Faculty and Staff


Faculty

Yvette Sheline, MD, M.S.

Yvette Sheline, MD, M.S.

McLure Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology, and Neurology
 sheline@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Director, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress

Director, Section on Mood, Anxiety, and Trauma 

Dr Sheline is the McLure Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology, and Neurology and Director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress (CNDS) at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sheline has over two decades of experience conducting innovative clinical neuroscience research that bridges the fields of neuroimaging, translational research, and clinical treatment. Recent projects include: using an accelerated iTBS protocol to treat depression and bipolar disorder; neuromodulation using cloud-based real-time fMRI; the neural predictors of outcome to computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT); and how the co-occurrence of particular symptoms, neuropsychological variables and structural and fMRI brain network measures may provide biotypes that cut across ‘anxious-misery’ disorders

[Google Scholar][PubMed]  

Desmond Oathes, PhD

Desmond Oathes, PhD

Associate Director CNDS and Co-Director brainSTIM Center
 oathes@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Associate Professor of Psychiatry 

Dr. Oathes is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in interleaved TMS/fMRI to probe neural circuits and to generate novel neurotherapeutic targets. He also runs clinical trials for depression and PTSD and collaborates on TMS/behavioral studies on working memory, social cognition and other topics. 

[Google Scholar][PubMed][Oathes Lab]

Nicholas Balderston, PhD

Nicholas Balderston, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
 nicholas.balderston@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Dr. Balderston has a 15-year background in experimental psychology, psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and neuromodulation. His work features TMS/TBS administration, TMS targeting/e-field modelling, resting state fMRI, working memory performance, working memory-related BOLD activity. He has developed and published on several cognitive paradigms, investigating the relationship between negative affect and cognition, behavior, psychophysiology, fMRI, magnetoencephalography, and most recently with causal manipulations like TMS. As an experimental psychologist with extensive methods experience, he aims to make a unique and impactful contribution to the research program of the department, both through his independent basic-science research program, and through a team science approach aimed at translating his findings to better treat the patient populations served by the department.

[Google Scholar] [PubMed][Balderston Lab]


Staff

Maria Prociuk

Maria Prociuk

Research Administrative Coordinator
 lmari@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Maria works with Dr. Sheline and others in the center to ensure the center runs smoothly. In addition to her administrative duties such as scheduling, shipping, ordering, and organizing, she also assists in multiple research studies. Maria assists in grant submissions, IRB submissions and manuscript and abstract submission. Maria’s research duties include but are not limited to working with study sponsors, phone screens, speaking with participants and collaborators, assisting with participant visits and recruitment. Maria also supervises and closely works with our volunteers.

Walid Makhoul, MD

Walid Makhoul, MD

Research Specialist C
 walid.makhoul@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Walid has completed his NIH T32 fellowship in affective disorders here at the CNDS. He is leading both our Bipolar clinical trial and our treatment-resistant depression study using iTBS. Walid has helped conduct TMS studies which study the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on neural activity and connectivity using TMS/fMRI as well as how the addition of a cognitive task organizes and augments this response to induce plasticity. 

[Google Scholar]


Clinical Research Coordinators

Almaris N. Figueroa-Gonzalez

Almaris N. Figueroa-Gonzalez

Clinical Research Coordinator B
 almaris.figueroa-gonzalez@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Alma graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus in 2017 with a B.S. in Molecular Cell Biology. During her post-baccalaureate at the NIH, she studied the neuronal pathways involved in anxiety-related behaviors. Alma is interested in studying the neural architecture of psychiatric illnesses and intends to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. 

Marta Teferi

Marta Teferi

Clinical Research Coordinator A
 marta.teferi@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Marta graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology. She is the coordinator for the Effects of rTMS on Anxiety study. In the future, Marta plans to pursue a career as a School Psychologist.

Abigail Casalvera

Abigail Casalvera

Clinical Research Coordinator A
 abigail.casalvera@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Abigail graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a coordinator for the Resting State Changes Following Theta Burst Stimulation study. Abby is interested in Child and Adolescent Psychology and plans to pursue a career as a school psychologist.

Milan Patel

Milan Patel

Clinical Research Coordinator A
 milan.patel@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Milan graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Neuroscience. They are currently a coordinator for the Resting State Changes Following Theta Burst Stimulation study. Milan is interested in studying Child and Adolescent Psychology, predominantly in young queer populations, and is looking to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the near future.

Frederick Nitchie

Frederick Nitchie

Clinical Research Coordinator B
 frederick.nitchie@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Freddy graduated from Arcadia University in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and Villanova University in 2019 with an M.S. in Experimental Psychology. He is currently the coordinator for the Computer-augmented Cognitive Behavioral Therapy study, as well as Deciphering Mechanisms of ECT Outcomes and Adverse Effects (DECODE) study. Freddy is interested in the relationship between anxiety and depression and the comorbidity of their symptomatology. He plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the near future. In his free time, Freddy enjoys reading, bowling, table-top games, and playing with his dog Teak.

Alessia Seroff

Alessia Seroff

Clinical Research Coordinator A
 alessia.seroff@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Alessia graduated from New York University in 2022 with a B.A. in Psychology and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She is the coordinator for the RECOVER - A Prospective, Multi-Center, Randomized Controlled Blinded Trial Demonstrating the Safety and Effectiveness of VNS Therapy® System as Adjunctive Therapy Versus a No Stimulation Control in Subjects With Treatment- Resistant Depression, sponsored by LivaNova. She is interested in studying new treatment options for mood disorders, primarily bipolar disorder. In the future, Alessia plans to pursue a career in clinical social work.

Camille Blaine

Camille Blaine

Clinical Research Coordinator A
 camille.blaine@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Camille graduated from Virginia Tech in 2022 with a B.S. in Computational and Systems Neuroscience and a double minor in Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction. Her research interests include using interleaved TMS/fMRI to better understand the neuromodulatory effects of TMS on neural pathways and functional connectivity in a clinical population. She is interested in leveraging neuroimaging analysis for the development of novel treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders. In the future, Camille intends on pursuing a career in the research and development of neurotechnology in a clinical setting.

Joanna Zheng

Joanna Zheng

Clinical Research Coordinator A

Joanna graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2024 with a B.S. in Cognitive Studies and Child Development and a minor in Neuroscience. She is a coordinator for the LivaNova-sponsored RECOVER study, which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of the VNS Therapy® System as an adjunctive intervention in improving treatment-resistant depression, as well as the Deciphering Mechanisms of ECT Outcomes and Adverse Effects (DECODE) study. Her research interests include the psychopathology of affective disorders and mental health disparities in vulnerable populations. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in child-adolescent psychiatry.


Data Analysts

Julie Grier

Julie Grier

Data Analyst
 julie.grier@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Julie graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2022 with a B.S. in Computational Biology and Sociology. Her responsibilities include neuroimaging data processing and analysis. She is interested in leveraging data science methods and machine learning techniques to better understand and analyze TMS-evoked brain network responses. 

Alexandra Batzdorf

Alexandra Batzdorf

Neuroimaging Data Analyst
 batzdorf@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Alexandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing at Bard College and a graduate certificate in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she worked as an MRI research specialist in the Department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine. Alexandra is interested in leveraging multimodal neuroimaging to elucidate the mechanisms underlying comorbid psychiatric disorders with the goal of informing their conceptualization. She strives to conduct interdisciplinary research integrating neuroscience, psychology, critical theory, philosophy and history of psychiatry, and disability justice. Her values drive her to think critically about the structural roots and implications of how we conduct science and to work toward mitigating power differentials. 

 

[Google Scholar] 


Graduate Students

Gianna Perez

Gianna Perez

Neuroscience Graduate Student
 gperez97@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Gianna attended Villanova University as a Presidential Scholar and graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. She began her graduate studies in the University of Pennsylvania Neuroscience Graduate Group in the fall of 2019 and joined the Oathes Lab in the summer of 2020. Gianna's work in the lab currently focuses on uncovering brain changes associated with depression treatment. She is also the Co-Director of Graduate Led Initiatives and Activities, a graduate student organization dedicated to building community, fostering professional development, and doing neuroscience outreach. As a first-generation college and graduate student, she aspires to use her career to continue to make Neuroscience a more inclusive place for historically underrepresented groups.


Post-Baccalaureates

Sarai Garcia

Sarai Garcia

Post-Baccalaureate Research Experience Program Student
 sarai.garcia@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Sarai graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2023 with a B.S. in Psychobiology and a B.A. in Sociology-Criminology with a minor in Disaster Studies. Sarai hopes to merge her interests and examine the neurocircuitry underlying anxiety and stress-related psychopathology to understand the mechanisms by which this circuitry contributes to the development of cognitive-affective changes and negative mental health outcomes within underserved populations most impacted by stress and trauma. In the future, Sarai plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.


Student Research Assistants

Dana Bahng

Dana Bahng

Work Study Student
 dana.bahng@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Dana is a current sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in cognitive science and minoring in consumer psychology. She is interested in applications of neuroscience in decision-making, behavioral psychology, and language processing. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, making origami, baking, and raising plants.

Noemí Rubau Apa

Work Study Student
 noemi.rubauapa@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

 
Alumni
Staff:

Kathleen Cassidy 

Stephanie Hammerman

Eileen Mergliano

Edita Stanic

Kristin Tederstrom

Romain Duprat

Clinical Research Coordinators:

Colleen Bontrager

Eugene Cha

Joseph Deluisi

Gabriela Bagdon

Cristopher Byrd

Tommaso Girelli

Gabriella Green

Clay Gueits

Victoria Halewicz

Elizabeth Harders

Adna Jaganjac

Hannah Long

Monica (Mengqun) Lyu

Heather Robinson

Morgan Scully

Janet Stock

Rand Williamson

Joyce Wong

Ethan Hammett

Data Analysts: 

Marc Jaskir

Gregory Bond

Connor Law

Irem Aselcioglu

Matthew Flounders

Ximo Liang

Darsol Seok

Nathan Smyk

Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Justin Reber

Geoffrey Adams

Joanne Beer

Maxwell Bertolero

Thomas Brooks

Seda Ozdemir Cavdaroglu

David Connor

Alexandre Filipowicz

Marianna Gabrielyan 

Martina Ly

Melissa Manners

Hema Nawani

Meichen Yu 

Graduate Students:

Nick Cullen

Evan Gallagher

Anne Mennen

Andrew Murphy

Valerie Sydnor

Jared Zimmerman

Student Research Assistants:

Paige Mckenzie

Jillian Troth

Georgia Moon

Emily Potts

Mila Bria-Massaro

Samantha Costello

Christina DiCindio

Tanya Gershman

Varuna Jasodanad

Luis Hernandez Magro

Stepphanie Nekroski

Chihiro Shimomoto

Gabrielle Stravach

Libby Sullivan 

Bridget Yu

Jackie Wurman