Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program

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Faculty and Staff


Current Students, RAs, and Work Studies

Waliuddin Khader

Waliuddin is a recent Temple graduate, preparing to apply for graduate school in clinical neuropsychology. He began voluneering with Dr. Grander in 2014, assisting with recruitment for the CHARTS and SHADES studies. He is currently assisting us with the NITES grant.


Arthur Thomas

Arthur is a premed student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in biology, with a concentration in neurobiology. He began volunteering with us in the summer of 2015, assisting with the NITES grant.

Former Research Assistants

Priscilla Andalia
Priscilla is a premed student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in biology. She began volunteering at the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program in the summer of 2013, compiling and analyzing data for our Ader study, which evaluated the effects of conditioned placebo responses on patients with insomnia.


Eneida BeqiriEneida Beqiri
Eneida is a research assistant at the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program. She is currently finishing up her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Biology at the University of the Sciences. Eneida is now pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of the Sciences.

Elliott Berkowitz-SturgisElliott Berkowitz-Sturgis
Elliott  graduated with honors from Drexel University (2011) with a B.S. in Psychology. For his senior thesis Elliott developed a new social network questionnaire for undergraduates with Autism and Asperger's with Felicia Hurewitz, PhD. to asses the efficacy of an peer mentoring program for those with Autism/Asperger's. Elliott began at the BSMP running a pilot study on sensory acuity and mesograde amnesia in primary insomnia. In addition to this work, he works as an assistant RA on our partial reinforcement project (can placebos become conditioned stimuli for medication effects ?) as assists with phlebotomy, EKGs, and designing advertisements for the lab. He had 2 poster abstracts accepted for  APSS this year, and he is an author on one peer-reviewed article.


Florda PriftanjiFlorda Priftanji
Florda is an undergrad psychology student at the University of the Sciences. She has volunteered in the sleep lab since the spring of 2011. She has contributed in completing numerous telephone screenings, and shadowing patients in the lab at the University of Penn hospital. Outside of her work at Penn, she conducts pain and weight research at University of the Sciences. Furthermore, Florda is working with Dr. Michael Grandner on her undergrad thesis on the relationship between nutrition and sleep.


Anthony RamirezAnthony Ramirez
Anthony is in his final semester at the University of Pennsylvania (2012) and began working in the lab as a research assistant in the summer of 2011. Within our group he has taken on a diverse set of responsibilities and has earned first authorship on an abstract and co-authorship on another while also participating in mentored peer review of journal articles. He also works as a research assistant at the Nephrology division at CHOP primarily examining the role of Vitamin D in patients with Nephrotic Syndrome.


Andrea SegalAndrea Segal
Andrea is currently a research assistant with the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program. She is also a student in the Master of Science program in psychology at Drexel University, researching clinical health psychology, and life skills training programs for veterans.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Political Science at Cornell University.  Prior to beginning her graduate studies at Drexel, she worked as a counselor and medical assistant at a general healthcare clinic, and gained research experience at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program where she has been involved mainly in recruitment and data management, as well as applying her clinical health skills.  She also served as research coordinator at the School of Nursing on projects relating to the clinical care of autism spectrum disorders.

Garrett McKayGarrett Mckay (With the BSMP from 2010 to 2011)
Garrett is an undergraduate of the University of Rhode Island, studying abroad in Sydney Australia, currently. He worked as a research assistant in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program on multiple studies. Before joining the BSMP team, Garrett was an intern at Rhode Island Hospital's Sleep Laboratory and Electroencephalogram Laboratory. He was also an observer in the operating room on several occasions where an EEG technologist's skills were required. In his past, he was an intern at Bridgemark Inc., a RI addiction recovery program which assists addicts in looking to maintain healthy substance free lifestyles. He is a member of the Sleep Research Society.

Joseph PlaksinJoseph Plaksin (With the BSMP from 2008 to 2011)
Joe worked as a research assistant on several studies with the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program while attending the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). He graduated in May 2011 with a B.S. in Psychology and a Minor in Biology. While at USP, Joe was President of the American Medical Students Association and the Kingsessing Players. He also was a member of Psi Chi and tutored organic chemistry. In August 2011, Joe left the BSMP to attend medical school at New York University. He concurrently serves as the Co-Director/Director of Development of the New York City Free Clinic and is involved in the American Medical Students Association and the Chamber Musicians in Medicine.




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