Integrated Child, Adolescent, and Adult Residency Program for Academic Careers in Child Psychiatry
Integrated Child, Adolescent, and Adult Residency Program for Academic Careers in Child Psychiatry
Alumni (click here)
• Jennifer Dwyer, M.D., Ph.D., University of California - Irvine
• Judah Weathers, M.D., Ph.D., Yale University
• Naomi Pitskel, M.D., University of Pittsburg
• 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
• Rebecca Muhle, M.D., Ph.D., Albert Einstein/Yeshiva University
• Christopher Hammond, M.D., University of Florida at Gainesville
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 will employ a variety of these research techniques. 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. In addition to her continued interest in autism, Naomi’s clinical psychiatry experiences in medical school fostered an emerging dedication to the interface of maternal and child mental health. 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 is very excited for the opportunity to pursue her combined research and clinical training at Yale. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and jogging, reading fiction, and spending quality time with her husband, Michael, and their daughter Raven.
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. Still motivated by her desire to better help children with autism, 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 moved back to Nashville and worked at Vanderbilt with Dr. Beth Malow studying the relationship between autism spectrum disorders and sleep behaviors. Hannah then moved to Memphis for medical school at the University of Tennessee where she was involved in multiple local and international projects for children’s healthcare. As she debated between psychiatry and pediatrics for residency, she was thrilled to find the Solnit Integrated program at Yale. Hannah continues to be invested in developmental disorders and hopes to concentrate on the neurodevelopment and genetics of autism during her residency. In her free time, Hannah enjoys volunteering, going out with friends, traveling, cooking, trying new wines, Pilates, photography, decorating, antique shopping, 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 she begins her second year in the Solnit program, she has 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. 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 has two AMAZING younger sisters. He attended Rice University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. While an undergraduate, Jerome did basic science research on how interferons modulate smooth airway cell growth, which resulted in a publication. Although, he enjoyed basic science research, he wanted to explore more clinical scientific endeavors. Jerome went on to attend medical school at the University of Virginia, where he was active in the Student National Medical Association and organized several community service projects. During third year of medical school, Jerome fell in love with psychiatry. After third year of medical school, Jerome took a year off to gain clinical research experience in the Applied Epidemiology Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. While at the CDC, he participated in projects on H1N1 influenza, Hepatitis B vaccination, and the cultural determinants of obesity. During his year off, he was also a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program to a fifth grader with ADHD and behavioral difficulties. Upon returning to medical school, Jerome worked on a project looking at the role of glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies in schizophrenia and a project looking at the effectiveness of childhood social phobia treatment. Jerome also gave a CME presentation on the treatment of childhood sexual abuse at Western State Psychiatric Hospital in Virginia. He also gave a presentation to a predominately African-American church in Philadelphia on recognizing and treating depression and fighting the stigma psychiatric illnesses have within the African-American community. As Jerome enters his second year in Yale’s Solnit Integrated Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry residency, he continues his interests in psychiatric epidemiology research, social phobia, the stigma of psychiatric illnesses in minority communities, and prodromal schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has begun working in Michael Bloch’s group, examining anxiety disorders in children. Jerome enjoys working out, watching basketball and tennis, and reminiscing about the 90s with friends.
Kara Bagot, M.D.(entered 2010) As an undergraduate at the Johns Hopkins University, Kara conducted research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute on a project entitled “The Neurobiology of Attention in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS),” which examined the neurobehavioral, neuropsychological and neuroanatomic effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on children. In determining the neurobehavioral phenotype, specifically as it relates to attention, of children with FAS, the study aimed to elucidate targeted psychopharmacotherapy, reducing long-term morbidity associated with the diagnosis of FAS. Before commencing medical school, Kara completed a 2-year fellowship at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch) as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in the Teen Tobacco Addiction Treatment Research Clinic. This research involved exploration of a variety of psychiatric disorders and their correlation to nicotine dependence, addiction and cessation, as well as manner in which Bupropion medication therapy mediates smoking cessation in an adolescent population. At the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Kara examined the dynamic interplay between HIV serostatus and heroin and cocaine addiction as well as HIV serostatus and executive functions such as goal-directed behavior involving planning, organizing, strategizing and working memory. The objectives of her research were to explore the detrimental effect of drug abuse superimposed on the effects of the virus including examining the vulnerability to neurocognitive deficits, in the setting of drug abuse, which HIV serostatus confers, and whether the combined effects of drug abuse and HIV positivity created a differential subset of AIDS dementia patients who required a more individualized, unique treatment. As a fourth year medical student at UIC, in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kara took part in a research study evaluating quality of life (QOL) impairment in Major Depressive Disorder and the cost this impairment poses on patients. At Yale, she has become involved in research on the use of CBT for smoking cessation in adolescents and interventions to reduce the risks experienced by street children in Brazil. 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. She is entering her PGY3 with great excitement, and using her unique combination of skills in molecular biology and clinical child psychiatry working in the lab of Jim Noonan, exploring how candidate genes in autism play a role in transcriptional regulation. 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, 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. While at the PDN, Chris helped to organize, analyze, and write up a manuscript on the neuropsychological/cognitive profile of children with PANDAS that was published in Child Neuropsychology. From the NIH, 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 and in his third year, began his graduate work towards his PhD in Investigative Medicine. Chris is entering his fourth year in the Solnit program and is working on several research projects related to adolescent substance use disorders (SUDs), stress responsiveness, risk taking, and impulse control disorders (ICDs) under the collaborative mentorship of Dr. Linda Mayes, Dr. Marc Potenza, Dr. Mike Crowley, and Dr. Robert Malison, through both the Yale CSC and the Department of Psychiatry’s Adult Addiction Program. 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, SUDs, and ICDs. He received the NIMH Outstanding Resident Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2011. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, singing, hiking, and traveling, and is an avid naturalist and photographer.
Graduates of the Solnit Integrated Adult/Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Research Program
Class of 2013:
Jon Carlson M.D. is currently a VA special fellow working with Cyril D'Souza's group on the treatment and neuroscience of psychotic disorders. He is interested in childhood psychosis and the schizophrenia prodrome. He is completing his PhD in Yale Graduate School's Investigative Medicine physician scientist training program with a thesis study investigating attentional performance and CNS nicotinic acetylcholine receptor availability in individuals suffering symptoms of the psychosis prodrome. His current work is funded in part by grants from APIRE and a 2012 AACAP Pilot Project Grant.
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 instructor at the Child Study Center, 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., who recently graduated from the competitive Yale Forensics Fellowship, is currently a postdoctoral fellow working with both the Forensic Psychiatry Program in the Yale Department of Psychiatry as a forensic psychiatrist and Kevin Pelphrey’s research group. He continues his functional imaging research on the emotional processing in autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, and intellectual disability. He is completing his PhD in Investigative Medicine.
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 a NARSAD Young Investigator Award.