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John Kelsoe, M.D. is the Director of the Fellowship. Dr. Kelsoe's longstanding research focus has been the genetics of psychiatric illness, bipolar disorder in particular. Dr. Kelsoe has spent his career conducting translational cellular and human studies directed at identifying the fundamental biological basis of bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders. As an MD, he is especially attuned to the challenges of guiding MD’s or MD PhD’s into a successful research career. Dr. Kelsoe supervises many of the research track residents in the clinical care of bipolar patients, and he has had the opportunity to discuss the issues in having a clinical and laboratory research career. Dr. Kelsoe has mentored many MD’s and other trainees to successful careers.

Pei-an(Betty) Shih, Ph.D. Pei-an (Betty) Shih, MPM, PhD is the Co-Director of the Fellowship and Director of Didactic Training. Dr. Shih received her Ph.D. in genetic epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed postdoctoral training at the UCSD Department of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Shih's research encompasses a synthesis of epidemiology and molecular genetic studies in both clinical and population-based samples. Her expertise is in the genetics and translational science of complex disorders and phenotype such as eating disorders, metabolic syndrome, aging, and psychiatric comorbidities. Dr. Shih has served the Fellowship as a training faculty since 2012.

Meet the Fellows!

Dr. Erik Kaestner is a researcher focusing on multi-modal approaches to characterizing neural function in patients with epilepsy. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), studying under Eric Halgren on the study of using intracranial electrophysiology. His postdoctoral work with Carrie McDonald has focused on understanding the effects of epilepsy on the brain and cognitive function. His research direction is now turning toward using this experience as well as developing a research program involving neurostimulation to understand how epilepsy treatment via neurosurgery affects cognitive function. He is the recipient of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program from the National Science Foundation and is currently a fellow in the T32 Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry at UCSD.

Dr. Anastasiya Nestsiarovich is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Nestsiarovich received her MD degree from the Belarusian State Medical University (BSMU) in 2011, completed the affiliated Clinical Internship in “Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine” in 2012, and practiced Psychiatry in Belarus for two years (as a physician) and several more years as a researcher studying schizophrenia pathogenesis. After obtaining her PhD degree in Psychiatry from BSMU in 2016, Dr. Nestsiarovich has joined the multidisciplinary team headed by Dr. Christophe G. Lambert at the University of New Mexico, US as a postdoctoral fellow, and served as a key investigator in several of the largest observational comparative effectiveness studies on bipolar disorder pharmacotherapies.
Following successful completion of her project at UNM, she has joined the team of Dr. John Kelsoe at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry to master Reprogramming Psychiatry and Neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Nestsiarovich’s research activity during the past 10 years included epidemiological, retrospective, cross-sectional and prospective observational studies, meta-analyses, clinical trials, genetic, epigenetic, neurophysiological, and stem cell reprogramming approaches. The output are 80 publications (Find publications here), multiple international presentations, and awards. Currently, Dr. Nestsiarovich serves as a principal investigator on the Alkermes-sponsored project in Reprogramming Psychiatry at UCSD, converting blood cells into neurons, to model bipolar disorder pharmacotherapy response in vitro. She pursues a career in Academic Medicine combining both research and clinical practice.

Dr. Miranda Francoeur received her PhD from the University of New Hampshire in 2019 where she studied the role of thalamus in cognitive behaviors and identified its contributions to prefrontal cortex. She is currently completing her postdoctoral training under the supervision of Dr. Dhakshin Ramanathan at UC San Diego as a first-year fellow in the T32 Fellowship in Biopsychiatry and Neuroscience program. Miranda's current research aims to elucidate how neurons communicate information underlying cognitive processes across networks and examine their disruption in neuropsychiatric disorders and brain injury. She serves as a voting member on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for the Status of Women. Outside of lab she enjoys being with her dog, hiking with her husband, drinking craft beer and painting.

Dr. Emily (Ema) Troyer received her MD from the University of Toledo in 2013. She then completed general psychiatry residency training at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2017, and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training at UCSD in 2019. She is currently a fellow in the T32 Fellowship in Biopsychiatry and Neuroscience. Ema’s current research project focuses on examining neural correlates of immune-microbiome relationships in pediatric-onset obsessive compulsive disorder. In her free time she enjoys adventures with her dog and family, gardening, and DIY projects.

Fellowship Advisory Committee

The fellowship advisory committee consists of:

  • John R. Kelsoe, M.D. Program Director and Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Pei-an (Betty) Shih, Ph.D. Director of Didactic Training, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Dept of Psychiatry
  • Mark A. Schuckit, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Walter Kaye, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Susan Tapert, Ph.D. Professor

    of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry

  • Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Jonathon Sebat, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Murray Stein, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Jay Giedd, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry