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Trainees - Comings and Goings

2020-21 PGY-I Research Track Resident

Monica Castillo, M.D., M.S. 

Monica earned her B.S. at Stanford University and her M.S. and M.D. at Loyola University in Chicago. Her research has focused on inflammatory biomarkers and novel therapeutics in Bipolar Disorder. 









2020-21 PGY-II Research Track Residents 

David Adamowicz, M.D., Ph.D.

David earned his M.D. and Ph.D. (Neurosciences) at UCSD. He studied age-related neurodegenerative disease under Dr. Rusty Gage at the Salk Institute. Before his time at UCSD, David worked in the Hyman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, studying tau pathology and loss of synaptic plasticity in Alzheimer's disease. 







Tom Dixon, M.D., Ph.D. 

Tom received his M.D./Ph.D. at the Tufts School of Medicine MSTP after finishing his B.A. in Chemistry from Pomona College. His doctoral studies were in the field of Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology where he investigated in vitro human neuromuscular junctions using novel tissue engineering techniques. Tom’s current research interest is in engineered neural cell models of normal and abnormal senescence and cognition.






2020-21 PGY-III Research Track Residents 

Monica Federoff, M.D., Ph.D. 

Monica received her medical training at the University of California, Irvine. She conducted research at the NIH and earned her Ph.D. in Neurogenetics from the University College London in a program sponsored by the National Institute of Aging. Monica has published extensively on the genetic regulation of neurodegenerative disorders. 





Sarita Shah, M.D., Ph.D. 

Sarita completed her medical studies at Baylor College of Medicine and received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Rice University. Her doctoral studies focused on tissue engineering and targeted drug delivery systems, and she plans to continue similar lines of inquiry at UCSD with a goal of developing technologies for precise CNS delivery of drugs for mental illness.  







2020-21 PGY-IV Research Track Resident

Sara Timtim, M.D.

Sara

Sarah received her B.S. at Stanford University where she conducted studies and co-authored a report on the use of adjunctive therapies in treatment-resistant Bipolar Disorder. She then completed her M.D. training at the University of Illinois College of Medicine – Rockford. Sara was a member of our inaugural class of the UCSD R25 Summer Research Fellowship, studying longitudinal cognitive measures in children, as part of a multi-site NIH investigation of brain imaging and cognition across development. As a Research Track Resident, she plans to study neuroimaging biomarkers of antidepressant sensitivity in depression.





2020 Graduation Class of Research Track Residents
  • Matthew Klein, M.D., Ph.D. is pursuing an Academic Fellowship with Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and is funded off a Young Investigator Award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Juan Molina, M.D. is pursuing an Academic Fellowship at UCSD, and has submitted his Career Development Award application.

2019 Graduation Class of Research Track Residents
  • Samantha Friend, M.D., Ph.D. is pursuing an Academic Fellowship with the VA Center for Stress and Mental Health and is planning on submitting her CDA application.
  • Yash Joshi, M.D., Ph.D. completed an Academic Fellowship with the VA MIRECC Program, successfully obtained his Career Development Award and joined the Department as an Assistant Professor. 
  • Natassia Gaznick, M.D., Ph.D. is pursuing an Academic Fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at UCLA. 

2018 Graduation Class of Research Track Residents

  • Mercedes Szpunar, M.D., Ph.D. completed a VA Academic Fellowship in Health Issues of Women Veterans, and accepted an Assistant Professor position at the Harvard Medical School Center for Women’s Mental Health, Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Alejandro Meruelo, M.D., Ph.D. was awarded an NIAAA K-23 application, and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. 
  • Nate Miller, M.D., Ph.D. is pursuing Community Psychiatry. 

2019 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows

Chinelo Okolo will begin her second year at Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine, where she also received her M.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Her project in the laboratory of Dr. Lisa Eyler addresses the role of neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of Bipolar Disorder.

Simone Boney will start her MS II year at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. Her project in the laboratory of Dr. Jyoti Mishra assesses the impact of early life stress on neural network connectivity as a potential pathway to the development of mood disorders. 


2018 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows 

Julian Lane is a rising MSII from Howard University. He completed his B.S. (Neuroscience) and M.S. (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) at Johns Hopkins University. His Summer research project examined the utility of mindfulness-based interventions for smoking cessation in psychiatric populations.  

Damien Roland will start his MSII year at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He received his B.S. (Biological and Physical Sciences) from the University of Houston, and his M.S. (Biological and Medical Sciences) from Mississippi College. His Summer research project includes a clinical trial for refractory anxiety disorders. 

2017 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows

Brandi Quintanilla joined us after her first year at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. She received her B.S. in Biology from The University of Texas Pan American, and a Masters in Biomedical Science from The University of North Texas Health Science Center. Brandi spent her UCSD Summer Research Fellowship in the clinical research program of Dr. Cristian Achim, studying alterations in the mitochondrial biogenesis in postmortem brains from patients with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. She presented her findings at the 2017 meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Palm Springs, CA.

Cecilia Rangel-Garcia joined us after her first year at UCSD School of Medicine. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. Cecilia spent her UCSD Summer Research Fellowship in the clinical research program of Dr. Victoria Risbrough, studying the role of early life stressors in later risk for, and manifestations of, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans. 

2016 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows

Jade Avery joined us after her first year at the Dartmouth University Geisel School of Medicine. She received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from The University of Chicago. Jade spent her UCSD Summer Research Fellowship in the clinical research program of Dr. Walter Kaye, studying the effects of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) on Bulimia Nervosa (BN). Her specific project assessed changes in alexithymia in BN patients, pre- vs. post-DBT.

Maria Ceron joined us after her first year at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in Psychological and Brain Sciences. She spent her UCSD Summer Research Fellowship in the clinical research program of Dr. Robert Anthenelli, studying the effects of a novel NMDA antagonist on craving and abstinence in chronic smokers. Maria's research report focused on the role of the prefrontal cortex in the genesis of impulsivity in addiction.

2015 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows

Joshua Dyer came her as a first-year student at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has four years of military experience as a Navy Corpsman, including two years serving with a marine infantry unit. He studied neurobehavioral predictors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with Drs. Dean Acheson and Victoria Risbrough. Joshua completed his medical school training and matched for a Psychiatry Residency Training Program in Southern California.

Robert Cox joined us as a first-year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine. His undergraduate studies were in molecular cell biology, and his clinical interests include Addiction Psychiatry. Robert’s summer project focused on the neural and molecular basis of addiction phenotypes in laboratory animals, working in the laboratory group of Dr. Athina Markou. Robert completed medical school and matched for an ER Residency at Texas Medical Center in Houston.

2014 Psychiatry Summer Research Fellows

Sara Timtim joined us after her first year at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She received her B.S. from Stanford University in Environmental Engineering. Sara spent her summer fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Terry Jernigan, Professor of Cognitive Science, Psychiatry, and Radiology and Director of the UCSD Center for Human Development. She then completed her M.D. training and joined our Research Residency Track in 2017!

Brian Becerra joined us after his first year at Stony Brook University. He received his B.S. in Human Biology from UCSD. Brian spent his summer fellowship in the laboratory of David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D., a former UCSD Research Track Resident and UCSD Professor of Psychiatry. Brian completed his medical training and matched as an Internal Medicine Resident at the University of California, Irvine.