Director

Inna Fishman, PhD  |  Email

Dr. Fishman is Assistant Research Professor in the SDSU Department of Psychology, Associate Clinical Director of the Brain Development Imaging Labs, and Director of SCANgroup. She is also an affiliate member of the SDSU Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). Dr. Fishman is a clinical neuropsychologist, with background and training in cognitive, developmental and social neuroscience. She uses multimodal neuroimaging techniques (EEG, ERPs, and MRI, including functional and diffusion MRI) to examine brain mechanisms and circuits underlying human social behavior. She aims at understanding how variations in brain activity or organization are translated into overt patterns of social behavior. Currently, Dr. Fishman’s focus is on understanding how behavioral difficulties in social domain (such as these in ASDs) map to atypical brain circuits, and when the organization and function of these circuits diverge from the patterns observed in typical development.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Mikaela Kinnear, PhD  |  Email

Mikaela is a clinical psychologist and developmental neuroscientist. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from University of Colorado, Boulder where her dissertation focused on understanding social functioning in adolescents and young adults with ADHD. She competed a postdoctoral fellowship at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, working on studies examining novel assessment and intervention techniques for children and adults with ASDs. Mikaela joined SCANgroup in January 2016 to pursue her research interests in understanding the mechanisms underlying social communication challenges across the lifespan in individuals with ASDs and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Annika Linke, PhD  |  Email

Annika received her doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge in England and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Brain and Mind Institute, Western University in Canada. Her main interest is understanding how brain function changes over the course of development, and how it is altered in neurodevelopmental disorders. She has worked with neonates, infants, children and adults employing advanced fMRI methods, and joined SCANgroup in January 2016 to study how changes in functional network organization relate to the early behavioral symptoms observed in toddlers diagnosed with autism.

Graduate Students

Lindsay Olson  |  Email

Lindsay is a PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at SDSU and UC San Diego. She received her BA in Psychology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where she studied the effects of socio-economic status on adolescent identity development. After graduating, she studied pragmatic language use in children with ASDs as a research assistant at Oregon Health & Science University. Lindsay completed a pre-doctoral research fellowship at the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University where she used eye-tracking to study early social development in infants at heightened familial risk for developing ASDs. She is interested in early social and brain development and how experiences influence the course of brain development.

Bosi Chen  |  Email

Bosi is a PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at SDSU and UC San Diego. After graduating from New York University with B.A. in Psychology and Economics, Bosi worked as a Research Associate at the NYU Child Study Center to study neural mechanisms underlying autism and ADHD in children and adolescents. Currently, Bosi is jointly working with our lab and with Dr. Marty Sereno, Director of SDSU Imaging Center. Her current research interests include neural correlates of restricted and repetitive behaviors, a core symptom of autism.

Chris Fong  |  Email

Chris received his B.S. in Psychology from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and is currently a Master’s student in psychology at SDSU. His research interests lie in neuropsychology and neuroimaging throughout lifespan. His current project examines functional brain network development in children with ASDs.

Tiffany Wang  |  Email

Tiffany is a PhD student in the Psychology department at UC San Diego (UCSD). After graduating from UCSD with a B.A/B.S in psychology and biology, she worked with Dr. Aubyn Stahmer at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center on ways to deliver evidence-based practices into community settings. Currently, Tiffany is jointly working with our lab, as well as with Dr. Leslie Carver’s Developmental Neuroscience Lab at UCSD. She is interested in identifying biological or behavioral markers in infants and toddlers at risk for autism.

Undergraduate Students

Elly Pueschel  |  Email

Elly is an undergraduate student at SDSU majoring in psychology and minoring in statistics and interdisciplinary studies. Elly is a member of SDSU’s Weber Honors College. She joined the lab in January 2016 and has assisted with various projects examining sensory abnormalities in ASD. She was awarded an Autism Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship and is an IMSD scholar. She is currently completing an Honors Thesis project focusing on sensory processing abnormalities in toddlers with ASDs.

Research Staff

Shadia Assi, MPH  |  Email

Shadia completed her Master of Public Health, with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, at San Diego State University. She has worked in San Diego County in community health programs through outreach, implementation and evaluation. With this past educational and professional experience, she finds it important for community members and organizations to be active participants, contributors and beneficiaries of research projects. As a Community Outreach Coordinator, Shadia leads our community engagement campaign, by building collaborative relationships with educational and medical organizations and increasing local and regional awareness of our research.

Nicole (Nikki) Velasco  |  Email

Nicole completed her B.A. in psychology at University of California, San Diego in December 2016. Nicole is coordinating many aspects of the Toddler MRI Project, and serves as a Rady Children’s Hospital Liaison, focusing on recruiting families for this project.

Sarah Reynolds  |  Email

Sarah graduated from University of San Diego in May 2017, where she obtained a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience and held various leadership roles in Psychology Club, Mortar Board, Active Minds and Climbing Team. Sarah coordinates many aspects of the data management for the Toddler Project, and frequently assists with night scans. She plans to pursue a career in integrative health psychology and outdoor therapy.

Alumni

Natalia Witkowska  |  Email

Natalia completed an Honors Thesis project with us when she was an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at SDSU. Using the Toddler MRI Project data, Natalia identified presence of affective symptoms, including elevated emotional reactivity and internalizing symptoms, in toddlers with ASDs. These symptoms were associated with core autism symptoms and greater delays in expressive language. At present, Natalia is working on her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Cal Lutheran.

Julianna MazziottiEmail

As an undergraduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at University of San Diego (USD), Julianna was assisting with many aspects of the Toddler MRI Project in Spring 2017.