Current Research Track Residents

Atasha Jordan, MD, MBA (she/her)

Atasha Jordan, MD, MBA (she/her)

I am a PGY4 who transitioned to the research track during my PGY3 year of residency. In 2021, I began my research efforts to increase mental health literacy in Philadelphia's Black Christian communities. This research began through my involvement as an APA/SAMSHA Minority Fellow; however, throughout PGY3 year, I realized that the additional support of the research track would help me to undergo these research endeavors more effectively. Presently, I am conducting a study to assess the impact of Mental Health First Aid training on self-reported mental health knowledge and referral behaviors in Black Christians in Philadelphia.


Robert Seilheimer, M.D., Ph.D.

Robert Seilheimer, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY4 research track resident, and I'm interested in using neuromodulation both to investigate neural circuits underlying psychiatric disease and to treat it. I work in the lab of Dr. Casey Halpern, MD in the department of Neurosurgery, where we work to develop and refine deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of psychiatric disorders and use intracranial electrophysiology data from patients to understand the neural correlates of behaviors related to psychiatric disorders. I have a background in mathematics and computational neuroscience and did my PhD work in the lab of Samuel M. Wu, PhD studying how circuits in the retina produce spatiotemporal encoding of light in retinal ganglion cells. Penn Psychiatry has provided me great clinical training, the opportunity to work with top-notch research mentors in neuromodulation, and the ability to combine the two to develop as a physician-scientist.

Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.

Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY3 resident on the research track with an interest in population-based research and associations between inflammation, the microbiome, and psychiatric illness. My interest in combining research with clinical practice developed while working in clinical research at the Boston Children's Hospital after graduating from Tufts University. These dual interests lead me to enroll in the MD/PhD program at the University at Buffalo, where I completed my PhD in the department of epidemiology studying associations between periodontal disease, edentulism, inflammation, the oral microbiome, and risk of hypertension among participants in the Women's Health Initiative. Through the Penn research track, I look forward to continuing to develop clinical skills and apply epidemiologic methods to address research questions within the field of psychiatry.  

Kevin W. Hoffman, M.D., Ph.D.

Kevin W. Hoffman, M.D., Ph.D.

 I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and first came to the Philly area to attend Haverford College, where I studied physics and chemistry. While at Haverford I developed as a scientist, but also discovered that I wanted a more direct role helping people. I continued my education in the combined MD-PhD program at Mount Sinai, where I completed my PhD in microbiology, studying how the immune system responds to neuroinvasive viruses. I came to Penn to combine my research interests with my clinical interests, including children with comorbid psychiatric and complex medical illnesses, psychosis, and the schizophrenia prodrome. Research wise I remain interested in learning how immune-brain interactions contribute to and predict disease outcomes. Outside of the clinic and lab, I’m still a kid at heart and can often be found reading the nerdiest sci-fi/fantasy books I can get ahold of as well as playing with or obsessively talking about my cats!

Dustin R. Todaro, M.D., Ph.D.

Dustin R. Todaro, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY3 research track resident with an interest in the biological mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction. After completing undergraduate studies in chemistry and biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I joined the MD/PhD program at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. My doctoral training was in kinetic-based enzymology studying mechanistic conservation across the HECT ubiquitin ligase superfamily. Through the research track at Penn, I aim to combine my research and clinical interests to better understand and care for patients with neurocognitive disorders, delirium, and substance use disorders. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, live music, and spending time with my wife and friends in Philly.

Calvin Chan, M.D., Ph.D.

Calvin Chan, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY2 resident on the research track. During a post-baccalaureate fellowship at the NIH, I fostered a long-lasting interest in how the immune system impacts human health and disease. This led me to join the MD/PhD program at the University of Cincinnati wherein my PhD studies uncovered an underappreciated and complex interface between the immune system and adipose tissue function in obesity. For me, the research track at Penn was the ideal place to blend top notch clinical training in Psychiatry with unparalleled opportunities to dissect the inter-relationship between the immune system, metabolism, and behavioral health.


Joshua Franklin, M.D., Ph.D.

Joshua Franklin, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY2 resident on the research track interested in the anthropology of childhood, medical anthropology, and cultural psychiatry.  I grew up in New Jersey and became interested in research as an undergraduate at Princeton, where I majored in anthropology and conducted ethnographic research in southern Brazil.  I joined the MD-PhD program at Penn, where I completed a PhD in anthropology focused on gender-affirming medical care for children.  As I continue my research during residency, I am interested in the social and cultural dimensions of childhood, and the medicalization of childhood experiences of psychiatric illness.  Outside of residency, I enjoy distance running and going on bike rides with my daughter. 


Teddy G. Goetz, M.D., M.S.

Teddy G. Goetz, M.D., M.S.

(Pronouns: they/them or he/him) Prior to medical school, I studied biochemistry and gender studies at Yale, conducting research on a wide spectrum of biologically-and socially-determined aspects of gender-based health disparities, and earned my M.S. developing the first animal model of gender-affirming hormone therapy. While earning my M.D. at Columbia in NYC, I developed my research focus on transgender, non-binary, and/or gender diverse (TNG) mental health and self-image, using qualitative and mixed methods. Now as a PGY2, I am taking advantage of the rich EPSP mentorship network and funding support to build upon my prior work by conducting a qualitative research study informing development of a targeted disordered eating intervention for TNG young adults, using implementation science methodology (mentored by Dr. Courtney Wolk). During PGY1, I also co-edited the forthcoming textbook Gender-Affirming Psychiatric Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse People (APA Press, 2023) and authored the forthcoming graphic novel Gender is Really Strange (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2023). My goal is to have a dual clinical and research career, developing evidence-based therapeutic interventions for TNG individuals. Some of my research can be found at teddygoetz.com.


Angela Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Angela Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY2 resident on the research track interested in addiction psychiatry and women's mental health.  I attended the University of Maryland, College Park for undergrad, where I majored in Psychology and Neurophysiology  Afterwards, I spent a research year in Amsterdam studying risk-taking behaviors before landing in New Haven to do my MD-PhD at Yale.  During my PhD, I investigated sex differences in stress and nicotine addiction.  I'm excited to continue my training at Penn, with all the amazing opportunities and support in both research and clinical training that are available here.  


Gary Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

Gary Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

My research career began by studying heart development and gastrulation in the chick model system at Dr. Takashi Mikawa's lab.  I then transitioned to the field of systems neuroscience during my MD/PhD.  For my thesis work in Dr. Benjamin Arenkiel's lab, I explored how different inhibitory interneurons affect sensory processing in the mammalian olfactory bulb. As a PGY 1, I am seeking to transition again into clinical and  translational research with the aim to directly affect patient care. 


Smrithi Prem, M.D., Ph.D.

Smrithi Prem, M.D., Ph.D.

I am a PGY2 resident on the research track. My interest in neuroscience and research started with a biopsychology course that I took in high school. Ultimately through several research projects in college, I became fascinated by brain development and its contributions to neuropsychiatric disorders. My clinical interests in mental illness and my research interests in developmental neuroscience led me to enroll in the MD/PhD Program at Rutgers RWJMS. For my PhD dissertation work I utilized induced pluripotent stem cell technology to better understand how autism impacts the development of early neurons and helped to elucidate molecular markers and pathways that contribute to these developmental changes. By the end of my PhD, I became more fascinated with how the developmental changes I uncovered in cells in a dish translated to the actual human brain. Did an excess of proliferation in neural cells in a dish, for example, mean macrocephaly (large brains) in a child? As such, I am aiming to expand my interests to study structural imaging of brains over a lifetime to better understand what brain changes may be associated with developing neuropsychiatric diseases. I am utilizing my PGY2 year to gather a mentorship team and explore projects in the Brain Gene Development Lab headed by Dr. Aaron Alexander-Bloch.


Elizabeth Flook, MD, PhD

Elizabeth Flook, MD, PhD

I am currently a PGY1 on the research track with an interest in studying neurodevelopment using neuroimaging. I discovered research late in my undergraduate career at the University of Miami. To explore this new world of research, I spent 2 years after graduation at the NIH using a broad range of methods to investigate the neurobiology of anxiety in humans. I continued my education at Vanderbilt, where I completed my neuroscience PhD studying anxiety-associated brain regions in individuals with alcohol use disorder. At Penn I plan to use neuroimaging to understand neurodevelopment and how psychiatric disorders emerge throughout childhood and adolescence.


Nadine Michel, MD, PhD

Nadine Michel, MD, PhD

I became interested in research after spending a summer studying the prevalence of psychiatric illness in earthquake survivors in Haiti. I became intrigued by resilience to social stress and worked in a lab as an undergrad at Duke studying the neural circuits involved in susceptibility to social stress in a rodent model. I pursued an MD/PhD at UVA and used human stem cells to study how genomic stress during brain development can cause DNA damage in high-risk psychiatric genes. I look forward to joining the Penn research track and combining my interest in understanding mechanisms of resilience to stress with my passion for community mental health work.


Zachary Rosenthal, MD, PhD

Zachary Rosenthal, MD, PhD

I grew up in New Jersey in the suburbs of NYC. From there I headed to Haverford College just outside Philly, where I majored in chemistry and found my passion for research during my senior thesis on molecular regulation of protein aggregation in Huntington’s Disease. In pursuit of a mixed career as a physician-scientist, I went on to the MD/PhD program at WashU in St. Louis, where my PhD work explored how focal cortical injury and stimulation change brain network dynamics, using neuroimaging and electrophysiology in mouse models. I am hoping to clinically specialize in interventional neuromodulation therapies like ECT, TMS, and ketamine, and blend this with basic science research on the physiological mechanisms of brain stimulation using neural recordings in animal models. In the psychiatry world, I’m also interested in addiction, LGBTQ populations, and consult liaison psychiatry. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, home fermentation, hiking, and petting my cat.



Back to Top