Date published: 02/01/18
Adolescence is a key developmental period for mood stability and self-regulation. Yet, it is also during adolescence that mood disorders often emerge. My research is centered on understanding and predicting mood disorders in youth, and developing clinical strategies to enhance mood health.
My research group takes an interdisciplinary approach to clinical science, using methods such as cognitive testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the nature and developmental origins of depression and related mood disorders. For example, one ongoing series of research studies in my lab is focused on the development of large-scale brain networks during the teen years, and understanding how disruptions to brain network development may lead to difficulties regulating emotions and behaviors. We are fortunate to be supported in this research by foundation and national grant awards (NARSAD Young Investigator Award; Rappaport Foundation Fellowship).
In complement to the interdisciplinary orientation of my research group, we are committed to pursuing discoveries that actually help with real-world clinical diagnosis and treatment. We recently launched a study in partnership with the UCLA Psychology Clinic that is centered on two important clinical questions: how do antidepressant therapies correspond with changes in brain and cognitive functioning (and for whom), and how can we use this information to improve upon treatment delivery? I view this translational work as a cornerstone of my laboratory’s mission, and an opportunity to expand clinical treatment to include integrative, interdisciplinary approaches.
Finally, like my research activities, my teaching, mentorship, and clinical activities are centered on the dual goals of understanding mood disorders and fostering mood health. As a mentor it is especially important to me that I support junior scientists from under-represented groups, and that I provide opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary research and clinical training. My research work has been profoundly influenced by my clinical experiences, and I am delighted to mentor students as they become effective therapists and are inspired by their own clients.
I received a B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College, after which I received a dual-Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Colorado Boulder. My clinical internship training was completed at Yale University, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship (supported by an individual NIMH NRSA) at Harvard Medical School in the Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research at McLean Hospital. I joined the UCLA Department of Psychology in 2016.