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Primary Investigator
Stacie Warren, PhD

As a clinical scientist, a goal of my research is to integrate basic science research with clinical intervention. In particular, I anticipate developing cognitive treatment methods (e.g., executive function training protocols) using the knowledge gained from understanding the etiological mechanisms of cognitive and affective symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. These studies employ a variety of methods, including neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI), genetics, behavioral measures (e.g., neuropsychological testing, experimental laboratory testing), clinical interviews, self-report, and informant-report instruments.

Current Graduate Students
Capt. Joseph Nijmeh, MS

I am a bay area native, I was born and raised in San Jose, CA. I went to undergrad at the University of California Davis, where I received a BA in Psychology and a BA in English. My previous research has been at the Menlo Park VA, where I was a volunteer research assistant for two different research projects. My primary research interest is understanding the relationship between Emotion Regulation, Executive Function, and their functional connectivity in populations with psychopathology.  My career goal is to be a clinical neuropsychologist who is practicing clinical work and contributing to the current research in psychology treatments.  I love to travel, learn about different cultures, and eat new foods.

Layven Reguero, M.Ed.

I am native to Silicone Valley, yet have travelled extensively.  I earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from Northern Michigan University with concentration in photography and an internship at Polo Ralph Lauren in New York City.  In 2013 I graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a CACREP accredited Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, also completing all Rehabilitation Counselor coursework.  As a PhD student at Palo Alto University my primary research interest is emotion from a neuropsychological perspective.  My career goal is to uncover evidence for the improvement of clinical interventions related to mood disorders.  I hope to work with these issues in rural settings.  Personally, I love to travel abroad and learn about other cultures.  Domestic travel is fantastic too – I have walked across the United States from Key West to Canada.


I am from all over the U.S. including California, Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, and Ohio! I received a BS in Psychology and a BS in Gender & Women’s Studies from Minnesota State University Mankato (MSU). While at MSU, I worked as the manager of Dr. Dawn Albertson’s biopsychology research lab. My individual research dealt with sex differences in the brain and the factors which promote neurosexism. Currently, my research interest lies in cognitive deficits resulting from traumatic brain injury, stroke, and dementias. The cognitive deficits I find most compelling are language, motor/perception, and memory. Additionally, I am interested in how these individuals perform on neuropsychological assessment and how their brains appear on neuroimage. In the future, I hope to work as a clinical neuropsychologist. In my free time I like to paint, read, and make music with my friends and family.

Hannah Saltzman

I was born and raised in France. I moved to the United States to attend Smith College to pursue a BA in psychology and English literature. At Smith, I worked as a research assistant at Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont and in Dr. Nnamdi Pole’s lab. After graduating, I worked in the research department at PatientsLikeMe in Cambridge, Massachusetts before moving to the Bay Area to attend Palo Alto University. My primary research interest as a PhD student is intolerance of uncertainty and its impact on cognition, emotion, and psychopathology. After graduation, I hope to open my own community clinic and continue to contribute to the research of intolerance of uncertainty. In my free time, I am either on the beach or camping with my dog, eating my way through San Francisco, or watching movies.

Naeri Hakopian, M.A.

I grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended California State University, Northridge for my BA in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology. I received my MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University. During my Master’s, I was a research intern for Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, an after-school program for youth in the Los Angeles area. During this time, I was also the program coordinator for the Peacock Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides animal assisted group therapy to at-risk youth. My career goals are to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist and own a private practice. I would also love to teach part-time at a local university and work with forensic populations. My research interests include emotion, stress response, and executive functioning. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, watching movies, and painting.


I grew up in rural Minnesota and received a BS in neuroscience and BS in psychology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. During undergrad, I worked as a research assistant in an fMRI lab investigating neurological correlates of emotional regulation, where I gained experience in neuroimaging and administering intelligence assessments. My current research interests include the relationships between emotional regulation, executive functioning, and psychopathology in diverse populations. In the future, I hope to be equally involved in clinical, research, and assessment work. I also hope to create an empirically-informed summer camp for LGBTQ youth at risk for psychopathology. In my free time, I enjoy long-distance running, spending time outdoors, and supporting the performing arts.


I grew up in Redwood City, California and received a BA in philosophy and psychology from George Washington University. I've had experience with research in using neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiological bases of autism spectrum disorder, using task-based fMRI to examine the relationship between executive function and grammar usage, studying the nature of cognitive deficits in children with leukemia, the impact of traumatic brain injuries on veterans, and the use of virtual reality-assisted meditation to alleviate chronic pain and stress. I am currently interested in improving ecological validity of neuropsychological assessment procedures and implementing quantitative methods in psychology, including measurement invariance, symptom network modeling, machine learning prediction, and computational modeling.

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I was born and raised in Stockton, CA and attended University of California Davis, where I received a BS in biopsychology. My interest in ‘all things behavior’ piqued during my undergraduate career when I noticed that holistic medical care lacks preventative behavioral health practices and education on the basic level. Since graduation, I exposed myself to varying levels of healthcare while obtaining a masters degree at PAU. My research interests lie in exploring fMRI data to examine emotion regulation in response to stress amongst common psychopathology populations. I would like to develop a strong understanding of neuropsychological behavioral manifestations in brain trauma populations as well. My future goals are to become a holistic culturally sensitive clinical neuropsychologist in practice and as a research professor at a university teaching biopsychology. In my spare time I like snowboarding, hiking, DIY projects and reading novels. 

Madison Wright

I am Nicaraguan American and I was born and raised in Stockton, California. Then, I moved to Santa Cruz and received a BA in Psychology with a minor in Language Studies from UCSC. I worked as a research assistant in the UCSC Memory Lab investigating associative learning and gesture’s influence on memory, and most importantly, I learned to love cognitive psychology! I also worked as a peer educator at UCSC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and as a student teacher at an alternative education high school. My current research interests are the influence of emotion in mind wandering, and synthesizing research on negative thought patterns in various mental disorders to help treat comorbid disorders. My career goals are to go into teaching as well as working as a clinical neuropsychologist. In my free time I enjoy yoga, traveling, spending time with my cat, and watching shows and movies about the supernatural. 

Vanesa Bedregal Barboza
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I grew up in Peru and came to the States when I was five. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a nursing assistant with hospice patients, a behavioral technician for children diagnosed with Autism (ASD), and as a clinical coordinator for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). My background is an A.A. in Child Development, a B.S. in Biology ( Cell & Molecular), and an M.S. in Psychology. I have a fondness for understanding how trauma may impact activity and brain structures in the brain. Moving forward on my path to becoming a licensed clinical neuropsychologist, I want my work and research to enable me to be a clinician who can be kind, understanding, and helpful. In my free time, I like to swim,  play volleyball, learn piano, explore the bay area, and connect with people.   

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I'm originally from a small town in Connecticut, but have spent the last several years in New York City. I attended NYU for my undergraduate degree in sociology with minors in Chinese and child and adolescent mental health. I received my masters in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, and have since been interested in the intersection of crime and psychology. I hope to conduct research on the neurobiological correlates of psychopathy and violence, with the intention of both understanding how it occurs and the ways in which we can intervene neuropsychologically to prevent future violence. Specifically, I'm interested in further understanding constructs such as empathy, alexithymia, and impulsivity and their relationship to different forms of violence. In my free time, I love to paint and cook - my favorite dish to make is lasagna! 

Lab Members Who Have Left the ECN NEST

Tobin Ehrlich, MS

I graduated from University of California, Irvine, where I received my BA in psychology and focused on cognitive science research. Currently, my interests are in the field of clinical neuropsychology and fMRI data analyses. My dissertation will evaluate functional connectivity of networks of the brain as they relate to worry. I received the PGSP/PAU Dissertation Research Grant Award to help fund an intensive course in functional connectivity analyses. During my free time I enjoy hiking with my dog, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

Trisha Karsten, MS

I grew up in southern Minnesota. I attended undergraduate school studying Psychology at Minot State University in North Dakota, and transferred to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with minor concentration in Statistics at Minnesota State University in Mankato. I also have an AAS degree for legal administrative assistant, and assisted with civil and litigation cases for several years. I have worked as an assistant at an adoption agency, arranging adoptions of children with special needs. Immediately prior to entering graduate school, I worked in community mental health, where I held two positions. My first position was as a mental health behavioral aide (for children) and mental health rehabilitation worker (for adults). My second position was similar, but my placement was in a federal level 4 school setting providing supportive services to students age 12-21 with emotional and behavioral struggles. I have a wide research focus, but I have a special interest in  integrating social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience. For a career, I would like to be a professor and researcher. Outside of research and clinical work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, fishing, hiking, and attending concerts and sports events.

Carolyn Resner, MS

I was raised in Chicago, IL and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area here for graduate school at Palo Alto University.  For my undergraduate education, I attended Michigan State University, Purdue University and finished at DePaul University with my BS in Psychology – Cognitive Neuroscience and a minor in Biology. While in Chicago, I researched under the supervision of Cynthia Thompson, PhD at Northwestern University studying the neural circuitry of language processing tasks. My research interests include cognitive and structural function underlying psychiatric and neurological disorders as well as understanding factors affecting synaptic alterations and structural circuitries relating to affect, behavior, and memory. For a career, I would like to work with geriatric populations, clinically or conducting research, as well as a graduate-level professor.

Jerry Chen, MS

I immigrated to the United States from China when I was 10 years old, and have been a Bay Area local since. I began my academic career at the University of California Santa Cruz as a music major, however ultimately obtained a bachelor’s in psychology after discovering my curiosity for all things brain related. There, I was involved in a cognitive psychology lab, where our research focused on the susceptibility of attention to external distractors. My current research interest focuses on the relationship of mental imagery and visual working memory and their effect on psychopathology. After graduating, I would like to pursue a career in which I can be involved in clinical, research, and supervision roles, as a way of keeping things interesting! I enjoy discovering new music, nerding out with video games, and immersing myself in nature.

Whitney Geller, MS

I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Utah. After completion of my bachelor's degree, I moved to the Bay Area to attend Palo Alto University's PhD program. My research interests revolve around the intersection between neuroscience and psychopathology. Specifically, I am interested in how connectivity within and between large scale resting-state brain networks may differ for individuals with mood disturbances. My clinical interests in psychology lie strongly in pediatric neuropsychology. In my free time I enjoy walking my dogs (Australian shepherds), going to concerts, reading novels, traveling, and playing video games.  

Justin Davich, MS

I grew up in the northern part of Washington. Later, I found myself in Moscow, Idaho for my undergraduate education at the University of Idaho. Therein, I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in Family, Health, and Business. While there, I participated in two different research capacities. The first was in a research lab under the supervision of Rajal Cohen, PhD. The research topics included postural alignment, metabolic cost, and cognition. The second was in the Counseling and Testing Center (CTC) at the University of Idaho. At the CTC, I had two mentors: Sharon Fritz, PhD, and Chuck Morrison, PhD. I participated in the education of the student body on diverse psychological topics, collected data as a means to understand the general student population, and learned about different biofeedback tools. After graduating from the University of Idaho, my wife and I moved to the Bay Area for me to attend the Ph.D. program at Palo Alto University. My present research interests consist of trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, alcohol abuse, and cognitive function. More specifically, I am interested in military trauma as well as how childhood trauma (e.g., emotional abuse and neglect) affects the individual as an adult (e.g., cognitive function, personality, ability to regulate emotion, and psychopathology). My future career goal is to work as a military psychologist in order to help active service members and veterans overcome the distress that accompanies traumatic experiences. I can also see myself working in a teaching capacity as a professor later in my career. Self-care is an important component in our graduate studies. One activity that serves in this capacity for me is art and music. I also enjoy playing the piano, guitar, and singing.

Laura Gramling, MS

I grew up in LA County in a small suburb called Valencia. I earned my Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University which is where I developed a passion for neuroscience and neuroimaging, which led me to pursue a graduate degree. As an undergrad I did neuroimaging work looking at taste perception and aging. I wrote my Honors Thesis looking at individuals perception of the taste of pure caffeine and whether it differed among individuals who regularly consume caffeinated beverages, and those who don’t.  As a PhD student at PAU, my primary research interests are understanding executive functioning correlates in mood disorders, primarily anxiety disorders. My goal coming out of graduate school would be to have a career that is a balance between being a researcher and clinician.  In my free time I am an avid cook.  One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had was getting to work for a day under an Italian Chef in his restaurant in Rome.

Jackie Kantor, BA

"I grew up in St. Louis, but my heart is in Colorado. I attended the University of Denver for my undergraduate degree in psychology. In college, I became interested in the mechanisms of mood and anxiety disorders and was a research assistant in a lab investigating anxiety and depression in children and adolescence. This experience led me to graduate school, where I currently examine how temperament influences emotion and cognition in adults with depression. My career goals include providing therapy and conducting assessments with adolescents and adults. When I am not working, you will find me in nature or at concerts." 

Emotion, Cognition, & neuropsychology laboratory

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