Alissa Ellis, Ph.D.

Dr. Ellis is a clinical neuropsychologist who received her PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012.  She first came to UCLA in 2011 for her pre-doctoral internship in Pediatric Neuropsychology.  She then received a T32 post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology and child and adolescent mood disorders.   In addition to being the Director of the thinkSMART ™ program, she works as an attending psychologist in the Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program (CHAMP).  Dr. Ellis is also a prolific researcher who was recently awarded a K23 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to examine how neural response patterns of frustration and reward are associated with symptoms of depression and mania over time in youth with significant mood difficulties. 

The thinkSMART™ program was born out of Dr. Ellis’ frustration with the lack of effective, non-medication interventions for youth with executive dysfunction, particularly (but not limited to) individuals with ADHD.  Through her extensive clinical work, she was struck by how pervasive and debilitating weaknesses in areas of organization, time management, task initiation/completion, and planning can be for individuals with mood, anxiety and attention problems.   She was motivated to create a program with concrete behavioral strategies to specifically target these areas.  With the help of Michelle Rozenman, PhD and Alex Sturm, MA, the thinkSMART™ program was created!   Dr. Ellis and her team are enthusiastic to move forward with getting empirical support for thinkSMART™.


1.     Ellis, A. J., Portnoff, L. C., Axelson, D. A., Kowatch, R. A., Walshaw, P., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2014). Parental expressed emotion and suicidal ideation in adolescents with bipolar disorder.Psychiatry Research, 216 (2),213-216.

2.     Disner, S. G., McGeary, J. E., Wells, T. T., Ellis, A. J. & Beevers, C. G. (2014). 5-HTTLPF, HTR1A, and HTR2A cumulative cumulative genetic score interacts with mood reactivity to predict mood-congruent gaze bias.Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 14 (4),1259-1270.

3.     Ellis, A. J., Wells, T. T., Vanderlind, W. M., & Beevers, C. G. (2014). The role of controlled attention on recall in major depression.Cognition and Emotion, 28 (3),520-529.

4.      Wells, T. T., Clerkin, E. M., Ellis, A. J., Beevers, C. G. (2014).  Effects of antidepressant medication use on emotional information processing in major depression.American Journal of Psychiatry, 171 (2),195-200. 

5.     Ellis, A. J., Vanderlind, M., & Beevers, C. G. (2013).  Enhanced anger reactivity and reduced distress tolerance in Major Depressive Disorder.Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37 (3),498-509.

6.      Clasen, P. C., Wells, T. T., Ellis, A. J., & Beevers, C. G. (2013). Attentional biases and the persistence of sad mood in major depressive disorder.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122 (1),74-85.

7.     Ellis, A. J., Beevers, C. G., Hixon, J. G.  & McGeary, J. E. (2011). Serotonin transporter promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphism predicts resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia.Psychophysiology,48 (7),923-926. 

8.     Ellis, A. J., Beevers, C. G. & Wells, T. T., (2011). Attention allocation and incidental recognition of emotional information in dysphoria.Cognitive Therapy and Research. 35 (5),425-433.

9.     Beevers, C. G., Ellis, A. J., & Reid, R. M. (2011). Heart rate variability predicts cognitive reactivity to a sad mood provocation.Cognitive Therapy and Research,35(5), 395-403.

10.  Beevers, C. G., Lee, H., Wells, T. T., Ellis, A. J. & Telch, M. J. (2011). Eye gaze bias for emotion stimuli prospectively predicts PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms among soldiers deployed in Iraq.American Journal of Psychiatry,168(7),735-741.

11. Ellis, A. J., Fischer, K. M., & Beevers, C. G. (2010). Is dysphoria about beingredandblue?  Potentiation of anger and reduced distress tolerance among dysphoric individuals.Cognition and Emotion, 24, (4)596-608.

12.  Wells, T. T., Beevers, C. G. Cherny, A. E., and Ellis, A. J. (2010).  Gaze behavior predicts memory bias for angry facial expressions in stable dysphoria.Emotion, 10 (6), 894-902.

13.  Beevers, C. G., Ellis, A. J., Wells, T. T., and McGeary, J. E. (2010). Serotonin transporter gene and the selective processing of emotional cues.Biological Psychology, 83, 260-265. 

14. Ellis, A. J., Beevers, C. G. & Wells, T. T., (2009). Emotion dysregulation in depression—Support for emotion context insensitivity in response to performance based feedback.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 40,443-454. 

15.  Beevers, C. G., Wells, T. T., Ellis, A. J., McGeary, J. E. (2009). Association of the serotonin transporter gene promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphism with biased attention for emotional stimuli.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 670-681.

16.  Beevers, C. G., Wells, T. T., Ellis, A. J., & Fischer, K. (2009). Interpretation of emotionally ambiguous interpersonal stimuli among dysphoric and nondysphoric individuals.  Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33,283-290.

17.  Kellough, J. L., Beevers, C. G., Ellis, A. J., & Wells, T. T. (2008).  Sustained selective attention in clinically depressed young adults: An eye tracking study.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46,1238-1243.