitive neuroscience; Systems neuroscience; Cognitive development; Psychiatric neuroscience; Functional brain imaging; Dynamical basis of brain function; Nonlinear dynamics of neural systems.