Alumni

Casey is a staff research associate in Staglin IMHRO Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. I am interested in research that combines neuroimaging with experiential response data in the context of health. I feel incredibly grateful the opportunity to work with phenomenal scientists in Feusner Labs and I'm enthusiastic about learning as much as I can while here.

Riddhi Rane is a second year undergraduate student from Dallas, TX who is majoring in neuroscience at UCLA. She is interested in seeing how psychiatric disorders are represented on a neuronal level in the brain and how brain activity may differ in those with various psychiatric disorders. In the Feusner lab, she is currently assisting in exploring abnormalities in brain activity in patients with OCD as measured by fMRI,  and the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy on amending irregular OCD-related regional brain activity. Outside of the lab, she is a member of UCLA’s Raas dance team. 

Jessica Goldbeck

Jessica Goldbeck is a research associate in Dr. Feusner’s lab. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from UCLA and is now working towards entering an MSN program in nursing. Prior to joining the Feusner Lab, she worked in the Mind-Body Lab looking at the relationship between stress, inflammation, health, and wellbeing. She is excited to be a part of the Feusner Lab and investigating the underlying neurological bases contributing to behavioral outcomes in eating disorders, BDD, and OCD. Outside the lab she enjoys traveling, cooking, and playing tennis among many other forms of exercise.

Monica Wu, Ph.D.

Monica Wu, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Scholar and Clinical Instructor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  She is currently funded through the NIMH T32 fellowship in Child Mental Health Intervention Research, through which she is developing and testing the effectiveness of an abbreviated intervention targeting youth with elevated anxiety within an integrated behavioral health care model.  She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Florida, focusing her research and clinical work on anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.  She is particularly interested in factors that impact treatment outcome in these youth, the role families play in the course of the disorder, and the intergenerational transmission of OCD.

Rangaprakash Deshpande

Ranga was a post-doctoral researcher in this lab during 2016-18 when he worked on dynamic connectivity modeling in body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia nervosa, as well as hemodynamic response function modeling in obsessive compulsive disorder. He obtained PhD from Auburn University, AL, and did prior education in Bangalore, India. Currently he is a post-doctoral researcher at Northwestern University, working on neuroimaging in people with brain implants.

Georgia Potter is the project coordinator for CHARGE, a binge eating treatment study for veterans run by Dr. Kerri Boutelle at the Center for Healthy Eating and Activity (CHEAR) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). In her work at CHEAR, Georgia hopes to develop more effective therapy for binge eating disorder and obesity by improving participant sensitivity to internal hunger/satiety signals and decreasing participant responsiveness to learned food cues. Prior to CHEAR, she worked at the UCLA Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder Research Program where she used neuroimaging to investigate aberrant visual processing pathways in body dysmorphic disorder and reward circuitry in anorexia nervosa. She has also worked with Dr. Carol Peterson at the Minnesota Center for Eating Disorders Research helping to test a novel therapy for binge eating disorder. She received her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Global Health from UCLA in 2018.

Kevin Yang, during his time working as a research assistant under Dr. Feusner, worked on projects that assessed the dynamics of visual processing abnormalities in patients with anorexia nervosa & body dysmorphic disorder. He is now a medical student at the University of California, San Diego and is planning to pursue a career in psychiatry.

Francesca Morfini worked in Dr. Feusner's lab as a Research Assistant for two years, where she applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the study of the neural underpinnings of psychiatric disorders including OCD, anorexia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder. She then moved to Harvard as a visiting scholar in Dr. Hooley’s lab for a year. She is currently a graduate student in Dr.Whitfield-Gabrieli’s lab at Northeastern University.

Sarah Madsen, after working with Dr. Feusner during her graduate and postdoctoral training, is now a Medical Communications Manager for Amgen's neuroscience team.

Wei Li obtained his Ph.D. in neuroscience in June 2015 and is currently working as a Business Associate Consultant at ZS Associates.

Sahib Khalsa has moved to the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is the Director of Clinical Studies. He is also an Assistant Professor (tenure track) at the University of Tulsa, on the Faculty of Community Medicine.

Cara Bohon, after completing her postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Feusner from 2010-2012, joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine as an assistant professor.

Larissa Portnoff worked as a Staff Research Associate for Dr. Feusner and is currently working toward her doctorate in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tsz Man Lai (Jimmy) is a staff research associate for the UCLA Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program. He graduated with a B.A in psychology from UCLA in 2011. He is interested in applying functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to better understand the etiology of psychiatric disorders like body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In his spare time, Jimmy enjoys playing basketball, watching movies, and pretending to be a rock star with his guitar.

Rachel Lapidus is a research assistant for the Interoception in Anorexia Nervosa and the Relationship to Anxiety and Eating study. She will be attending the University of Tulsa for the Clinical Psychology program.

Vivian Shen is a 3rd year Neuroscience major from San Francisco. She is interested in mental illness and psychiatry, with a particular passion for helping those with depression and eating disorders. Prior to joining the Feusner lab, Vivian has worked at the UCSF Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease studying the role of progranulin in Alzheimer’s Disease and at the London Lab at UCLA’s Semel Institute understanding addiction and the effects of cigarette smoking on the orbitofrontal cortex. In the Feusner Lab, she is focusing on visual processing in Anorexia Nervosa and BDD as understood through subjective ratings of faces and bodies and hopes to understand ways of improving treatment based on her findings.

Nathan Hutcheson is a postdoctoral scholar working in the lab of Dr. Feusner. He graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Emory in 2007 and a doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014. He is currently conducting research on differential emotional processing in anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. In addition, he is assisting in collaborations with the analysis of resting state data in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder and using graph theory to study participants with hoarding disorder.

Alex Zai is currently a software engineer at Codesmith working on internal tools and open source projects. He conducted research on BDD with Dr. Feusner as part of the Student Research Program (SRP) at UCLA.

Danyale McCurdy-McKinnon, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Danyale McCurdy-McKinnon, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). She is the Clinical Psychology Director of the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight Clinic where she provides brief psychological interventions and psychiatric referrals to pediatric patients struggling with obesity and serves as a clinical supervisor. She also serves as a consultant at the ULCA Anxiety Disorders Research Program and contributes to research pertaining to the biological underpinnings of body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia nervosa. Dr. McCurdy-McKinnon also has a private practice – with offices in Westwood and Downtown Los Angeles – where she specializes in eating disorders and weight issues. She has over a decade of experience working with eating and weight disorders and has been trained by some of the leading experts in the field. Her training began as an undergraduate at Laureate Psychiatric Hospital while attending the University of Oklahoma. She then attended the University of Kansas for graduate school, specializing in behavioral medicine, eating disorders, and obesity management, receiving her Ph.D. in 2010. She then completed a predoctoral internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience. From 2010-2012, Dr. McCurdy-McKinnon completed a combined research and clinical postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California – San Diego (UCSD) Eating Disorders Program. Following her fellowship, she was an attending psychologist in the UCLA Eating Disorders Program at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital from 2012-2015. Dr. McCurdy-McKinnon aims to integrate modern empirically supported treatment modalities with attachment theory in her treatment practices, while examining eating pathology and its neurobiological correlates in research.

Jessica Keane is in her third year of undergraduate study at UCLA. She is studying Neuroscience and plans on going into the medical field. She values the experience and education that being involved in a research team provides.

Gigi Cheng is an undergraduate researcher in the Feusner Lab. As a neuroscience major, she is interested in learning more about the intricate networks of the brain and how they compare to each other in various psychiatric disorders. She is currently assisting in analyzing resting state connectivity networks of people diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder through fMRI and graph theory. Outside of the lab, she currently serves as artistic director for the Chinese Cultural Dance Club at UCLA.

Nahal Sabrkhani is a third year undergraduate student studying Psychobiology here at UCLA. Her research interests include BDD, particularly eating disorders. BDD involved promoting community health education. Nahalhopes to someday obtain an M.D and an M.PH and pursue a career biobehavioral sciences.

David Aitken, a doctoral student in the Applied Clinical Psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, is a volunteer assisting Jamie Feusner, M.D. in his research on OCD. David is interested in learning more about the emotional and cognitive processes that contribute to psychological disorders related to anxiety and depression, the treatments that are most effective with these disorders, and how to best to study these phenomena.

Rachel Jonas is in the neuroscience graduate program at UCLA and has just finished her 4th year of studies. She works in Carrie Bearden's lab studying reward dysfunction and neural circuitry in patients with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. She completed a one-quarter rotation with Dr. Feusner in 2012 and worked on the resting state fMRI study on children with OCD.

Giulia Salgari in originally from Italy. She graduated with a B.A. and a Master Degree in clinical psychology from University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan (Italy). Prior to joining the Feusner Lab, she worked as Research Assistant at the Center for Anxiety and Eating Disorders- San Raffaele Turro Hospital (Milan) under the supervision of her mentor prof. Laura Bellodi. Since 2014 she has been part of the Italian Psychologists’ Association. She is interested in psychiatry disorders with a particular focus on Eating Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders.

She is planning to apply for a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.

Katherine E. Lawrence, while in Dr. Feusner's lab, analyzed fMRI data to examine fearful face processing in individuals with AN, BDD, and healthy controls. Katherine is currently a graduate student at UCLA in the lab of Mirella Dapretto.

Donatello Arienzo, after completing his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Feusner from 2010-2012, now works at the Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute (BBDI) at the Department of Psychiatry at Georgia Regent University (GRU) as a junior faculty. He is currently studying the visual pathways during camouflage breaking in healthy subjects and the brain network circuits in depressed patients before and after Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).

Garth E. Terry has moved to Seattle to begin his research fellowship at the VA hospital in the MIRECC program (mental illness research and clinical core) and will likely focus on TBI and PTSD through neuroimaging and pharmacological trials.

Emily Hembacher, during her time working with Dr. Feusner, worked on projects that investigated the neural underpinnings of abnormal visual processing in BDD and coauthored a paper about pathologic grooming as a potential animal model of BDD. Emily currently investigates metacognitive development as a postdoctoral scholar in the Psychology Department at UC Davis.

Faraz studied anxiety and fear processing in patients with Anorexia Nervosa using fMRI data during his time with Dr. Feusner's lab. He is now a 4th year medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, currently doing a year long global health fellowship in Uganda with plans to go into Pediatrics when he returns.