Sewanee and Yale Collaborations

Sewanee-At-Yale Summer Internship Project Areas

Summer 2016 Project Areas

(1) Intern: Reeda Shakir and Jamie Kowalczyk; Mentor: Megan Smith, Ph.D.: Low-income new mothers are at greater risk for a range of mental health problems that impact not only their wellbeing, but also the development and health of their children and families. This project focuses on developing new strategies for the promotion of mental health in mothers and their children and the measurement of the biological and psychosocial impacts of chronic stress in mothers on the larger family unit. Interns in this program will learn about working in community settings, biological markers of stress and “toxic stress” and research utilizing smartphone applications to enhance the wellness of new mothers.

(2) Intern: Brianna Parlette, Zachariah Brown, Anthony Mercadant; Michael Crowley, Ph.D.: The intern will be involved in recruiting and assessment. The intern will learn about the acquisition and analysis of biosignals (EEG, HR) for studies of emotion and motivation in children and families. The intern will learn about basic physiology data processing and analysis and also learn basic data analytic skills. Additionally she will observe both neuroimaging and electroencephalography sessions and learn about the acquisition and analysis of biosignals (EEG, HR). 

(3) Interns: Anna Grishaw and Kristen Pirog; Mentor: Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D.: Dr. Sukhodolsky is currently conducting a study of neural mechanisms of behavioral therapy for aggression in children. This study enrolls children with a range of neuropsychiatric disorders in accordance with the Research Domain Criteria project of the National Institute of Mental Health. Children complete neuroimaging and electrophysiological experiments before and after treatment to examine changes in neural circuitry of emotion regulation and social perception associated with reduction in aggression. The summer interns will work with the multidisciplinary team conducing this study and will learn about clinical research in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific responsibilities will include help with guiding subjects through clinical assessments, data management, and literature reviews on study related topics.

(4) Interns: Rebecca Tutino, Meredith Britton, and Lilit Kazazian; Mentor: Kimberly Yonkers, M.D.: Will serve as a clinic screening/recruitment worker as part of a clinical trial administering screening measures to pregnant patients at 2 Women's Centers in New Haven, CT (Rebecca). Will screen study subjects, administer computer-based interviews, collect data on paper and computer,and serve other duties relating to the operations of this implementation study/research protocol at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH; Lilit). Meredith will serve as a screener/recruitment worker as part of a clinical trial administering screening measures at The Center for Well being of Women and Mothers, a women's-only research program at Yale's School of Medicine. Ms. Britton will assist the Project Manager in recruiting participants (20%),helping to administer assessments (20%), obtaining vital signs (5%), scheduling follow up appointments (5%)and data entry (20%). In addition to this, weekly research didactic meetings for all summer interns on a variety of topics (25%)will be held and they will prepare and present a poster related to a component of their work. The P.I. will meet with interns weekly and review all aspects of their work as well as address issues surrounding nicotine dependence (5%).

(5) Interns: Stephanie Gutkin, Sophie Borne, Anna Bradley, Stephen Green, and Nicholas Novak; Mentor: Jason Cromer, Ph.D. Cogstate is a public company based in Australia and New Haven that specializes in cognitive testing including the development of computerized neuropsychological tests for children and adults. Involved in clinical trials around the world and in longitudinal studies of child development, Cogstate offers interns the experience to learn more about neuropsychological assessments in children and about the interface between neurodevelopmental research in a biomedical setting and work in a health-based company.

(6) Intern: Hanna De Bruyn; Mentor: Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.: Consciousness is central to human life, allowing people to experience and respond to the world.  The Blumenfeld laboratory investigates the brain when consciousness is impaired by epileptic seizures. They use brain imaging techniques, electrical measurements and testing of behavior. By understanding the mechanisms of consciousness, the research group aims to restore normal consciousness to patients with epilepsy and other brain disorders. The intern in this position will be exposed to the evaluation of epileptic patients as well as the detailed study of brain activity during epileptic seizures.

(7) Intern: Zsanett Peter; Mentor: Thomas Fernandez, M.D.: The intern will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of research projects and learning opportunities: (1) Genetics laboratory bench work applying whole-exome and targeted sequencing to discover rare disruptive genetic variants in patient cohorts, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, and motor stereotypies; (2) Bioinformatic analyses to prioritize the aforementioned genetic variants based on their frequency in the general population, various measures of evolutionary conservation and predicted effect on gene function; (3) Leaning methods of pathway and network analysis that can be used to determine whether genes cluster within certain biological pathways or otherwise work together, increasing our knowledge of underlying pathology; (4) shadowing child psychiatrists and psychologists during patient clinical evaluations in the Yale Tic Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Specialty Clinic; and (5) co-authoring a manuscript reporting the genetic findings above.

(8) Intern: Melida Boehm; Mentors: Jean Adnopoz, M.P.H. and Virginia Zecchini, MSW: Providing Home-Based Mental Health Services to Children and Families: Interns will have an opportunity to work with the staff of Child Study Center programs which provide mental health services to children and families within their own homes and communities. Currently the Center offers 5 distinct models of in-home treatment including the Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service(IICAPS) for children with serious psychiatric disorders, Family Based Recovery, (FBR) for children whose parents are abusing controlled substances, Multi- Dimensional Family Therapy, (MDFT)  for children and adolescents who have experienced out of home placement and may be using controlled substances , Intensive Family Preservation, (IFP)for families with children at risk of removal and receiving protective services, and Positive Interventions for Families Affected by HIV/AIDS, (PIFA). Interns will become familiar with the York Street Family Clinic, an out-patient clinic developed as a step-down program for children and families who have received in-home services to maintain the gains they have made or continue to work towards goal attainment. Interns will be welcome at all program rounds at which cases are presented and treatment strategies discussed. Interns will have access to the data sets developed by these programs and will have an opportunity to participate in process and outcome analysis. Interns may participate in the intake process for one or more programs.

(9) Intern: Madison Bunderson; Mentors: Nicole Landi, Ph.D., Trey Avery. Ph.D., and Katie Shaw, M.S.: In this study interns will learn how to assess very young children who are at risk for developmental and learning disabilities using both cognitive neuroscience techniques (EEG) and behavioral assessments of developmental and language milestones. The primary study for this summer focuses on attention, a pivotal cognitive ability integral to many early developmental milestones including language acquisition, motor skills, and recognition of cause-effect relationships. Often, when investigating early attentional abilities, looking times and heart-rate measures are utilized which may not reflect the dynamic attentional subnetworks in real-time. Although some event-related potentials (ERP) work has been conducted in infants and young children looking at attention, a common adult ERP component, the N2pc, has only recently been found in an age group below 18-years-old. The goal of the current study is to investigate whether the N2pc can be measured in children under 10 years of age. The N2pc has been used as an index of attention capture that precedes oculomotor movement, demonstrating that it is more sensitive to the integrity of the earlier attentional networks than looking-time or heart-rate studies. Using a cueing paradigm and a participant sample of 4-8 years old, we hope to identify how (and whether) attention development (indexed by the N2pc) progresses across childhood and provide future avenues for research with younger children (e.g., toddlers, infants).

(10) Interns: Isaac Johnson and Daniel Gabriel; Mentor: Michael Bloch, M.D.: The intern in this position will work with Dr. Bloch with his studies on several patient populations including individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Trichotillomania (TTM).   The interns will work on several trials and meta-analyses examining treatments for these disorders and related conditions.

(11) Intern: Margie Carrasco; Mentor: Walter Gilliam, Ph.D., Angie Maupin, Ph.D., and Chin Reyes, Ph.D. (Preschool Education Policy): The intern in this position will be assisting on a variety of projects regarding early childhood development, early education and policy. The intern will be assisting to examine early childhood policies regarding mental health services and preschool expulsion, revising and validating an observational measure of the “mental health climate” of early care and education centers, assisting with analyses of the effectiveness of mental health consultation for preschool teachers, and other similar projects.

12) Interns: Cayla O’Hair, Keval Desai, Melissa Zankman, and Rebecca den Bek; Mentor: Helena Rutherford, Ph.D.: Traditional approaches to the study of parenting has involved primarily observational studies and interview-based approaches, leaving the opportunity for the development of novel measures to assess parenting from an experimental approach employing behavioral and neuroimaging modalities. This internship opportunity will provide experience and training in behavioral and EEG/ERP methodologies and their application to the study of parenting.

(13) Intern: Bradford Lepik: Mentor: Ellen Hoffman, M.D., Ph.D.:  The student will participate in a project aimed at using zebrafish to elucidate neural mechanisms involved in autism. The student will gain knowledge of the genetic architecture of autism and the role of model systems in understanding the function of autism risk genes. Specifically, he will gain experience in analyzing brain structure in zebrafish mutants of autism risk genes and learn techniques for analyzing brain anatomy and the expression of neural markers in these mutants. He will learn novel techniques for analyzing behavioral deficits in these mutants. 

(14) Intern: Helena Brooks; Mentor: Michelle Hampson, Ph.D.: The intern will work on a research study comparing the effectiveness of different types of stimuli for provoking obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The intern will work with researchers, clinicians and patients on a project that involves developing and testing two different stimulus sets to determine which is best for symptom provocation. Ultimately, these stimuli will be used in neuroimaging studies to identify the brain patterns associated with symptoms in patients.

(15) Nolan Rourke, Jonathan Moisson, and Nicolas Potenza; Mentors: Marc Potenza, M.D., Ph.D.: The interns in this position may learn about neuroimaging methods and work specifically on datasets collected from substance-using adult and adolescents at risk for substance use. They may also learn about other risk behaviors (e.g., gambling, problematic Internet use, problematic pornography use) in youth and adults, and the clinical correlates of these behaviors.

(16) Intern: Heather Pittman; Mentor: Danya Keene, Ph.D.: This summer internship position will involve assisting on various research projects conducted by the Place, Housing and Health Research Lab at the school of public health. The majority of the internship will be spent on a qualitative project that examines the intersections of diabetes management and housing affordability. Specific internship tasks related to this project include participant recruitment, data management, organizing events with community partners, qualitative interviewing, and qualitative data coding. Other lab project include, an examination of home foreclosure and birth outcomes, a study of housing challenges faced by formerly incarcerated individuals, and a qualitative study of reverse mortgage loans and the development of a new study on housing affordability and child well-being.

(17) Intern: Kai Shulman; Mentor: James McPartland, Ph.D.: The intern in this position will shadow clinicians in a developmental disabilities clinic and learn about the assessment of children with developmental concerns. Kai will observe cases in the autism clinic under the supervision of Dr. James McPartland, and will have the opportunity to assist with child care during feedback sessions in the autism clinic. She will also participate in the weekly lunch research presentations for visiting students in research. Kai will have the opportunity to augment her interest in research and child development by observing eye-tracking and EEG sessions conducted with school-aged children. Kai will learn about several aspects of the research process; she will have the opportunity to learn about stimulus creation, literature reviews, data collection. She will also participate in Dr. McPartland’s weekly lab meetings. She will gain further experience with data management and clinical assessments by helping score and file measures.

 

Summer 2015 Project Areas

(1) Intern: Allison Smith; Mentors: Kasia Charwarska, Ph.D. and Fred Shic, Ph.D.:  This project covers studies of toddlers with Autism and other developmental disorders using behavioral and neurobehavioral methods to investigate the complex interplay between autism symptoms and emotion processing in early development.

(2) Intern: Matson Conrad; Mentor: Ifat Levy, Ph.D.:  The summer intern will be involved in studying decision-making under uncertainty in humans. This will include contributing to study design, running subjects in behavioral and fMRI settings and analyzing the data.

(3) Intern: Abigail Cole and Catherine Reid; Mentor: Megan Smith, Ph.D.: Low-income new mothers are at greater risk for a range of mental health problems that impact not only their wellbeing, but also the development and health of their children and families.  This project focuses on developing new strategies for the promotion of mental health in mothers and their children and the measurement of the biological and psychosocial impacts of chronic stress in mothers on the larger family unit. Interns in this program will learn about working in community settings, biological markers of stress and “toxic stress” and research utilizing smartphone applications to enhance the wellness of new mothers.

(4) Intern: Caleb Thomas, Daniel David, & Haddon Smith; Mentor: Michael Crowley, Ph.D.:  These interns (Caleb Thomas and Daniel David) will be involved in recruiting and assessment for a neuroimaging study of avoidance in children. The intern will also be learning about the acquisition and analysis of biosignals (EEG, HR, startle) for studies of emotion and motivation in children and families. This intern (Haddon Smith) will be involved in research on adolescent reward seeking using both electroencephalography and functional imaging.  Mr. Smith will learn about basic physiology data processing and analysis and also learn basic data analytic skills.  Additionally he will observe both neuroimaging and electroencephalography sessions and attend four time weekly didactic sessions. He will will also be learning about the acquisition and analysis of biosignals (EEG, HR, startle). 

(5) Intern: Nicholas Genovese; Mentor:  Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D.:  Dr. Sukhodolsky is currently conducting a study of neural mechanisms of behavioral therapy for aggression in children. This study enrolls children with a range of neuropsychiatric disorders in accordance with the Research Domain Criteria project of the National Institute of Mental Health. Children complete neuroimaging and electrophysiological experiments before and after treatment to examine changes in neural circuitry of emotion regulation and social perception associated with reduction in aggression.  Summer intern will work with the multidisciplinary team conducing this study and will learn about clinical research in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific responsibilities will include help with guiding subjects through clinical assessments, data management, and literature reviews on study related topics. 

(6) Intern: Mollie Rich; Mentor: Kimberly Yonkers, M.D.:  The intern in this position will work on project MISA which is an implementation study evaluating 3 methods to implement motivational interviewing in a general medical setting. There are 3 arms to the study.  The first is a seminary only group, the second is seminar plus bedside supervision and the third is seminar plus placing an inpatient consult.  The target population are hospitalized patients who have a substance abuse or dependence problem.

(7) Interns: Amy Lee and Alysse Schultheis; Mentors: Brian Harel, Ph.D. and Jason Cromer, Ph.D.  Cogstate is a private small business based in Australia and New Haven that develops web-based neuropsychological tests for children and adults. Involved in clinical trials around the world and in longitudinal studies of child development, Cogstate offers interns the experience to learn more about neuropsychological assessments in children and about the interface between neurodevelopmental research in a biomedical setting and work in a private health-based company.

(8) Intern: Rachel Lilenbaum; Mentor: Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.:  Consciousness is central to human life, allowing people to experience and respond to the world. The Blumenfeld laboratory investigates the brain when consciousness is impaired by epileptic seizures. They use brain imaging techniques, electrical measurements and testing of behavior. By understanding the mechanisms of consciousness, the research group aims to restore normal consciousness to patients with epilepsy and other brain disorders. The intern in this position will be exposed to the evaluation of epileptic patients as well as the detailed study of brain activity during epileptic seizures.

(9) Intern: Petra Richter; Mentor: Thomas Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D.:  The intern will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of research projects and learning opportunities: (1) Genetics laboratory bench work applying whole-exome and targeted sequencing to discover rare disruptive genetic variants in three patient cohorts, including Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and motor stereotypies; (2) Bioinformatic analyses integrating a spatiotemporal gene expression dataset to pinpoint where and when the rare genetic variants may disrupt human brain development in each of these disorders; (3) shadowing child psychiatrists and psychologists during patient clinical evaluations in the Yale Tic Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Specialty Clinic; (4) co-authoring a manuscript reporting the genetic findings above, and co-authoring a review article about Tourette syndrome genetics. 

(10) Intern: Katie Arnone;  Mentors: Nancy Suchman, Ph.D. and Cindy DeCoste, M.S.: Working with Parents with Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders: The intern in this position will learn about an innovative parenting intervention for mothers with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders and a Parent Education comparison intervention. Mothering from the Inside Out (MIO) is a brief, supportive, mentalization-based psychotherapy that has the primary focus of helping mothers with their parenting alongside the standard outpatient drug treatment and psychiatric services that they are receiving in the community. Currently, at the end of a second five-year research phase funded by the National Institute of Health, MIO is being evaluated against a comparison Parent Education (PE) program in a randomized clinical trial.  Preparation for a new five-year research phase to test MIO and PE in a community-based addiction treatment setting where addiction counselors will be randomized and trained to deliver MIO or PE with sustained fidelity is also currently underway. Interns will learn about addiction, parenting interventions, child development, attachment, and assessments used in evaluating the effectiveness of parenting interventions.  They will have the opportunity to participate in the day-to-day activities of the program including leading developmentally-informed activities with young children while their mothers attend study appointments, assisting with data management protocols and editing Parent Education materials for the next phase of research, and attending weekly clinical supervision meetings focused on clinical issues related to patient care and supportive guidance and professional development for staff. 

(11) Intern: Mary Stolz;  Mentors: Jean Adnopoz, M.P.H. and Virginia Zecchini, MSW: Providing Home-Based Mental Health Services to Children and Families:  Interns will have an opportunity to work with the staff of Child Study Center programs which provide mental health services to children and families within their own homes and communities.  Currently the Center offers 5 distinct models of in-home treatment including the Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service(IICAPS) for children with serious psychiatric disorders,  Family Based Recovery, (FBR) for children whose parents are abusing controlled substances, Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy, (MDFT)  for children and adolescents who have experienced out of home placement , Intensive Family Preservation, (IFP)for families with children receiving protective services, and Positive Interventions for Families Affected by HIV/AIDS, (PIFA). Interns will become knowledgeable about the York Street Family Clinic, an out-patient clinic developed as a step-down program for children and families to maintain the gains they have made in home-based treatment. . Interns will be welcome at program rounds at which cases are presented and treatment strategies discussed. Interns will have access to the data sets developed by these programs and will have an opportunity to participate in process and outcome analysis.

(12) Intern: Emily Peters; Mentors: Nicole Landi, Ph.D., Julia Irwin, Ph.D., and Jessica Whittle: In this study interns will learn how to assess very young children who are at risk for developmental and learning disabilities  including autism  using both cognitive neuroscience techniques (NIRS and EEG) and behavioral assessments of developmental and language milestones.

(13) Intern: Daniel Gabriel; Mentor: Michael Bloch, M.D.:  The intern in this position will work with Dr. Bloch with his studies on several patient populations including individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Trichotillomania (TTM).  The intern will learn about treatments for these conditions in children and adults and on the predictors of long-term outcome.

(14) Intern: Yubi Ventura; Mentor: Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D.:  The intern in this position will work on projects relating to adolescent smoking and interventions to impact smoking in young people.  The intern will learn both about the science of nicotine as well as accomplishing an intervention program embedded in schools. Additionally, the intern will learn about the emerging regulatory policies about nicotine marketing to different populations.

 (15) Intern: Mary Stolz; Mentor: Mary Gunsalus, Ph.D., Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit:  The intern in this position will be working on the child psychiatry inpatient unit school.  The intern’s roles will be to support teachers with diagnostic-prescriptive teaching/cognitive-behavioral plans/adaptive functioning within a therapeutic classroom located on the inpatient school. The intern will also interact with multidisciplinary clinical team members and will learn about educational assessment and intervention in a mental health setting.

(16) Intern: Ariyan (Nikki) Cox and Mary Graham Harvey; Mentor: Walter Gilliam, Ph.D., Angie Maupin, Ph.D., and Chin Reyes, Ph.D. (Preschool Education Policy):  The intern in this position will be assisting on a variety of projects regarding early childhood development, early education and policy. The intern will be assisting to develop a new test of for measuring development in young children, revising and validating an observational measure of the “mental health climate” of early care and education centers, assisting with analyses of the effectiveness of mental health consultation for preschool teachers, and other similar projects.

 (17) Intern: Gray Lochbihler; Mentor: Brent VanderWyk, Ph.D. (Processing of Biological Motion):  Specific neural circuits for processing biological motion of other humans are theorized to play a critical role in mentalizing and empathy. However, little is known about how this circuitry adapts to process the unique biological motion patterns of young infants. In this project we aim 1) to develop a novel stimulus set of point-light-displays of human infant motion, 2) use behavioral, eye-tracking, and cognitive neuroscience methods to explore the processing of these stimuli in parents and non-parents.

(18) Intern: Haley Wilbanks; Mentors: Marc Potenza, M.D., Ph.D. and Helena Rutherford, Ph.D.: (Neuroimaging studies of addiction in mothers):  Accumulating research is evidencing the dysregulation of stress and reward neural circuits in addiction. Critically these same brain regions seem to underscore maternal responding. Therefore there may be a neurobiological through which addiction impacts parenting. This intern opportunity will involve learning about neuroimaging research and its application to maternal addiction – focusing on understanding the consequences of addiction on resting state maternal brain activity using EEG and understanding how similar questions can be asked using fMRI.  

(19) Intern: William Hudson Robb:  Mentor: Ellen Hoffman, M.D., Ph.D.: The student will participate in a project aimed at using zebrafish to elucidate neural mechanisms involved in autism. The student will gain knowledge of the genetic architecture of autism and the role of model systems in understanding the function of autism risk genes. Specifically, he will gain experience in analyzing brain structure in zebrafish mutants of autism risk genes and learn techniques for analyzing brain anatomy and the expression of neural markers in these mutants using in situ hybridization.

(20) Intern:  Emily Newton: Mentor: Abda Gupta, M.D., Ph.D.:  The intern learn about the genetic analysis of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  After reviewing the latest scientific literature to understand the rationale for our investigations, the intern will assist in analyzing whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing data of selected patients. The intern will learn to filter sequencing data to prioritize genetic mutations by potential deleteriousness through the use of online databases. The intern will also confirm the presence and inheritance of mutations by PCR amplification and Sanger sequencing of DNA samples.  The intern will learn to build evidence for the association of mutations with autism spectrum disorder.

(21) Intern: Shelby Meckstroth; Mentor: Lynn Fiellin, M.D.:  As an active member of a highly cohesive research team in the play2PREVENT Lab, the type of work the student will engage in includes a combination of several components of the following: (1) Participate in focus group discussions; (2) Data collection and management;  (3) Scheduling of participant follow-up assessments; (4) Participate in videogame development meetings; and (5) Literature research.

(22) Intern:  Desiree Kamerman; Mentor: Michelle Hampson, Ph.D.: The intern will work on a research study assessing neurofeedback as an intervention for Tourette Syndrome. The intern will be introduced to  the form of neurofeedback we use, and will collect, analyze, and interpret data on how this intervention affects brain organization. 

(23) Intern: Chelsea Hayman; Mentor: Rajita Sinha, Ph.D.:  The intern in this position will have the opportunity to train in clinical data collection over the phone and using the web, subject interactions and also in coding of data forms and creating excel data sheets as well as powerpoint graphs. She will also learn to apply web and literature search tools to learn about stress and their effects on mental and physical health and on cognition and behavior. She will learn to develop a scientific question and related hypothesis and prepare a poster presentation on the specific topic of her choice related to stress and health.

(24) Intern: Ariyan (Nikki) Cox; Mentor: Federico Vaca, M.D.: The intern will be conducting a rigorous and systematic search of the research literature specific to driving simulation research with a particular focus on adolescent and young adult drivers.  Research that encompasses the use of dense array EEG, fMRI, and other brain imaging modalities will be included. This comprehensive literature search will be use to inform grant proposals and to establish a line of driving simulation research with and without the use of dense array EEG. 

(25)  Intern: Tannis Neal; Mentor: Martha Okafor, Mayor’s office:  The intern in this position will conduct literature reviews on Autism and ADHD, particularly among minority populations and compare with majority parents. The intern will put together an inventory of early childhood programs and initiatives for children with special health care needs, particularly Autism and ADHD in the city and identify evidence-based best practice and practice-based evidence. The intern will also conduct 1-2 focus groups of parents to learn of what it means to parents children with these disabilities and meaningful ways to support them and conduct informant interviews of parents to learn how to best engaged them to have their children school ready. 

(26) Intern: Olivia Glascoe: Mentor: Christine Montgomery, Clifford Beers:  Interns at Clifford Beers have the opportunity to become involved with the Clinic's Intake Support Program.  In this program, interns work with Clinic families during their initial visit to Clifford Beers by administering clinical assessments for their initial intake evaluation. Interns and Volunteers also have the opportunity to become involved with many of our programs and groups, attend clinical meetings and workshops, and gain experience in our research department.

(27)  Interns: Cortez Brown and Hallie Crosby: Mentors: Brian Harel and Jason Cromer (Cogstate) and Charles Thompson (Pfizer): Interns in this program will work on creating materials to educate new members of the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN) about the process of clinical research. iCAN works to provide a voice for children and families in pediatric health, medicine, research and innovation worldwide. We do this through a large network of individual youth advisory groups from around the world. These groups are called KIDS, which stands for Kids and Families Impacting Disease through Science. To this end, interns will attend one or more KIDS Connecticut meetings. They will also travel throughout the state for field experiences at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, Pfizer NYC headquarters, and Pfizer locations in Groton and New Haven. The information gained from these field experiences will be used to help inform the interns about the nature of clinical research in children as well as the challenges associated with such research. Finally, interns are invited to attend the first annual iCAN Research Summit in Washington, D.C. from June 22, 2015- June26-2015.

(28) Intern: Donald Okoye; Mentor: Christopher Pittenger, Ph.D.: The intern in this position will be exposed to work wit patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and learn about animal models that aim to elucidate the mechanisms of learned automatic behaviors seen in OCD.  The intern will learn about the translation of basic science to better treatments for OCD and other neuropsychiatric conditions.

(29) Intern: Rachel Sanacora; Mentors: Marc Potenza, M.D., Ph.D. and Linda Mayes, M.D.:  The intern in this position will work on two projects. The first is a follow up of participants from Native American tribal colleges who participated across three summers at the Child Study Center in seminars on child mental health. The follow-up accomplished by telephone interviews will assess the impact of the training for the participants’ ongoing work and also solicit their suggestions for future trainings and seminars. Additionally, the intern will learn about neuroimaging methods and work specifically on datasets collected from substance using adult and adolescents at risk for substance use.

 

Summer 2014 Project Areas

(1) Intern:  Shelby Monahan; Mentor: Tamara Vanderwal, M.D.: The summer intern in the VanderLab will be trained to 1) run EEG sessions, 2) help run sessions in a simulated MRI magnet with young children, and 3) will also help run function MRI (fMRI) sessions with healthy adults. These projects focus on the use of movies to study functional brain activity in children and adults, and are attempting to determine whether or not it is possible to measure brain connectivity from movie-watching data rather than data collected during “rest,” and to evaluate the effects of movies on head motion. Intern jobs include recruitment, organizing study materials, running EEG sessions, performing literature searches if indicated, and learning about fMRI.

(2) Interns:  Christine Carlone, Abigail Immanuel; Mentor: Helena Rutherford, Ph.D.: This project will focus on examining EEG data and exploring individual differences at the level of addiction as well as clinical symptoms, including depression and anxiety in mothers and non-mothers. Interns will learn how to collect as well as process EEG data. Interns will be exposed to the neuroscience of parenting and how substance use and abuse may impact parenting behavior. Interns will also gain experience in other aspects of parenting research.

(3) Intern: Litton Whitaker; Mentors: Kasia Charwarska, Ph.D. and Fred Shic, Ph.D.: This project covers studies of toddlers with Autism and other developmental disorders using behavioral and neurobehavioral methods to investigate the complex interplay between autism symptoms and emotion processing in early development.

(4) Intern: Matson Conrad; Mentor: Ifat Levy, Ph.D.: The summer intern will be involved in studying decision-making under uncertainty in humans. This will include contributing to study design, running subjects in behavioral and fMRI settings and analyzing the data.

(5) Interns: Natalie Jones and Zola Chihombori Quao; Mentor: Megan Smith, Ph.D.: Low-income new mothers are at greater risk for a range of mental health problems as well as parenting difficulties in part secondary to their social isolation. This project focuses on developing new strategies for enhancing social networks among pregnant women and their access to medical and mental health services for themselves and their infants. Some of these new strategies include using web-based and smart phone technologies. Interns in this program will learn about working in community settings, coordinating focus groups among parents, and designing models for web-based platforms to enhance social connectedness among new mothers.

(6) Intern: Olivia Glascoe; Mentors: Lois Sadler, Ph.D. and Arietta Slade, Ph.D.: The intern in this position will work in a home-based intervention project for first time at-risk mothers and their infants (Minding the Baby project) This project exposes interns to home-based intervention work with families and with the principles of intensive, long-term work with families and how to study the effectiveness of such interventions. 

(7) Interns: Lauren Vasquez and Michael Lord; Mentor: Michael Crowley, Ph.D.: The intern in this position will be involved in recruiting and assessment for a neuroimaging study of avoidance in children. The intern will also be learning about the acquisition and analysis of bio-signals (EEG, HR, startle) for studies of emotion and motivation in children and families. 

(8) Intern: Hannah Morgan; Mentor: Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D.: Dr. Sukhodolsky is currently conducting a study of neural mechanisms of behavioral therapy for aggression in children. This study enrolls children with a range of neuropsychiatric disorders in accordance with the Research Domain Criteria project of the National Institute of Mental Health. Children complete neuroimaging and electrophysiological experiments before and after treatment to examine changes in neural circuitry of emotion regulation and social perception associated with reduction in aggression. Summer intern will work with the multidisciplinary team conducing this study and will learn about clinical research in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific responsibilities will include help with guiding subjects through clinical assessments, data management, and literature reviews on study related topics. 

(9) Intern: Isabelle Hermantin; Mentor: Kimberly Yonkers, M.D.: The intern in this position will work on project MISA which is an implementation study evaluating 3 methods to implement motivational interviewing in a general medical setting. There are 3 arms to the study. The first is a seminary only group, the second is seminar plus bedside supervision and the third is seminar plus placing an inpatient consult. The target population is hospitalized patients who have a substance abuse or dependence problem.

(10) Intern: Eliana Cohen; Mentor: Kimberly Yonkers, M.D.: The intern in this position will work on project Start, which is a screening and brief intervention project for women who have a substance abuse or dependence problem. Women are screened for substance misuse and those who screen positive are randomized to a motivational interview administered by a clinician or to a motivational interview administered by computer or to a pamphlet control condition.  Participants are followed up at 1, 3 and 6 months.

(11) Intern: Katie Arnone; Mentor: Steve Nagler: Serious Fun, Camps for children with serious illness:  The challenge for the continued success and growth of every non-profit is to strike the right balance between strengthening existing operations and exploring new opportunities. “What are we good at?” “How can we get better?” “Where and how can we have the most impact? By combining program innovation and evaluation, the Program Innovation and Evaluation, (PIE) Department of the SeriousFun Children’s Network addresses these questions in a 360 degree fashion, i.e., outcomes evaluations lead to innovation by determining how existing member camp and Global Partnership programs/activities are performing, thus informing areas for potential innovation; and innovations are evaluated in order to bring to light those with potential for replication within the Network. In preparation for a study of the psycho-social impact of camp on former campers who are now in their early 20s (+ or -), the intern working with Serious Fun this summer will research and write a literature review on the psychosocial effects of cancer and other serious illness on young adults and on the findings of previous studies regarding interventions that address these effects. The intern may also assist in the design and development of monitoring and evaluation protocols for forthcoming innovation grants for member camps of the Network.  The Network is always trying to come up with engaging, accessible ways to present data and findings to our stakeholders – board members, donors, staff from member camps, the public. It will be very helpful for the summer Intern to accept the challenge of creating “infographics”.

(12) Interns: Colton Treadwell, Daxi Liang, and Cortez Brown; Mentors: Brian Harel, Ph.D. and Jason Cromer, Ph.D., Supervisors at Cogstate: Cogstate is a private small business based in Australia and New Haven that develops web-based neuropsychological tests for children and adults. Involved in clinical trials around the world and in longitudinal studies of child development, Cogstate offers interns the experience to learn more about neuropsychological assessments in children and about the interface between neurodevelopmental research in a biomedical setting and work in a private health-based company.

(13) Intern: James Carmichael; Mentor: Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.: Consciousness is central to human life, allowing people to experience and respond to the world. The Blumenfeld laboratory investigates the brain when consciousness is impaired by epileptic seizures. They use brain imaging techniques, electrical measurements and testing of behavior. By understanding the mechanisms of consciousness, the research group aims to restore normal consciousness to patients with epilepsy and other brain disorders. The intern in this position will be exposed to the evaluation of epileptic patients as well as the detailed study of brain activity during epileptic seizures.

(14) Intern: Christopher Horacek; Mentor: Thomas Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D.: The intern will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of research projects and learning opportunities: (1) seeing patients and keeping records for a medication clinical trial in Tourette syndrome, (2) Gathering clinical data from patient records for a genetic study of obsessive-compulsive disorder, (3) genetics laboratory bench work to discover rare genetic variants in patients with Tourette syndrome and motor stereotypies, (4) shadowing child psychiatrists and psychologists during patient clinical evaluations in the Yale Tic Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Specialty Clinic

(15) Intern: Smita  Bhattacharya;  Mentors: Nancy Suchman, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Cindy DeCoste, M.S and Lourdes De Las Heras, M.S., Project Directors: Working with Parents with Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders: The intern in this position will learn about an innovative parenting intervention for mothers with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. Mothering from the Inside Out (MIO) is a brief, supportive, mentalization-based psychotherapy that has the primary focus of helping mothers with their parenting alongside the standard outpatient drug treatment and psychiatric services that they are receiving in the community. Currently, in a second five-year research phase funded by the National Institute of Health, MIO is being evaluated against a comparison Parent Education program in a randomized clinical trial. Interns will learn about addiction, psychiatric disorders, parenting interventions, attachment, child development, and assessments used in evaluating the effectiveness of parenting interventions. They will have the opportunity to participate in the day-to-day activities of the program and to attend weekly clinical supervision meetings focused on clinical issues related to patient care and supportive guidance and professional development for staff. 

(16) Intern: Aimee Chase;  Mentors: Jean Adnopoz, M.P.H. and Virginia Zecchini, MSW: Providing Home-Based Mental Health Services to Children and Families: In this experience, interns will learn about delivering mental health services to families and their children within the IICAPS model, an intensive home-based model designed to minimize risk for repeat hospitalization for mental health difficulties.  Along with IICAPS there are other In-home models that are coordinated by Ms. Adnopoz and her colleagues which include: Family Based Recovery, Intensive Family Preservation, Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy, and Positive Interventions for Families Affected by HIV/AIDS. Interns will learn about the In-home models and ways to understand behavior within family systems.  Interns will also learn about evaluation of the effectiveness of these intervention approaches.

(17) Intern: Angelica DeFreitas; Mentors: Nicole Landi, Ph.D., Julia Irwin, Ph.D., and Jessica Whittle: In this study interns will learn how to assess very young children who are at risk for developmental and learning disabilities, including autism using both cognitive neuroscience techniques (NIRS and EEG) and behavioral assessments of developmental and language milestones.

(18) Intern: Zachary Stuckelman; Mentor: Michael Bloch, M.D.: The intern in this position will work with Dr. Bloch with his studies on several patient populations including individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Trichotillomania (TTM). The intern will learn about treatments for these conditions in children and adults and on the predictors of long-term outcome.

(19) Intern: Megan Mastey; Mentor: Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D.: The intern in this position will work on projects relating to adolescent smoking and interventions to impact smoking in young people. The intern will learn both about the science of nicotine as well as accomplishing an intervention program embedded in schools. Additionally, the intern will learn about the emerging regulatory policies about nicotine marketing to different populations.

(20) Intern: Simey Emerson-Hernandez; Mentor: Christopher Pittenger, Ph.D.:  The intern in this position will be exposed to work wit patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and learn about animal models that aim to elucidate the mechanisms of learned automatic behaviors seen in OCD. The intern will learn about the translation of basic science to better treatments for OCD and other neuropsychiatric conditions.

(21) Intern: Paige Brennan; Mentor: Mary Gunsalus, Ph.D., Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit: The intern in this position will be working on the child psychiatry inpatient unit school. The intern’s roles will be to support teachers with diagnostic-prescriptive teaching/cognitive-behavioral plans/adaptive functioning within a therapeutic classroom located on the inpatient school. The intern will also interact with multidisciplinary clinical team members and will learn about educational assessment and intervention in a mental health setting.

(22) Intern: Paige Brennan; Mentor: Walter Gilliam, Ph.D. (Preschool Education Policy): The intern in this position will be assisting on a variety of projects regarding early childhood development, early education and policy. The intern will be assisting to develop a new test of for measuring development in young children, revising and validating an observational measure of the “mental health climate” of early care and education centers, assisting with analyses of the effectiveness of mental health consultation for preschool teachers, and other similar projects.

(23) Intern: Paige Brennan; Mentor: Carla Horwitz, Ph.D. (Calvin Hill Early Childhood Education Center): The intern in this placement will have experience working in a early childhood program with master teachers and learning the principles of child development as put into action in a high quality early childhood classroom.

(24) Interns: James Carmichael and Zola Chihombori Quao;  Mentor: Brent VanderWyk, Ph.D. (Processing of Biological Motion):  Specific neural circuits for processing biological motion of other humans are theorized to play a critical role in mentalizing and empathy. However, little is known about how this circuitry adapts to process the unique biological motion patterns of young infants. In this project we aim 1) to develop a novel stimulus set of point-light-displays of human infant motion, 2) use behavioral, eye-tracking, and cognitive neuroscience methods to explore the processing of these stimuli in parents and non-parents.

(25) Intern: Hallie Crosby; Mentors: Marc Potenza, M.D., Ph.D., Linda Mayes, M.D. , and Helena Rutherford, Ph.D.: (Neuroimaging studies of addiction  in mothers):  Accumulating research is evidencing the disregulation of stress and reward neural circuits in addiction. Critically these same brain regions seem to underscore maternal responding. There may therefore be a neurobiological through which addiction impacts parenting. This intern opportunity will involve learning about neuroimaging research and its application to maternal addiction – in the context of two ongoing neuroimaging studies being conducted at Yale.  

 

Summer 2013 Project Areas

(1) A study of adolescent risk taking and emotional avoidance (Michael Crowley, Ph.D. and Linda Mayes, M.D., supervisors): In this study, interns learn about negative reinforcement and how to assess emotional avoidance using both behavioral tasks and electrophysiology.

(2) A treatment study of attention deficit disorder (Tamara Vanderwal, M.D., supervisor): In this study, interns learn about designing a pharmacologic treatment study with a placebo control group and about following treatment response over an eight week window. Interns in this position also learn about using electroencephalography to study attentional processes in children.

(3) Adolescent response to stress (Michael Crowley, Ph.D., supervisor): In this study, interns learn about how to assess adolescent stress response in a laboratory setting and how to score emotional regulatory behaviors in both individual children and parents and in family interactions.

(5) Neurocognitive and language development in children birth to 5 yrs (Nicole Landi, Ph.D., supervisor): In this study interns will learn how to assess very young children who are at risk for developmental and learning disabilities using both cognitive neuroscience techniques (NIRS and EEG) and behavioral assessments of developmental and language milestones.

(6) Resilient behaviors among children with serious illness (Steve Nagler, Ph.D. and Linda Mayes, M.D., supervisors): Interns will participate in assessments of children and their families prior to their attending a summer camp especially designed for children suffering from serious illness. Interns will learn about concepts of resilience and stress as growth promoting.

(7) Individual differences in parental response to infant cries (Helena Rutherford, Ph.D., supervisor): This project uses a simulated computer baby to study parental stress in response to infant cries and individual differences in that response. Interns will learn about assessment of parental behaviors and about the concept of parental attachment. 

(8) A home-based intervention project for first time at-risk mothers and their infants (Minding the Baby project) (Lois Sadler, Ph.D., and Arietta Slade, Ph.D., supervisors): This project exposes interns to home-based intervention work with families and with the principles of intensive, long-term work with families and how to study the effectiveness of such interventions.

(9) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Michelle Hampson, Ph.D., Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D., supervisors):  This project is focused on developing a set of stimuli that provoke symptoms in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and running pilot studies on the stimuli. With the pilot studies we hope to confirm that the stimuli induce symptoms in a transient fashion in children with OCD, but that they are also well-tolerated by the children. In the long term, these sets are intended to be used in real-time fMRI neurofeedback studies that train children with OCD to control the brain patterns associated with their symptoms.  

 (10) Developing a resilience curriculum for families and school aged children (Steven Southwick, M.D. and Linda Mayes, M.D., supervisors): In this project, interns learn about working in partnership with private industry (Scholastic Publishing) to develop a curriculum for implementation in schools that encourages specific skills to foster resilience.

 (11) Developing Neuropsychological Tests for Children (Brian Harel, Ph.D., supervisor at Cogstate): Cogstate is a private small business based in Australia and New Haven that develops web-based neuropsychological tests for children and adults. Involved in clinical trials around the world and in longitudinal studies of child development, Cogstate offers interns the experience to learn more about neuropsychological assessments in children and about the interface between neurodevelopmental research in a biomedical setting and work in a private health-based company.

(12) Understanding the Neural Circuitry of Parenting (Linda Mayes, M.D., Marc Potenza, M.D., Ph.D., and Helena Rutherford, Ph.D., supervisors): This project uses neuroimaging and electroencephalography to study parental response to salient infant cues such as cries or facial emotional expressions. The focus of this program of research is to understand changes in neural response on the birth of an infant and to study the impact of psychiatric conditions such as substance abuse or depression on parental neural circuitry. Interns in this project will learn about neuroimaging and about the neural basis of parenting. They will also gain experience using behavioral and EEG assessments.

(13) Enhancing social networking and social support in new parents (Megan Smith, Ph.D. and Linda Mayes, M.D., supervisors): Low-income new mothers are at greater risk for a range of mental health problems as well as parenting difficulties in part secondary to their social isolation. This project focuses on developing new strategies for enhancing social networks among pregnant women and their access to medical and mental health services for themselves and their infants. Some of these new strategies include using web-based and smart phone technologies. Interns in this program will learn about working in community settings, coordinating focus groups among parents, and designing models for web-based platforms to enhance social connectedness among new mothers.

 (14) Toddlers and Infants at Risk For Autism (Kasia Chawarska, Ph.D., supervisor):  Studies of younger siblings of children with autism using both behavioral and eye-tracking methods explore whether or not there are specific social cognitive markers evident prior to the emergence of symptoms of autism in very young children.

(15) Developing Mirror Neuron System in Infants (Tammy Vanderwal, M.D., Ph.D., supervisor): The mirror neuron system (MNS) is a network of neurons that automatically respond when a person performs an action and when a person watches someone else perform an action. In this way, they perform a fascinating integration in the brain that has researchers excited about things like social cognition and empathy. This study aims to elicit brain signals associated with mirror neuron activity in both a quick, "impulse" based way, and to test whether or not mirror neuron activity changes brain activity in a longer, more sustained way. We are also testing the effects of audio-visual dysynchrony on mirror neuron functioning. The goal is to test 20-25 healthy adults, ages 18-24, using dense-array EEG, over the course of the summer.

 (16) Working with substance abusing parents (Nancy Suchman, Ph.D., Monica Ordway, supervisors): Interns in this position learn about an innovative clinical model delivering care to substance using mothers. Mothering from the Inside Out helps substance using mothers with their parenting as the primary focus of intervention alongside standard drug treatment services. Interns in this position learn about addiction, psychiatry, parenting interventions, and assessing the effectiveness of intervention programs. Work this summer specifically focuses on refining mentalization or mindfulness approaches to working with mothers and infants.

(17) Providing Home-Based Mental Health Services to Children and Families (Jean Adnopoz, M.P.H. and Virginia Zecchini, MSW, supervisor): In this experience, interns will learn about delivering mental health services to families and their children in intensive home-based models designed to minimize risk for repeat hospitalization for mental health difficulties. A related model coordinated by Ms. Adnopoz and her colleagues is a home-based intervention program for substance-using parents.  Interns will also learn about evaluation the effectiveness of these intervention approaches.

(18) Reward Sensitivity and Adolescent Marijuana Use (Christopher Hammond, M.D., supervisor): This project investigates the relationship between individual differences in reward sensitivity and adolescent marijuana use. Using electroencephalography, the project focuses on key components of neural response to reward prediction. 

(19) Adolescent Smoking (Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D.): In this project, interns will learn about interventions with adolescents and young adults for smoking and how to evaluate outcomes of treatment studies.

(20) Neural Basis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Christopher Pittenger, Ph.D.): In this project, the intern learns about animal models of a complex psychiatric disorder and about using animal models to understand the neural circuitry of OCD.

(21) Relationship Between Prenatal Stress and Adverse Outcome in Offspring (Hanna Stevens, M.D.): This project uses animal models to study stress during pregnancy and the impact on brain development in offspring. Closely paralleling ongoing human studies, this project will introduce interns to translational research and the general area of chronic stress and long-term health outcomes.

(22) Neural Correlates of Affective Touch (Helena Rutherford, Ph.D.): This project uses EEG/ERP to examine the neural correlates of affective touch in parents and non-parents while at rest as well as while engaged with visual stimuli. Interns will learn how to collect and analyze EEG/ERP data.

(23) Neurocognitive Functioning in Children with Cancer (Nina Kadan-Lottick, M.D.):  This project focuses on the neurocognitive outcomes of children treated for cancer  and quality of life and family stressors for children with cancer.

(24) Outpatient Mental Health Services for Children and Families (Chris Dauser, Ph.D.):  In this experience, interns learn about the day to day delivery of mental health services for children and their families and the organization of a child guidance clinic.

(25) Social Policies for Early Childhood Health and Development (Walter Gilliam, Ph.D.): In this area of work, interns will be exposed to early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, the impact of early childhood education programs on children’s school readiness, and effective methods for reducing classroom behavior problems.

(26) The Impact of Stress and Stress-Reducing Interventions (Rajita Sinha, Ph.D.):  In this area, interns learn the effects of stress on behavior and neurobiological systems and the development of effective addiction prevention and treatment strategies that target stress and emotion regulation in individuals both at-risk for and those with addiction problems.