Lab Members


Faculty

Dr. C. Alix Timko, PhD (she/her)

Dr. C. Alix Timko, PhD (she/her)

Principal Investigator
 timkoc@chop.edu
 267-426-5467

Dr. C. Alix Timko is an Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Director of Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Research in the Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  She is also faculty in PolicyLab, where she serves as the faculty lead for the Adolescent Health and Well-being Portfolio.  Her current work focuses on restrictive eating disorders in adolescents, specifically understanding risk factors for a longer course of illness and developing/refining treatments.

A former Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Scholar, the role of sex as a biological variable underscores most of her work. Ongoing projects include a focus on neuro-cognition, reward circuitry, and what role they play (separately and together) in the development and maintenance of anorexia nervosa. She is actively examining sex differences in social reward in adolescents with anorexia nervosa as well as the role of role of sex hormones and inflammation in the development and/or maintenance of anorexia. Her work includes examining how malnutrition during this sensitive period impacts brain development.

Dr. Timko's clinical research examines the potential benefits of using Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) as an adjunctive treatment to gold-standard family-based treatment (FBT) for adolescents with eating disorders.  Her treatment-focused work also includes the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of eating disorders and using ACT-informed health coaching to positively impact a variety of health behaviors.


Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr. Marita Cooper, PhD (she/her)

Dr. Marita Cooper, PhD (she/her)

Dr. Marita Cooper joined the Timko Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Australian National University where her research examined muscle dysmorphia and muscularity-oriented disordered eating. Marita recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in eating disorders at Johns Hopkins Medicine and was an Eating Disorders Clinical Research Summer Fellow at Harvard University. Marita serves on the editorial board for the International Journal for Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders: Journal of Treatment of Prevention. She has extensive experience in treating eating disorders across the lifespan, including specialized training in Family Based Therapy (FBT) and Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT-e). Marita is an author of the Safe Exercise at Every Stage guideline, supporting healthy return to exercise for those with an eating disorder, and has presented research on dysfunctional exercise, muscularity-oriented disordered eating, and medical complications of anorexia nervosa at conferences for the Academy for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders Research Society, and the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders.

Samantha Turner, PhD, RN (she/her)

Samantha Turner, PhD, RN (she/her)

Samantha Turner joined the lab in 2023 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Samantha received her nursing degree and PhD in nursing from UMass Chan Medical School. There, her research focused on weight stigma in pediatric healthcare and eating disorder treatment, as well as policy approaches to reduce the prevalence of disordered weight control behaviors among children and adolescents. Clinically, Samantha has worked as a pediatric nurse in primary care, school settings, and outpatient eating disorder programs. Since 2020, Samantha has collaborated with the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she researches predictors of and novel strategies to reduce disordered weight control behaviors. In her free time, she enjoys camping, baking, and spending time with her husband, son, and two dogs.


Research Team

Pascal Beckert-McGirr, BA (he/him)

Pascal Beckert-McGirr, BA (he/him)

Clinical Research Assistant
 beckertmcp@chop.edu

Pascal Beckert-McGirr joined the Timko Lab in Spring 2023 as a clinical research assistant. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Government and Psychology. Pascal plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and is especially interested in equitable access to treatment and policy approaches to facilitating equitable treatment of eating disorders. He also hopes to study community based and culturally informed treatments of psychopathology. Outside of lab, he enjoys jogging, playing and watching soccer, learning languages, and hiking!

William Brake, BA

William Brake, BA (he/him)

Clinical Research Assistant

William Brake graduated from William & Mary in 2022 with departmental honors in English. He has worked as a research assistant at Temple University’s Mood and Cognition Lab. William plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and enjoys hanging out with friends, hiking, and reading in his spare time.

Moniher Deb, BA (she/her)

Moniher Deb, BA (she/her)

Clinical Research Assistant
 debm@chop.edu

Moniher (Monie) Deb joined the Timko lab in 2021 as a Clinical Research Assistant, after transitioning out of studying molecular and cancer biology. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 2019, with a BA in both Psychology and Biology. Monie plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and aspires to be a behavioral neuropsychologist, focusing on the behavioral and neural mechanisms behind poor cognitive functioning, decision making and habit formation in relation to eating disorders and related diagnoses. Outside of lab, she enjoys spending time laughing and cooking with good friends, dancing kathak, going out for karaoke, stargazing, and learning new languages!

Emily Ferrer, BA (she/her)

Emily Ferrer, BA (she/her)

Clinical Research Assistant
 ferrere@chop.edu

Emily Ferrer joined the team in June 2023 as a Clinical Research Assistant. She graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Psychology and Justice Studies in May 2023 - Emily plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a focus on restrictive eating disorders, the effects of malnutrition on the body, risk factors associating with eating pathology, and the treatment for eating disorders in adolescence and young adults. She is also interested in the genetic and biological factors that can lead to eating pathology. In her free time she loves to go on hikes with her rescue dog, Rummy, baking, cooking, camping, and going out with friends.

Grace Haase, BA (she/her)

Grace Haase, BA (she/her)

Clinical Research Assistant
 haaseg@chop.edu

Grace Haase joined the Timko Research Group in 2019 as a summer intern and she has returned to work as a research assistant on the Shifting Perspectives R33 Phase Study. She recently graduated from Amherst with a BA in Psychology in 2021. As a former member of Amherst’s track and field team, she is interested in the relationship between eating disorders and athletics, particularly within the running community. She plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on disordered eating in adolescents. Outside of lab, she enjoys jogging and spending time with her friends and family.

Prabhnoor Kaur, BA (she/her)

Prabhnoor Kaur, BA (she/her)

 kaurp3@chop.edu

Prabhnoor Kaur graduated in 2022 from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in neuroscience and minored in psychology. She plans to apply to medical school and is interested in serving in the pediatric health setting. Some of her research interests include the neurobiology of eating behaviors and the interaction between different cognitive therapies. Outside of the lab setting, she enjoys dancing contemporary and bhangra, playing squash, and spending time with her friends and family. 


Shifting Perspectives Clinical Team

Dr. Natalia Orloff, PhD (she/her)

Dr. Natalia Orloff, PhD (she/her)

Clinical Supervisor/Training Director

Natalia has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults and has received specialized training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Based Therapy (FBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She has worked with individuals with eating disorders at various levels of care, including inpatient, residential, partial hospital, intensive outpatient, and outpatient. In addition to her work with eating disorders, Natalia has experience treating individuals with a variety of diagnoses, including major depressive disorder, anxiety, trauma, and OCD. Natalia’s past research interests include the role of craving in gestational weight gain as well as craving in behavioral addictions. She now focuses on treatment development in eating disorders.

Eleanor Benner, PsyD (she/her)

Eleanor Benner, PsyD (she/her)

Study Therapist

Dr. Eleanor (Ellie) Benner, Psy.D., is a Psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Eating Disorder Research Program. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and certified Family Based Treatment provider in private practice, and specializes in delivering evidence-based treatment for child and adolescent eating disorders utilizing a health at every size perspective. Dr. Benner received her master's and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Benner has experience treating eating disorders across the lifespan and diagnostic spectrum. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Benner has participated in several research trials as a study interventionist and research assistant. She is committed to research identifying neurobiological risk factors for child and adolescent eating disorders and developing novel interventions intended to improve existing treatment outcomes. Dr. Benner has presented at regional, national and international conferences, schools, and primary care offices on prevention, detection, and treatments of eating disorders and is inspired by teaching others to provide exceptional care for pediatric eating disorders. 

Shelby Ortiz, PhD (she/her)

Shelby Ortiz, PhD (she/her)

Study Therapist

Shelby Ortiz is a Clinical Psychologist completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (CEED) at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has gained extensive research and clinical experience with eating disorders by working at The Renfrew Center, Eating Recovery Center, the CHOP’s Eating Disorder Research Program, and CEED. Her research interests include identifying eating disorder risk factors using novel statistical techniques and examining the longitudinal comorbidity between suicidal thoughts and behaviors and body image disorders. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, exploring new cities, and drinking coffee with her cats.


Dr. Brooke Singer, PsyD (she/her)

Clinical Post-doctoral Fellow/Study Therapist

Dr. Brooke Singer is a clinical postdoctoral fellow for the Shifting Perspectives Study. She received her Psy.D. from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she obtained extensive training in evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and integrative approaches. She additionally has received training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing techniques. Brooke has extensive experience providing individual, group, and family-based therapeutic services to children, adolescents, and adults with diverse mental health and interpersonal challenges. She has worked in various clinical settings including foster care, community mental health, traditional outpatient, private practice, hospital, and family medicine sites. Regarding specialized treatment experience, Brooke has been trained in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Family Based Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, and Cognitive Remediation for Anorexia Nervosa. Through this training, Brooke has experience working with families to navigate various challenges in a collaborative, strength-based, and supportive manner.


Graduate Research Assistants

Heather Keyser, BA (she/her)

Heather Keyser, BA (she/her)

Heather is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at La Salle University. She completed her undergraduate degree in 2018 at Lafayette College. Her research and clinical interests are in eating disorder treatment and clinical health psychology. She has previous research experience working at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Studies of Addiction. In addition to working in the research lab, Heather will also be working as a clinical extern in the PHP/IOP and Outpatient clinic for adolescents with eating disorders. In her free time, Heather enjoys trying new restaurants in Philadelphia and spending time with her family and friends.

Qianyu Zhou, BS (she/her)

Qianyu Zhou, BS (she/her)

Qianyu (Olive) Zhou is a graduate student pursuing a degree in Counseling and Mental Health Services/Professional Counseling at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a BS in Applied Psychology from New York University. Currently, Olive is interning at a community mental health center and has also had clinical experience in music therapy and behavioral therapy. She aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with research interests in developing novel treatment modalities for eating disorders and exploring the cultural aspects of these disorders, especially within East Asian populations. In her leisure time, Olive enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to rock and jazz music.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Natalia (Tali) Fel

Natalia (Tali) Fel

Natalia (Tali) Fel is a sophomore studying Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Timko Research Group in the spring of 2023 as a Research Assistant and plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology following graduation. Outside of class, she enjoys reading, hiking, and baking.

Sara Karley

Sara Karley

Sara Karley is a junior studying Psychology with a specialization in Child Mental Health Interventions at Misericordia University. She joined Dr. Timko’s Lab in the Summer of 2022. Her research interests include the psychological effects of nutrition intake throughout adolescence and eating disorders resulting from athletic involvement. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, photography, and playing with her Yorkie puppies (Holly and Heidi).  

Eliza Keefe

Eliza Keefe

Eliza Keefe is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying economics with minors in Hispanic studies and fine arts. She joined the Timko lab in the fall of 2023, and she is particularly interested in executive functioning and sex differences in adolescent eating disorders. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and hanging with friends and family.

Hena Patel

Hena Patel

Hena Patel is a Biology major who is minoring in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Timko Research Group in the winter of 2023. After obtaining her bachelor's degree, Hena is pursuing medical school. Outside of class, Hena dedicates time to volunteering at hospitals, driven by a deep commitment of giving back. Hena enjoys traveling and trying out new restaurants with friends. 

Krina Patel

Krina Patel

Krina Patel is a second year Biological Sciences major at Drexel University. After her undergraduate years, she plans to attend medical school and is very passionate about nutrition and behavior. Outside of class, she loves to spend time with her family and friends and enjoys going to Mexican restaurants. She loves sharing her everyday life on social media and also enjoys creative content. 


Remote Research Assistants

Annabel Susanin, BA (she/her)

Annabel Susanin, BA (she/her)

At the Timko Research Group, Annabel Susanin works on data analysis examining the use Cognitive Remediation Therapy in youth with eating disorders as well as  examining diagnostic criteria and treatment outcomes, broadly speaking. Annabel is also a clinical research coordinator at Mount Sinai’s Eating and Weight Disorders program. At Mount Sinai, she coordinates the Living Laboratory project, which aims to collect a biobank of eating disorder information to identify potential psychological and physiological markers of eating disorders, best treatment options, and prognosis. Annabel has also worked on a study examining the effect of maternal postpartum depression on child development at Northwestern University’s Mothers & Babies lab. Her research interests include treatment outcomes for low-weight eating disorders and women’s health

 

Arjun Shreekumar (he/him)

Arjun Shreekumar (he/him)

Arjun is a junior at Columbia University majoring in history and minoring in psychology, with a concentration in neurobiology. He will join the Timko Lab in Summer 2023 and plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. He is  interested in the neural manifestations of sex differences in eating disorders and developing therapeutic interventions for people from minority backgrounds. In his free time, he enjoys exploring new cities, playing the cello, and walking his dog Winston.


Graduate Research Fellows

Alexis Libert, BS (she/her)

Alexis Libert, BS (she/her)

Alexis is a third-year student in the counseling psychology doctoral program at Felician University. She holds a BS in Psychology, with a concentration in Addictions. Her research interests focus on the development, dissemination, and delivery of more accessible and equitable eating disorder treatment. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, running, and reading. 

Cate Morales, BA

Cate Morales, BA

Cate Morales is a second-year doctoral student pursuing her Clinical Psychology PhD at Hofstra University under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Reilly. She received her BA in Psychology from Baruch College in 2017. Her research interests are focused on identifying shared cognitive mechanisms and features of anxiety and eating disorders. She is also interested in how parenting can be utilized as a tool to improve eating disorder treatment outcomes. In her free time, she enjoys photography and hiking.

Zhaoyi Pan (she/her/hers)

Zhaoyi Pan (she/her/hers)

 panz1@chop.edu

Zhaoyi is a first-year graduate student studying Policy and Data Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined our lab as a Graduate Research Fellow in the summer of 2023. Her research interests include the impact of social and behavioral factors on eating disorders, as well as Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. In her free time, Zhaoyi enjoys practicing mindfulness, yoga, hiking, mountain climbing, and cooking Chinese food.

Jiana Schnabel

Jiana Schnabel

Jiana Schnabel is a rising second-year doctoral student pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Temple University under the mentorship of Dr. Lauren Alloy. She graduated from Tufts University in 2020 with a BS in Psychology and Economics. Her research interests include the neurobiology of eating and mood disorders. She is interested in the role of neurocognition and reward system processing in the onset and maintenance of eating and mood disorders. In her free time, Jiana enjoys running, spending time outdoors, and checking out all of Philly's awesome coffee shops and restaurants!


2024 Summer Interns

Kristen Cunningham

Kristen Cunningham

CRISSP Scholar

Kristen Cunningham is a rising junior at Temple University pursuing a BS in Neuroscience. Her research interests include understanding the risk factor and impact of eating disorders for athletes. Outside of the classroom, she is a member and treasurer of the Temple Women's Club Volleyball team. In her free time she enjoys exploring new restaurants in Philly and spending time with family and friends.

Corina Zhao

Corina Zhao

Summer Graduate Research Fellow

Corina Zhao is a first-year graduate student at Columbia University's Teachers College, studying Clinical Psychology. Alongside her academic pursuits, she is a Chinese physician specializing in endocrinology. In the summer of 2024, she joined our lab as a Graduate Research Fellow. Corina's research interests span the relationship between nutrition and mental disorders, comorbidities of eating disorders, and novel interventions. Outside of her studies, she enjoys practicing yoga, forest bathing, immersing in art at museums, and exploring new recipes.


2024 Summer High School Intern

Lauren Greenberg

Lauren Greenberg

Lauren Greenberg is a rising freshman at Lehigh University with an interest to pursue a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. Her interests include studying the effectiveness of treatment for body dysmorphic disorder, as well as understanding risk factors for anorexia nervosa and patients with comorbidities such as OCD and Major Depressive Disorder. Outside of class, Lauren’s passion is to spread awareness and reduce the stigma of eating disorders within the community. Lauren enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, hiking, and exploring the Philadelphia food scene. 

Sydney Sharkey

Sydney Sharkey

Sydney Sharkey is a rising senior at Marymount School in New York. She is interested in understanding more about eating disorders scientifically and how early detection can result in better outcomes after working on equitable access to eating disorder treatment with Project HEAL. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting and playing with her dogs.