Our Team

Alissa Ellis, Ph.D.
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®.

Michelle Rozenman, Ph.D. (Collaborator)

Assistant Professor, University of Denver

Dr. Rozenman is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver after working as an Assisant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute, and Associate Director of the UCLA Pediatric OCD Intensive Outpatient Program. Her research is focused on identifying and directly targeting basic cognitive biases in pediatric anxiety with novel experimental therapies, such as cognitive bias modification. Additional clinical and research interests include maximizing effectiveness of behavioral interventions for youth with anxiety and OCD.

Alex Sturm, Ph.D. (Collaborator)

Assistant Professor, Loyola Marymount University

Alex Sturm, M.A. is a graduate student researcher for the Treatment Studies for ADHD, Irritability, and Mood Disorders research group. Alex graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 2008. Currently, Alex is a 5th year Ph.D. student at UCLA in Human Development and Psychology, where she obtained her Masters of Arts in Education in 2013. Alex’s research focuses on combining her dual interests in treatment research and statistics to optimize treatment outcomes for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities including ADHD and autism. Currently, she is using item response theory to explore treatment differences between several pharmacotherapies for ADHD. Alex is also involved with the thinkSMART® program at UCLA as a group facilitator, co-author of the thinkSMART® manual (in prep), and involved in thinkSMART® program development.