Integrated Child, Adolescent, and Adult Residency Program for Academic Careers in Child Psychiatry
- Andrea Diaz Stransky, M.D., Escuela De Medicina Ignacio A. Santos
- Amalia Londono Tobon, M.D., Stanford University
- Jennifer Dwyer, M.D., Ph.D., University of California - Irvine
- Judah Weathers, M.D., Ph.D., Yale University
- Naomi Pitskel, M.D., University of Pittsburgh
- Hannah Reed, M.D., University of Tennessee
- Justyna Piasecka, M.D., Brown University
- Jerome Taylor, M.D., University of Virginia
- Kara Bagot, M.D., University of Illinois ***Current Co-chief Resident***
- Rebecca Muhle, M.D., Ph.D., Albert Einstein/Yeshiva University ***Current Co-chief Resident***
- Christopher Hammond, M.D., University of Florida at Gainesville Chief Resident (Chief Resident 2013-2014)
Andrea Diaz Stransky, M.D. (entered 2014): was born in Mexico and lived in several countries growing up, where she learned to speak five languages. She spent four years in Brazil. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, she started her initial steps as a researcher, exploring the correlation between multilingualism and mathematical fluency in teenagers. She also learned how to dance ‘samba’. Andrea then moved to Canada, where she graduated from McMaster University summa cum laude with a Bachelor in Health Sciences. At McMaster she became passionate for research and evidence based medicine. She dedicated her thesis project to exploring the Management of Child Bereavement among pediatric oncology patients. This work and her summer job at one of Paul Newman´s camps for chronically ill children, sparked her interest in the mental health of children who are chronically ill. Determined to pursue a career in Child Psychiatry, Andrea attended medical school in Mexico, at Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, graduating summa cum laude. She was selected in her class to complete a neuroscience clerkship with Dr. Alfredo Quinones's Brain Tumor Research Lab, at Johns Hopkins University. Andrea sought to get involved in Child Psychiatry Research, collaborating with Dr. Elaine Tierney and Dr. Carmen Lopez Arvizu from Kennedy Krieger Institute. She worked with their research team for 2 years focusing on developmental disorders with a metabolic or neurogenetic basis. During that time, Andrea studied Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome, and used Diffusion Tensor Imaging to explore the effects of biochemical factors on brain microstructure in language-related brain regions. She also participated in an exome sequencing study of Autism Spectrum Disorders in collaboration with Dr. Porter and Dr. Bailey-Wilson's team at the National Institute of Health, seeking endophenotypes of ASD. She presented a poster at AACAP in 2011 and obtained a Travel Student Award to present at IMFAR in 2013. Andrea had a glimpse of every-day life for the psychiatric patient population through her active role in mental health initiatives in her local community. During her free time, Andrea likes to learn and teach languages, travel, go to the theater, hike and spend time with her husband.
Amalia Londono Tobon, M.D. (entered 2014): grew up in Medellin, Colombia and immigrated to Miami, FL at the age of 12. She graduated with honors in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University. At Hopkins, Amalia worked with Dr. Nicholas Gaiano to elucidate the role of deltex and the notch signaling pathway in mice neurodevelopment. As an undergraduate, Amalia was awarded the NIH UGSP, and worked at the NIMH with Dr. Miles Herkenham on a project to understand the role of microglia in the maternal immune activation model of Autism. As a Stanford medical student, with a continued interest in neurodevelopment, Amalia worked with Dr. Joachim Hallmayer and Dr. Wendy Froehlich on a retrospective twin study analyzing the role of maternal and perinatal environmental factors in the development of Autism Spectrum disorders. She is also currently working with Dr. Jose Maldonado and Dr. Lisa Sher, of the Stanford C/L psychiatry service, on a two-year prospective study of medical and psychosocial outcomes of the Stanford Integrated Psychosocial Assessment for Transplantation (SIPAT). Amalia is very excited to join the Yale Solnit Integrated Program. She has broad research and clinical interests in child psychiatry including: anxiety and mood disorders, medical PTSD, and behavioral/emotional development in children with chronic medical conditions, implementing new systems of care and the interface of psychiatry with non-psychiatric medicine. As an immigrant, Amalia is also very interested in working with immigrant and diverse populations. In her spear time, Amalia enjoys traveling, cultures, languages, tennis, yoga, Latin dancing, and the outdoors.
Jennifer Dwyer, M.D., Ph.D. (entered 2013): grew up in Great Falls, VA and attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate studies. There she was selected for the inaugural class of Neuroscience majors, and also completed a minor in Philosophy. She worked with Dr. Emilie Rissman studying the role of steroid hormones and hypothalamic peptides in the neural control of feeding and sexual behaviors. These studies piqued her interest in how sex hormone modulation of neural circuits could underlie gender differences in the etiology and expression of psychiatric disorders. In addition to falling in love with neuroscience research at UVa, she also fell in love with Sean, her husband of now seven years. Together they embarked on their west coast adventure, as she entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California, Irvine. She completed her Ph.D. in Dr. Frances Leslie’s developmental neuropharmacology lab. Her thesis work explored adolescent development of mesocorticolimbic dopamine systems and the impact of gestational exposure to nicotine on these developmental processes. This work was supported by ARCS Foundation and PHRMA Foundation fellowships. Her studies in the lab provided the perfect complement to her clinical interests in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and an M.D. with Distinction in Research, and received the Wood Elliott Award for Outstanding Pharmacology Graduate Student and the Raymond Chaitin M.D. Award for Excellence in Psychiatry. She is thrilled to be combining her research and clinical passions in the Yale Solnit Integrated Program. Her clinical interests within Child Psychiatry are broad and she looks forward to allowing the rich clinical experiences at Yale to guide her further specialization. Outside of her academic interests, Jenny’s second lab is the kitchen where she loves to cook, most recently experimenting with fresh pasta and bread, and all things braised. She also enjoys hot yoga, tennis, and spending time with Sean and their sassy, and somewhat mean-spirited, cat, Shelby.
Judah Weathers, M.D., Ph.D. (entered 2013): grew up in the Merrimack Valley of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. He attended college at Northeastern University in Boston where he studied behavioral neuroscience. As an undergraduate researcher he trained under the supervision of Professor James Stellar examining the pathophysiology of addiction using rodent models of drug self-administration. As a medical student he participated in the Donald J. Cohen Mentorship Program at the Yale Child Study Center, where he was mentored by Dr. James Leckman. Upon completing his third year of medical school, he pursued a D.Phil (Ph.D.) related to cognitive neuroscience in the National Institutes of Health-Oxford-Cambridge-Scholars Program. Under the supervision of Professor Guy Goodwin of the Warneford Psychiatric Hospital, Oxford University, and Dr. Ellen Leibenluft of the National Institute of Mental Health, he used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study decision-making, motor inhibition, and response flexibility in children and adults with bipolar disorder (BD), relative to healthy subjects. His article on motor inhibition impairments in BD published in the American Journal of Psychiatry was the first to report direct comparisons of child versus adult fMRI data in BD, relative to healthy subjects. After returning to medical school he sought a residency training program in which he could pursue his research interests, using neuroimaging, cognitive functioning, and genetic information to examine the development of mental illness over the lifespan. As a member of the Solnit Integrated Training Program, his work with Dr. Hilary Blumberg of the Child Study Center uses neuroimaging techniques to study development of bipolar disorder. As a member of the Yale SCHOLARS Program, he provides seminars to New Haven regional high school students on careers in science. Judah enjoys warm weekends outdoors with family, fitness, exploring new cultures and places, and meeting new people.
Naomi Pitskel, M.D. (entered 2012): grew up in the suburbs of Boston, graduating from Brandeis University with a BS in Neuroscience. During her undergraduate years, she participated in research utilizing visual evoked potentials to study visual processing in infants. Following graduation, Naomi spent two years working with Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD at Harvard Medical School, using functional MRI (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate visual cortical plasticity in adults. She subsequently enrolled in a five-year scholarship program providing clinical research training in addition to an MD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Naomi had the pleasure of pursuing a long-time interest of hers when she joined the lab of Kevin Pelphrey, PhD at the Yale Child Study Center, where she did a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship for Medical Students. There, she conducted fMRI studies of social cognition in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), focusing on the neural correlates of emotion regulation in children with ASD relative to their typically developing peers. Upon graduation from medical school, she was awarded the Bert and Sally O’Malley Award for Medical Student Research, the Richard L. Cohen, MD Award for Excellence in Child Psychiatry, and the Jeffrey Alan Gray Memorial Prize for Compassion and Humanism. Naomi’s clinical psychiatry experiences in medical school fostered an emerging dedication to the interface of maternal and child mental health. At Yale, she is working with Megan Smith, DrPH, studying child neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes following prenatal antidepressant exposure, parenting behaviors and mother-child attachment in depressed mothers, and community interventions for at-risk moms. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, fine dining, reading fiction, and spending quality time with her family.
Hannah Reed, M.D. (entered 2012): grew up in Nashville, TN and left for college at Washington University in St. Louis planning to major in architecture and psychology. After spending time as an ABA therapist for children with autism spectrum disorders, she became passionate about developmental neuroscience and decided to instead pursue a research career. At Wash U, she worked with Dr. John Constantino studying the developmental trajectory and heritability of autistic traits in the general population. She also founded the Night Off program which provides respite care to families of children with autism. She graduated with honors with a major in psychology and minors in neuroscience and philosophy and received the Hyman Meltzer Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research in Psychology. Hoping to better serve children with developmental disorders, Hannah moved to Baltimore to complete the post-bac premedical program at Johns Hopkins. There she also worked as a research assistant under Dr. Marco Grados examining the genetic correlates of autistic traits in OCD. While applying to medical school, she worked at Vanderbilt with Dr. Beth Malow studying the relationship between autism spectrum disorders and sleep behaviors. Hannah then began her medical training at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine where she was involved in multiple local and international projects for children’s healthcare. Now a third year resident in the Solnit Integrated program at Yale, Hannah is working with Dr. Roger Jou and Dr. Kevin Pelphrey in the Yale Child Neuroscience Lab, specializing in structural neuroimaging of high risk infants and children with autism spectrum disorders. In her free time, Hannah enjoys being with friends, traveling, cooking, and occasionally getting back to her love of art and residential design.
Justyna Piasecka, M.D. (entered 2011): As an undergraduate at Brown University, Justyna majored in history while completing the first four years of Brown's 8-year PLME program (Program in Liberal Medical Education). She first became interested in research as an undergrad while working with Dr. Stephen McGarvey on a study in American and Western Samoa, which examined the interplay between genetics and environmental factors on obesity and diabetes. After college Justyna worked as an Americorps volunteer for a nonprofit which organized outdoor programs for individuals with disabilities in the Boston area, and she also pursued a sports psychology internship in Florida before returning to Brown University for medical school. In her 4th year her interest in international health was reinforced by a tropical medicine elective in Kenya, where she was also struck by the extent to which medical and psychiatric wellbeing were intertwined. Upon completion of her clinical rotations, Justyna took an NIMH predoctoral fellowship and joined Dr. Eric Morrow's lab at Brown University. There she worked on the Developmental Disorders Genetics Research Program, which aims to identify genetic changes associated with autism and intellectual disability. After graduating from medical school she continued her work with the project for another year, which cemented her desire to work in both the clinical and research setting with individuals affected by autism and developmental disorders. She is also interested in writing articles and books which make research and new medical knowledge on autism accessible to laypeople. As a second year in the Solnit program, she joined Kasia Chawarska’s research group, working with very young children at risk for autism in order to understand what diagnoses and interventions can occur in infancy and toddlerhood. This year, Justyna and and Dr. Chawarska have been working together on designing a pilot project examining the relationship between anxiety and autism. Justyna also joined Denis Sukhodolsky's group on an RDoC project investigating the effectiveness of CBT on anger and aggression, including changes in the brain on MRI and EEG following treatment. Additionally, Justyna spent part of her third year as a clinician with IICAPS (In-home Intensive Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service), delivering intensive child and family therapy in the home for several families, and plans to continue her work with them over the next three years as they gather data from a RCT analyzing the program's effectiveness. In her spare moments, Justyna enjoys tennis, photography, reading, and globetrotting, as well as spending time with her husband Nestor and mastiff Bernie.
Jerome Taylor, M.D. (entered 2011): was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Rice University summa cum laude with a BA in biochemistry. At Rice he began his research in the basic sciences, co-authoring a paper on cellular pathways in lung smooth muscle cells. He went on to attend medical school at the University of Virginia. After completing his third year of medical school, Jerome took a year off to participate in the Centers for Disease Control Applied Epidemiology Fellowship in Atlanta, GA. He spent the year at the CDC developing statistical skills and published a paper on obesity in the African-American Church. As a fourth year medical student, he co-authored a paper examining blood-brain abnormalities in psychotic adults with type 2 diabetes. Over Jerome's first three years as an Integrated resident at Yale, he has focused on developing and evaluating interventions in anxiety disorders. Specifically, he helped Michael Bloch (alumnus of the Solnit Program) to develop a project examining the therapeutic potential of NMDA receptor antagonists (ketamine) in adults with social anxiety. He is also working on a project examining long-term outcomes of adults who have their anxiety treated in the primary care setting. Jerome remains interested in psychiatric epidemiology and evaluating interventions in low-income communities. In his free time he enjoys jogging, playing tennis, watching basketball with friends, and participating in the Minority Housestaff Organization.
Kara Bagot, M.D. (entered 2010): was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 with a B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences. At Hopkins, Kara conducted research on the neuro-behavioral, psychological and anatomic effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on children. Prior to medical school, she completed a 2-year fellowship at the National Institute of Drug Abuse as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow exploring the manner in which bupropion mediates smoking cessation in adolescents. During medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Kara examined the dynamic interplay between HIV serostatus and substance abuse and the effect of this interaction on executive and psychosocial functioning. As a fourth year medical student at UIC, in collaboration with researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kara took part in research evaluating quality of life impairments in patients with various psychiatric illnesses including depression and substance abuse. As a Solnit resident at Yale, she has continued to pursue her interest in adolescent substance abuse conducting research with two mentors, Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D. (Yale) and Yifrah Kaminer, M.D, MBA (UConn). In Dr. Krishnan-Sarin's lab, Kara is examining the impact of maintenance and cessation of regular smoking on pain in adolescents. In collaboration with Dr. Kaminer, she has begun to explore the impact of cannabis on psychiatric outcomes in youth as well as the association between prescription stimulants and neurocognition. In her spare time, Kara enjoys long-distance running, traveling with family and friends and spending time outdoors.
Rebecca Muhle, M.D., Ph.D. (entered 2010): Rebecca spent her childhood in the eastern and southern United States and Canada, then moved overseas as a teenager and lived in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Switzerland. She returned to the States for college, and obtained a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined Dr. Ronald DePinho' s lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine studying tumor cell oncogenesis and suppression with Dr. Leila Alland, then completed further studies of infection-induced preterm labor in the laboratory of Dr. Emmet Hirsch at Columbia University. These scientific efforts produced 7 co-authorships, and Rebecca became determined to continue a career in clinical medicine and science. She entered the Medical Scientist Training Program of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and obtained her M.D. and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology with the aid and guidance of her mentor, Dr. David A. Fidock (currently at Columbia University). Her thesis detailed the development of new molecular tools and materials to aid in the study of the antigenically variant var genes in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and resulted in several papers detailing the in situ genetic regulation of var genes as well as the first published in vitro expression and functional presentation of novel mini-var genes on the surface of infected red blood cells. While completing her medical training, she also pursued her interest in autistic spectrum disorders by co-authoring a paper with Dr. Isabel Rapin, a pediatric neurologist with appointments at Jacobi and Montefiore Hospitals, who specializes in autism. Her interest in psychiatry continued to blossom during her clinical rotations, and she was awarded the Maurice Greenhill Memorial Award in Psychiatry upon graduation in 2010. Her current research is focused on determining the genetic networks of autism risk utilizing next generation sequencing techniques to assess autism risk gene targets, and the development of animal models to explore these mechanisms in vivo. This work is being conducted in the lab of Dr. James Noonan, and is also part of a multi-lab effort including Dr. Nenad Sestan, Dr. Matthew State (at UCSF), Dr. Kathryn Roeder (at Carnegie Mellon University), and Dr. Bernie Devlin (at Univ of Pittsburgh). She is currently entering the final years of training in the Solnit Integrated Program, and is looking forward to her role as co-chief in the coming year. She enjoys music, movies, and literature, and also treasures family time with her husband, their two boys, and the family cat, Vitamin.
Christopher J. Hammond, M.D. (entered 2009): graduated with honors from Washington University in 2002 with degrees in Psychology and Marketing. From 2002-2005, he participated in two Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award fellowships at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one with the Geriatric Psychiatry Branch (GPB) doing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related research, and another with the Pediatric Developmental Neuropsychiatry Branch (PDN) doing research on PANDAS, obsessive compulsive disorder, and autistic spectrum disorders. This intensive exposure to research made Chris acutely aware of the neurobiological underpinnings of mental illness and awoke in him a passion for the hypothesis testing, theoretical exercises, and scientific methodology that a career in clinical research offers. From the NIMH, Chris transitioned to University of Florida College of Medicine as a member of the Class of 2009, where he continued his research pursuits publishing articles, letters, and reviews in the fields of addiction, psychiatry, autoimmune disorders, and neurology. He also gained exposure to international medicine participating in medical outreach trips to Ecuador and Thailand before graduating. Having developed significant interests in child neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction medicine, and with an interest in furthering his research and clinical training, Chris found the Albert J. Solnit Child & Adult Psychiatry Integrated Training Program at Yale Child Study Center (CSC) a natural next step in his career development. In his third year, Chris began graduate work towards a PhD in Investigative Medicine and is in the process of completing a thesis project examining the neural response to reward and anti-rewards in adolescent cannabis and tobacco users using quantitative EEG, laboratory-based stress paradigms, and cognitive neuroscience methods. Chris is entering his sixth year in the Solnit program and is working on several research projects related to adolescent substance use and addictive disorders, reward feedback processing, risk-taking behaviors, chronic stress, developmental trauma, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis reactivity under the collaborative mentorship of Dr. Linda Mayes, Dr. Marc Potenza, and Dr. Mike Crowley, through both the Yale CSC and the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Addictions. His primary research interest is in further elucidating the roles that stress, gender, environment, and genetics play in brain development of reward and stress-related neurocircuitry, and how these factors contribute to the development of adolescent risk-taking behaviors and substance abuse. Chris received the NIMH Outstanding Resident in 2011. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, singing, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his wife (Christina) and daughter (Chloe).
Graduates of the Solnit Integrated Adult/Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Research Program
Class of 2013:
Jon Carlson, M.D.’s research focused on the nicotinic cholinergic system in psychosis. He received funding from APIRE and AACAP in support his work. During the Solnit program, he completed graduate coursework and earned an NIH Loan Repayment award. Following the Solnit program he completed a yearlong schizophrenia research fellowship and contributed to a number of pharmacologic challenge studies as well clinical trials in schizophrenia. He is joining the psychiatry department of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group.
Kyle Williams, M.D. will continue his work in research related to Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) on faculty at Harvard School of Medicine and MGH where he is starting a research clinic for children affected by these symptoms. He is also completing his Ph.D. in the Yale IMP program using animal models to understand the immune-neural interaction in PANDAs.
Class of 2012:
Tamara Vanderwal, M.D., M.A.R. is currently a Psychiatry Research Scholar at the Child Study Center, and is continuing her work on brain development using dense-array EEG and fMRI. She is interested in understanding the developmental trajectories of how the brain organizes itself during rest and is developing a new approach to study these intrinsic connectivity networks in young children that will use both EEG and fMRI. She works in close collaboration on this project with both the Mayes' Developmental Electrophysiology Lab, and Xavier Castellanos' group at NYU. Her current work is funded in part by the American Psychiatric Association/Lilly Psychiatric Research Fellowship and the Fund for Psychoanalytic Research.
Rebecca Hommer, M.D., is a postdoctoral fellow with the Yale T32 program for Childhood-Onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders, conducting her research with Ellen Leibenluft in the NIMH intramural program. She has multiple projects looking at stress responses in adolescents and long-term outcomes of children with severe mood-dysregulation.
Class of 2011:
Tom Fernandez, M.D. is currently on faculty at Yale as an Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center and Department of Psychiatry, continuing his research in psychiatric genetics in his own lab and attending on the clinical service of the Tourette Syndrome/OCD clinic. His research program is funded in part by an NIMH K23 Career Development Award.
Alexander “Lexy” Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Law and Psychiatry with a secondary appointment at the Child Study Center. His current work is a mixture of research, administration, and clinical work with both people with autism and forensic patients. During the Solnit program he worked on a PhD that used neuroimaging and eye tracking studies to determine whether Childhood Disintegrative Disorder represented a distinct pathophysiological process from other forms of autism. He was the recipient of an NIH loan repayment award, and received funding from the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, the Rumsey Cartier Foundation and the Simons Foundation for the CDD project. After the Solnit fellowship, he completed a forensics fellowship, and his current clinical and research work is focused on the population with developmental disabilities and legal issues.
Class of 2010:
Michael Bloch, M.D. M.S. is an assistant professor on the faculty at Yale School of Medicine, an attending physician on the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit and continues his research in obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, and trichotillomania. His research program is funded in part by an NIMH K23 Career Development Award, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, a Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Award, and an AACAP Junior Investigator Award.
Hanna Stevens, M.D., Ph.D. is currently an assistant professor on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center and now serves as Associate Training Director of the Solnit Integrated Program. In her lab in the Neurobiological Division of the department, she continues to build her research program on inhibitory neurons in mouse model systems and the effects of stress on brain development. Her research program is funded in part by an NIMH K08 Career Development Award and YCCI Scholar Award, Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Fellowship, and a Patterson Trust Clinical Research Award.