Inna Fishman, PhD | Email
Dr. Fishman is Associate 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.
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.
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.
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 (CASRC) on ways to deliver evidence-based practices into community settings. Tiffany is a busy bee: she is jointly working on the Toddler Project in our lab, as well as with Dr. Leslie Carver’s Developmental Neuroscience Lab and Dr. Caren Walker’s Early Learning and Cognition Lab at UCSD. She is interested in identifying biological or behavioral markers in infants and toddlers at risk for autism.
Cynthia Ibarra | Email
Cynthia is a master’s student in Psychology at SDSU. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergrad, she investigated the role of interactive media and individual differences in children’s cognitive development. She is interested in examining the neural mechanisms underlying social processes in children with ASD.
Undergraduate Students and Research Assistants
Tamae Sugiura | Email
Tamae graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in German. She joined SCANgroup in June 2018 and is assisting with the Toddler Project. Tamae plans to pursue a graduate degree in Speech and Language Pathology.
Mercedes Palacio | Email
Michael Apostol | Email
Michael is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology at the University of San Diego (USD). He joined SCANgroup in August 2018 and assists with the Toddler Project. His interests include the intersection of science and philosophy, clinical psychology, and the relationship between depression and creativity. After graduating in 2020 he plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Katherine Paszek | Email
Katherine graduated from Syracuse University in May 2017 with a B.S in Psychology. Katherine has been involved in Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy as well as intervention research since May of 2016, working with children on the spectrum. Passionate about autism research, Katherine hopes to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology. At SCANgroup Katherine plays a leading role in the Improv Project, as an instructor and facilitator of the data collection from teachers, parents and teens participating in the Unscripted Learning SDSU-Connections Project.
Vinton Omaleki, MPH | Email
Vinton is a recent graduate of SDSU’s Masters of Public Health program in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. Specializing in Community Engagement, Vinton is helping us build trust and partnerships between SCANgroup and the many communities throughout San Diego County and beyond. He also focuses on increasing local and regional awareness of our research by building collaborative relationships with San Diego educational and medical organizations..
Chris Fong, M.A. | Email
Chris received his B.S. in Psychology from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and has completed Masters Thesis in psychology at SDSU. In his thesis project Chris examined functional brain network development in children with ASDs. He is currently working on completing several manuscripts and is assisting with many aspects of the Toddler Project, including night scans. Chris’ research interests lie in the intersection between neuropsychology and neuroimaging throughout lifespan.
Nikki Velasco | Email
Nikki worked on the Toddler Project as a Rady Children’s Hospital’s liaison after she graduated from UC San Diego. Nikki was instrumental in communicating with the families of young children diagnosed with ASDs and recruiting them into our study. Nikki has moved to the LA area to be closer to her family.
Sarah Reynolds | Email
Sarah worked on the Toddler Project as a Project Coordinator after she graduated from University of San Diego with a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience. Sarah coordinated many aspects of the Toddler Project, including communication with the families, coordination of night scans, and overall project management. After working with us for three years, Sarah wanted to pursue her love of outdoors, and she is currently leading outdoor therapy groups for teens with challenging behaviors.
Shadia Assi, MPH | Email
Shadia was SCANgroup’s Community Outreach Coordinator. A graduate of the SDSU’s Master of Public Health program, with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, Shadia focused on increasing local and regional awareness of our research by building collaborative relationships with educational and medical organizations, and community at large. Shadia was instrumental in communicating with many our community partners and building new partnerships and collaborations.
Elly Pueschel | Email
Elly was an undergraduate student at SDSU majoring in psychology and minoring in statistics and interdisciplinary studies. Elly was awarded an Autism Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2017 and was an IMSD scholar. She completed an Honors Thesis project focusing on sensory processing abnormalities in toddlers with ASDs. Currently, Elly is working on her doctorate in Developmental Psychology at USC.
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 Mazziotti | Email
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. She has moved to Portland to be closer to her family.
Juliana Lucena | Email
As an undergraduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at University of San Diego (USD), Juliana was assisting with many aspects of the Toddler MRI Project in Spring 2018.