SPEAKERS AND PRESENTERS
Phillip Alvelda, PhD
Dr. Alvelda is a technology and industry innovator as well as an educator. Dr. Alvelda was a Program Manager at DARPA's Biological Technologies Office where he developed national scale R&D programs and technologies at the intersection of engineering and biology. He is also the founding Chairman of WiseTeachers, a non-profit helping K-12 schools extend STEM education with an emphasis on creativity and innovation.
Prior to WISE, Dr. Alvelda was the founding CEO of MobiTV, which launched the world's first live television experience over mobile networks. Dr. Alvelda was awarded an Emmy and was selected by Fast Company as the US's 15th most influential high-tech entrepreneur. He is a regular invited speaker at media, telecom, and education industry events including the World Economic Forum where he was chosen as a "Technology Pioneer" in 2007.
Dr. Alvelda founded The MicroDisplay Corporation, a manufacturer of miniature displays for low cost HDTVs and VR headsets. Dr. Alvelda was also a developer of spacecraft hardware and new computing architectures at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he designed and built sensors that flew on the Space Shuttle as well as the Galileo and Magellan interplanetary spacecraft. Dr. Alvelda holds over 30 patents on a wide range of technologies, a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Cornell University, and Masters and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.
Ed Boyden, PhD
Ed Boyden is Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, associate professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT's Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and was recently selected to be an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2018). He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems. These technologies include expansion microscopy, which enables complex biological systems to be imaged with nanoscale precision; optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural activity with light; robotic methods for single-cell analysis and directed evolution that are yielding new synthetic biology reagents for dynamic imaging of physiological signals; and, novel methods of focal noninvasive human brain stimulation. He co-directs the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, which aims to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.
Amongst other recognitions, he has received the Canada Gairdner International Award (2018), the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2015), the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences (2015), the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (2013), the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013), the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award (three times, 2012, 2013, and 2017), and the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2011). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013) and the Technology Review World’s "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006), and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017), the National Academy of Inventors (2017), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018).
Rebecca Brachman, PhD
Dr. Rebecca Brachman is a Columbia University-based neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and pioneer in the field of preventative psychopharmacology. She is the co-founder of Aision Biotechnologies, a biotech startup developing the first drugs to prevent psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, as well as increase resilience to stress—research recently described on NPR as a “moonshot project… very much needed in the mental health arena.” She is also the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Sunrise, a mission-driving initiative to cure, treat, and prevent depression.
Dr. Brachman is a TED Fellow, NYCEDC Entrepreneurship Lab Fellow, and Helena Brain Trust Member. In partnership with Helena, she is developing novel social outcomes-based financial tools to incentivize generic drug repurposing and high-risk scientific research. She is also a playwright and screenwriter and previously served as the director of NeuWrite, a national network of science-writing groups that fosters ongoing collaboration between scientists, artists, and writers.
Laura Carstensen, MA, PhD
Laura L. Carstensen is Professor of Psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy at Stanford University where she serves as founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Her research has been supported continuously by the National Institute on Aging for more than 25 years and she is currently supported through a prestigious MERIT Award. In 2011, she authored the book, A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity. Dr. Carstensen has served on the National Advisory Council on Aging and the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society. In 2016 she was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine. She has won numerous awards, including the Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Master Mentor Award from the American Psychological Association. She received a BS from the University of Rochester and PhD in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.
EJ Chichilnisky, PhD
Professor E. J. Chichilnisky serves as a Member of Scientific & Medical Committee at Pixium Vision SA. Professor Chichilnisky is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Ophthalmology, in the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research is focused on how the retina rpocesses visual information and transmits this information to the brain, and on the development of artificial retinas for treating incurable blindness.
Luis de Lecea, PhD
Dr. de Lecea received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Barcelona and conducted postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute in the lab of Dr. Greg Sutcliffe. During his postdoc, Dr. de Lecea discovered the cortical neuromodulator cortistatin and the hypothalamic hypocretin system. During the past decade he has held faculty positions at the Scripps Research Institute and Stanford University, where he has characterized the role of hypocretins in various mammalian behaviors. Recently, his lab has applied optogenetic techniques to directly modulate neurons that produce hypocretins and other neuromodulators to elucidate their role in behaviors, especially sleep/wake maintenance, stress, and reward.
Rich Diviney, BA
As a retired Navy SEAL Officer, Rich comes from a community living at the highest edges of human performance and potential. He draws upon 21+ years of experience where he completed more than 13 overseas deployments – 11 of which were in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout his career, he served with several SEAL Teams and achieved multiple leadership positions – to include the Commanding Officer of a SEAL Squadron. While serving as the Officer in Charge of Training for an elite Naval Special Warfare Group, Rich spearheaded the creation of a Directorate that fused physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines with the goal of enhancing and advancing operator performance – as well as to build massive mental and physical resiliency. He led his small team to create the first ever “Mind Gym” in Naval Special Warfare that focused on helping SEALs train their brains to perform faster, longer, and better in all environments – especially high-stress ones. This training also was designed to promote rapid mental resilience in very high stress and very dynamic environments. This groundbreaking facility has since been and expanded upon throughout all of Naval Special Warfare and, in some cases, other Special Operations and military units.
Rich continues to explore the neuroscience behind the full potential of the mind and believes that based on the track of human evolution, the next leap in human capability and performance will be a mental one. Rich also serves as a keynote speaker and facilitator for Start With WHY Inc. & The Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute - focusing on topics such as Building & Leading High Performace Teams, Trust & Performance, Power of Purpose, and Truly Human Leadership principles.
Originally from Connecticut, Rich has graduate degrees in International Relations and History. He lives with his wife and two young boys in Virginia Beach, VA.
Laramie Duncan, PhD
Dr. Duncan is Director of the Integrative Mental Health Lab, IMHL, and received a joint PhD in Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado. She continued clinical training at Harvard Medical school and postdoctoral work in Statistical Genetics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, leading genetic analyses for international groups. With a unique combination of computational skills and training in the foundations of clinical interventions and neuroscience, Dr. Duncan's long term goal is linking genetic findings with neurobiological processes, and ultimately, using biological discoveries to target specific interventions to individuals.
David Eagleman, PhD
David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford, where he teaches in cognitive neuroscience and brain-machine interfaces; he is also co-founder and CEO of NeoSensory, a company that makes wearable devices for sensory substitution and addition. He also directs the Center for Science and Law, a national non-profit organization that brings the advances in neuroscience to the legal system. Eagleman is the writer and presenter of the Emmy-nominated PBS television series, The Brain with David Eagleman, and the author of the companion book, The Brain: The Story of You. Beyond his 120+ academic publications, he has published many bestselling books: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, SUM, Why the Net Matters, Wednesday is Indigo Blue, and The Runaway Species.
Eagleman is a TED speaker, a Guggenheim Fellow, a winner of the McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication, a research fellow in the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Mind Science Foundation, and a board member of The Long Now Foundation. He was named Science Educator of the Year by the Society for Neuroscience, and was named one of the 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs. He serves as a scientific advisor for the television show Westworld, and has been profiled on the Colbert Report, NOVA Science Now, the New Yorker, CNN's Next List, and many other venues. He appears regularly on radio and television to discuss literature and science.
Juan Enriquez, MBA, BA
Mr. Juan Enriquez is Managing Director at Excel Venture Management. He is a business leader, author, and academic recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences.
He is an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors. Juan has published extensively on future trends, won a McKinsey Prize, and is author and co-author of various bestsellers including As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth (Random House, 2001), an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society, and his latest book Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity- One Gene at a Time (Penguin, 2015). He was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project and then founded Biotechonomy.
Juan serves on a number of for profit and non-profit boards including The Harvard Medical School Genetics Advisory Council, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the President’s Council National Academy of Sciences, The Boston Science Museum, WGBH, and Questbridge. He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with Honors.
Amit Etkin, MD, PhD
Amit Etkin, MD, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a member of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, and an Investigator at the Palo Alto VA. He has received multiple awards, most notably the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2017, for groundbreaking work in clinical psychiatry and neuroscience. Dr. Etkin is trained as both as a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, having received his MD/PhD under the mentorship of a Nobel Laureate. The overarching aim of the Etkin lab is to understand the neural basis of emotional disorders and their treatment, and to leverage this knowledge to better understand how the brain works and to develop novel treatment interventions. In support of this goal, Dr. Etkin also collaborates with neuroscientists, engineers, psychologists, physicians and others to establish a new intellectual, scientific and clinical paradigm for understanding and manipulating human brain circuits in healthy individuals and for treating psychiatric diseases including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Building on his Pioneer Award-recognized research, he is presently developing a true “Brain Vitals” approach for assessing the brains of patients over time, engineering new and more powerful methods for non-invasive brain stimulation, and establishing predictive neuro-signals for understanding who responds to what treatment in psychiatry. Dr. Etkin collaborates with investigators across multiple continents on these efforts and is committed to scaling his neuroscience insights from the lab into clinics worldwide. He also engages heavily within an academic-industry ecosystem aimed at transforming the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jack Gallant, PhD
Dr. Jack Gallant, is the Head of the Gallant Laboratory in Cognitive, Computational, and Systems Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. Dr. Gallant received his PhD from Yale University and did post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology and Washington University Medical School. His research program focuses on computational modeling of the human brain. These models accurately describe how the brain encodes information during complex naturalistic tasks, and they show how information about the external and internal worlds are mapped systematically across the surface of the cerebral cortex.
These models can also be used to decode information in the brain in order to reconstruct mental experiences. A brain-decoding algorithm developed in the Gallant lab was one of Times Magazine's Inventions of the Year in 2011, and Prof. Gallant appears frequently on radio and television.
Ian Gotlib, PhD
Dr. Ian H. Gotlib received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo in Canada and is the David Starr Jordan Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Stanford University and the Director of the Stanford Neurodevelopment, Affect, and Psychopathology Laboratory (SNAPLab).
Dr. Gotlib is very active in clinical translational research. In his research, Dr. Gotlib examines psychological and biological factors that increase individuals’ risk for depression, as well as processes that are involved in recovery from this disorder. He is conducting research assessing cognitive, social, and endocrinological factors and genetics in depressed individuals, patterns of brain function and structure that characterize depressed and anxious adults and children, and predictors of depression in children at familial risk for developing this disorder. Dr. Gotlib is also examining the impact of innovative cognitive and neural procedures both to treat depression and to reduce young children’s risk of developing depression. In another project, Dr. Gotlib is examining the effects of early life stress on brain development, depression, and suicidal behaviors as boys and girls enter and make the transition through puberty. Finally, Dr. Gotlib is studying the effects of maternal behaviors and environmental risk factors on behavioral, endocrinological, and neural characteristics and functioning of infants.
Dr. Gotlib has received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders, the Joseph Zubin Award for lifetime research contributions to the understanding of psychopathology, the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, the APS Distinguished Scientist Award, and a MERIT award from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Antonio Hardan, MD
Dr. Hardan is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University. He is the Carl Feinstein Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division at Stanford University. He is also the Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Clinic at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Dr. Hardan is a Board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist as well as a general psychiatrist with more than 20 years' experience assessing and treating children and adults with developmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), velocardiofacial syndrome, and Down Syndrome. Over the years, he has won several teaching awards including the John Romano Award at the University of Rochester and the "Outstanding Teacher" at Stanford University.
Dr. Hardan's research expertise is in the neurobiology of ASD and in the development of innovative treatment for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. He served as a principal investigator on multiple projects examining the neurobiology of ASD and assessing the effectiveness of a wide range of interventions. He is the recipient of several grants examining the efficacy of Pivotal Response Treatment and vasopressin in the treatment of children with ASD. He has completed several investigations that aim at increasing our understanding of the pathophysiology of individuals with developmental disorders while applying multimodal imaging techniques. He also has led several clinical trials examining the effectiveness of novel interventions such as N-Acetylcysteine in children with ASD and everolimus for individuals with PTEN mutations. Finally, Dr. Hardan has published more than 100 journal articles and has co-authored several book chapters in the field of developmental disorders and ASD.
Keren Haroush, PhD
Dr. Haroush's laboratory studies the mechanisms by which highly complex behaviors are mediated at the neuronal level, mainly focusing on the example of dynamic social interactions and the neural circuits that drive them. From dyadic interactions to group dynamics and collective decision making, the lab seeks a mechanistic understanding for the fundamental building blocks of societies, such as cooperation, empathy, fairness and reciprocity.
The computations underlying social interactions are highly distributed across many brain areas. Dr. Haroush's lab is interested in which specific areas are involved in a particular function, why such an architecture arises and how activity in multiple networks is coordinated. Their goal is to develop a roadmap of the social brain and use it for guiding restorative treatments for conditions in which social behavior is impaired, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia.
Reid Hoffman, MPhil
An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses.
In 2003 Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service. LinkedIn is thriving with more than 500 million members around the world. In 2009 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners. He focuses on building products that can reach hundreds of millions of participants and businesses that have network effects.
He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Apollo Fusion, Aurora, Convoy, Blockstream and a few early stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Mozilla Corporation, Endeavor, and CZI Biohub. Prior to joining Greylock, he angel invested in many influential internet companies, including Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, and Zynga. Hoffman is the host of Masters of Scale, an original podcast series and the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for featured guests. He is also the co-author of two New York Times best-selling books: The Start-Up of You and The Alliance. His next book is focused on “blitzscaling”, based on his Stanford course of the same name.
Hoffman earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in symbolic systems from Stanford University.
Hadi Hosseini, PhD
Dr. Hadi Hosseini is a computational neuroscientist investigating alterations in structural and functional brain networks in various neuropsychiatric disorders using multimodal neuroimaging, network analysis and machine learning. The ultimate goal of his research is to translate the findings from his computational neuropsychiatry research toward developing personalized, brain-focused interventions. He has been developing personalized neuro-cognitive interventions for enhancing executive functions in children with ADHD and older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). These interventions integrate cost-effective, real-time functional brain imaging, neurofeedback, Virtual Reality and computerized cognitive training.
Keith Humphreys, PhD
Keith Humphreys is a Professor and the Section Director for Mental Health Policy in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Health Services Research Center in Palo Alto and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London. His research addresses the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders, the formation of public policy and the extent to which subjects in medical research differ from patients seen in everyday clinical practice.
For his work in the multinational humanitarian effort to rebuild the psychiatric care system of Iraq and in the national redesign of the VA health system's mental health services for Iraq war veterans, he won the 2009 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Public Interest. He and the authors of "Drug Policy and the Public Good" won the 2010 British Medical Association's Award for Public Health Book of the Year. Dr. Humphreys has been extensively involved in the formation of public policy, having served as a member of the White House Commission on Drug Free Communities, the VA National Mental Health Task Force, and the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During the Obama Administration, he spent a sabbatical year as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has also testified on numerous occasions in Parliament and advises multiple government agencies in the U.K.
Tom Insel, MD
Thomas R. Insel, MD, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, is a co-founder and President of Mindstrong Health. From 2002-2015, Dr. Insel served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders. Prior to serving as NIMH Director, Dr. Insel was Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University where he was founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience in Atlanta. Most recently (2015 – 2017), he led the Mental Health Team at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) in South San Francisco, CA. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous national and international awards including honorary degrees in the U.S. and Europe.
Mary Lou Jepsen, PhD
Before founding Openwater, Dr. Jepsen was an engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Google and Intel. She has founded four startups, including One Laptop per Child where she was CTO, chief architect and delivered to mass production the $100 laptop. She has been a professor at both MITs: MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. She is an inventor of over 200 published or issued patents, and has shipped billions of dollars worth of consumer electronics at the edge of what physics allows. She has been recognized with many awards including TIME magazine’s “Time 100” as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and as a CNN top 10 thinker.
Tom Kalil, JD
Tom served in the White House for two Presidents (Obama and Clinton), helping to design and launch national science and technology initiatives in areas such as nanotechnology, the BRAIN initiative, data science, materials by design, robotics, commercial space, high-speed networks, access to capital for startups, high-skill immigration, STEM education, learning technology, startup ecosystems, and the federal use of incentive prizes.
From 2001 to 2008, Kalil was Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology at UC Berkeley. He launched a program called Big Ideas@Berkeley, which provide grants to student-led teams committed to solving important problems at home and abroad. In 2007 and 2008, Kalil was the Chair of the Global Health Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative, where he developed new public and private sector initiatives in areas such as maternal and child health, under-nutrition, and vaccines. Prior to joining the Clinton White House, Tom was a trade specialist at the Washington offices of Dewey Ballantine, where he represented the Semiconductor Industry Association on U.S.-Japan trade issues and technology policy. He also served as the principal staffer to Gordon Moore in his capacity as Chair of the SIA Technology Committee.
Tom received a B.A. in political science and international economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and completed graduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Anna Lembke, MD
Dr. Lembke was one of the first in the medical community to sound the alarm regarding opioid overprescribing and the opioid epidemic. In 2016, she published her best-selling book on the prescription drug epidemic, Drug Dealer, MD – How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop, that combines case studies with public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, to explore the complex relationship between doctors and patients around prescribing controlled drugs, the science of addiction, and the barriers to successfully addressing prescription drug misuse and addiction.
The success of Drug Dealer, MD has had an impact on public policy makers and legislators across the nation in the wake of the ongoing opioid epidemic. Dr. Lembke testified before Congress, consulted with governors and senators from Kentucky to Missouri to Nevada, was a featured guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and appeared on MSNBC with Chris Hayes, the Today Show with Dr. Oz, the Megyn Kelly Show on CBS, and numerous other media broadcasts.
Using her teaching/academic position and her public platform, Dr. Lembke continues to advocate for people with addiction, and educate health care professionals, policymakers, and the public on a wide variety of addiction-related topics.
Rob Malenka, MD, PhD
Rob Malenka, M.D., Ph.D., is a Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor in Psychiatry Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where he is the Director of the Pritzker Laboratory, Associate Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Deputy Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. Rob also serves on the Scientific Council, NARSAD of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. His research focuses on identifying specific molecular events that are responsible for the triggering of these various forms of synaptic plasticity and the neural circuit modifications underlying adaptive and pathological motivated behaviors.
He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard College in 1978, then his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1983. He has published many peer-reviewed articles on synaptic plasticity, addiction, and psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine and has received many profound awards, including the Julius Axelrod Prize from the Society for Neuroscience (2016), the International Prize in Neuroscience, Dargut and Milena Kemali Foundation (2000), and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Stanford Medical School (1998).
Michael McCullough, MD
Michael McCullough, M.D., M.Sc. is the Founder of BrainMind. He is an EIR at Greylock Partners, impact investor and Partner at Capricorn Healthcare, social entrepreneur, and emergency room professor at UCSF. Michael’s personal interest in the brain extends from a childhood brain hemorrhage which resulted in hydrocephalus and a severe stutter, partially corrected by brain surgery at age 10 and requiring Michael to retrain himself to speak through high school and early college at Stanford. Accomplishing fluent speech also required extensive biofeedback and meditation practice. After returning from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Michael co-founded QuestBridge during free hours in medical school at UCSF and his surgical residency at Stanford. QuestBridge, a national non-profit, now places more talented low-income students into top colleges like Stanford, Yale, Caltech, and MIT than all other non-profits combined. Michael has since founded or co-founded 12 successful companies and non-profits.
Michael is a founder of RegenMed Systems, a co-founding investor of HeartFlow, and on the founding board of 2U -- all top performing impact investments. Michael also served/serves on the boards of the Metabiota, the Global Leadership Incubator, QuestBridge, and the Dalai Lama Foundation among others, and serves as an on-call ER physician for the Dalai Lama during his visits to the West Coast.
Vinod Menon, PhD
Prof. Menon is the Rachel L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and, Professor, by courtesy, of Neurology at Stanford University. He serves as director of Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, which is dedicated to the investigation of human brain function and dysfunction using a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes a tight integration of cognitive, behavioral, neuroscience and computational methodologies. Students, staff and scientists in his lab come from multiple disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, biostatistics, biomedical engineering, psychiatry, and neurology to conduct research in a highly interdisciplinary setting. Over the past two decades, Dr. Menon’s research has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the architecture, function, and development of these large-scale distributed human brain networks. Leveraging expertise in neuroscience, statistics, engineering, computer science, psychology, psychiatry, and neurology, Dr. Menon and his team were among the first to discover that the human brain is organized into specialized and interacting networks of brain regions, which has resulted in a paradigm shift in how we investigate human brain function and cognition.
Dr. Menon’s lab is now recognized as one of the world’s leading groups in human cognitive and clinical systems neuroscience. His research has been widely reported in the mainstream press, and he has been named an ISI Highly Cited Researcher in Neuroscience (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017; ISI, Thompson Reuters).
Philippe Mourrain, PhD
Philippe Mourrain is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University. He leads a team of scientists and engineers focused on synaptic changes occurring during pathological (fragile X syndrome and autism) and normal (sleep) behaviors using mouse and zebrafish models. His laboratory’s main goals are to understand the role of sleep at the synapse and how synaptic deficits are responsible for behavioral and cognitive impairment in neurodevelopmental diseases such as autism. Over the past years Mourrain’s team has developed new approaches and imaging tools to uncover synaptic abnormalities in the zebrafish and mouse brains, and successfully applied them to a mouse model of fragile X syndrom (FXS). These subsynaptic and synapse population level methodologies are now mature enough to be applied to more heterogeneous models of autism and should allow Mourrain and his colleagues to uncover some of the convergent molecular synpatic deficits shared by ASDs.
Ruth O'Hara, PhD
Dr. Ruth O’Hara is an Associate Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Translational Research Core of the Veterans Affairs Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC). The core of her research is to investigate how cognitive information processing deficits relate to psychiatric disorders, and interact with key brain networks integral to these disorders. These cognitive information processing dysfunctions manifest in regulatory problems impacting a patient’s ability to engage effectively in treatment, persist in the face of symptomatically effective treatment, and are poorly targeted by current treatments. Her body of research has played a key role in shifting the paradigm to defining, assessing and targeting psychiatric disorders more fully based on their cognitive information processing deficits, and underlying neurocircuitry. To do so, she has implemented a translational, interdisciplinary program that encompasses cellular models, brain (sleep, neuroimaging) and behavioral models of affective and cognitive information processing systems in psychiatric disorders.
With respect to career development education and mentorship, Dr. O'Hara serves as national Director of the 26-site, Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Health Research and Treatment which has graduated over 250 MD and PhD Fellows into independent academic clinical research career positions. She also serves as core faculty on the NIMH-funded Career Development Institute in Psychiatry and the Summer Research Institute in Geriatric Psychiatry, and most recently served as faculty at the American Association of Sleep Medicine Young Investigators meeting all of which aim to develop an independent research clinical program and long-term independent academic career.
Pablo Paredes, PhD, MBA
Pablo Paredes earned his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 with an emphasis on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and minors in Social Psychology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is part of the faculty, as an Instructor, in the Radiology and Psychiatry Departments in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. Prior to joining the School of Medicine, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Computer Science at Stanford University for two years. During his PhD career, he held internships on behavior change and affective computing in Microsoft Research and Google. Before 2010, he was a senior strategic manager with Intel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a lead product manager with Telefonica in Quito, Ecuador and an Entrepreneur in his natal Cuenca, Ecuador. In these roles, he has had the opportunity to perform various human-centered experiments evaluating around N=500 participants in a variety of applied-psychology experiments. His research skills span across multiple disciplines such as HCI, AI, psychophysiology, affective computing and human-centered design. His current focus in on the design and development of passive sensing and subtle intervention biomedical systems for wellbeing. During his tenure he has evaluated around N=500 participants in a variety of exploratory, controlled and longitudinal applied-psychology experiments. He has closely evaluated researchers, designers, engineers, and business people in affective and ubiquitous computing (Ubicomp), product development, and telecommunications. He has advised postdoctoral, PhD, masters, and undergraduate students across multiple disciplines, such as bioengineering, neuroscience, computer science, symbolic systems, and mechanical engineering.
Karen Parker, PhD
zDr. Parker is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University where she directs the Social Neurosciences Research Program. Dr. Parker's research expertise is the biology of social functioning, with a particular interest in oxytocin and vasopressin signaling pathways. Her preclinical research program focuses on developing novel monkey models of social impairments; her clinical research program encompasses biomarker discovery and therapeutic testing in patients with autism and other brain disorders.
Dr. Parker received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University. Dr. Parker joined the Stanford faculty in 2007. She is an Affiliate Scientist at the California National Primate Research Center, a Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a Kavli Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Parker’s research program has been supported by multiple funding agencies including the NIH, the Simons Foundation, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Parker serves on the Editorial Board of Psychoneuroendocrinology, and on various national (e.g., NIH and NSF) and international (e.g., Medical Research Council) grant review committees and scientific panels.
Josef Parvizi, MD, PhD
Dr Parvizi completed his medical internship at Mayo Clinic and Neurology Residency at Harvard Medical School before joining the UCLA for fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology and epilepsy. He has worked at Stanford University Medical Center since 2007 and specializes in treating patients with uncontrollable seizures. Dr. Parvizi is the principal investigator in the Laboratory of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience whose research activities have been supported by National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, and private foundations. To find out more about Dr Parvizi's scholarly activities please visit http://med.stanford.edu/parvizi-lab.html.
Sergiu Pasca, MD
Pasca’s laboratory at Stanford University explores the biological mechanisms of brain disorders using cellular models of the human brain. Pasca developed some of the early in-a-dish models of disease by deriving neurons from skin cells taken from patients with genetic autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. These patient neurons helped uncover the cellular defects of genetic mutations and demonstrated the promise of this novel technology. In his laboratory, Pasca went further to develop a novel platform that allows to take stem cells from any individuals and engineer lab-grown self-assembling three-dimensional (3D) structures called brain region-specific spheroids or organoids. This method was listed among the Key Advances in hiPSC Disease Modeling of the Last Decade by the journal Cell Stem Cell, and Organoids were named Methods of the Year in 2017 by Nature Methods. These 3D brain tissue resemble specific regions of the nervous system and his laboratory has maintained these cultures for over several years days in vitro to show maturation of cells, including astrocytes, into postnatal stages. His work on astrocytes was inspired by the late Stanford neurobiologist Ben Barres. Pasca has also demonstrated that brain-region specific organoids can be fused to form brain assembloids and employed this preparation to study the cross-talk between cells in the developing human brain and to build human brain circuits in a dish. This work was listed among the Top Research Advances of 2017 by the National Institutes of Health, and he was recently named a Visionart in Science and Medicine by the New York Times.
Rafael Pelayo, MD
Rafael Pelayo, MD was born in New York City and lived for extended periods in Puerto Rico. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico, and his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1988. During this time he completed an honors thesis on adolescent sleep disorders which was awarded a prize in neurology research. Dr. Pelayo interned in Pediatrics at Columbia Presbyterian Babies & Children's Hospital. After an additional year of Pediatrics training at Montefiore Medical Center, he completed a fellowship in child neurology, also at Montefiore. He continued to be involved in their sleep disorders clinic, mentored by Dr. Michael Thorpy. In 1993 he began a sleep medicine fellowship at Stanford University and subsequently requested to join the clinical staff at the Stanford Sleep Disorders clinic. He has remained there ever since and is currently an associate professor at the Sleep Medicine Center with an appointment through the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.
Dr. Pelayo's clinical focus has been the treatment of sleep disorders in children and adults. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has appeared frequently in television, radio and print. He has served as chair of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board of the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart Lung Blood Institute at the NIH. He has also chaired the pediatric special interest section of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Pelayo currently teaches the Stanford Sleep and Dreams undergraduate course alongside Dr. William Dement. Together, they co-authored the course textbook which was published 2013.
Laura Roberts, MD, MA
Laura Roberts, M.D., serves as Chairman and the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized scholar in bioethics, psychiatry, medicine, and medical education. Over two decades, Dr. Roberts has received scientific, peer-reviewed funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and private foundations to perform empirical studies of modern ethical issues in research, clinical care, and health policy, with a particular focus on vulnerable and special populations. Her work has led to advances in the understanding of ethical aspects of physical and mental illness research, societal implications for genetic innovation, the role of stigma in health disparities, the impact of medical student and physician health issues, and optimal approaches to fostering professionalism in medicine. Dr. Roberts has written hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly works, and she has written or edited several books in the areas of professionalism and ethics in medicine, professional development for physicians, and clinical psychiatry. Dr. Roberts serves in a number of leadership roles at Stanford University and in the Stanford Medicine enterprise. Dr. Roberts has served as the Editor-in-Chief, Books for the American Psychiatric Association since 2016. Dr. Roberts has been the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Academic Psychiatry since 2002 and serves as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for many scientific and education journals.
Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD
Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez utilizes her training as a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and clinical researcher to innovate rapid-acting treatments to relieve the suffering of patients with severe mental illnesses, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She has led landmark clinical trials that pioneered new targeted treatments and investigated the role of glutamatergic pathways. As the Director of the Translational Therapeutics Lab and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, she developed methods that combine in vivo drug infusions with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalograpy (EEG) to map human brain circuit dysfunction in real time. This experimental medicine approach is critical to understanding the brain basis of psychiatric illnesses and will transform mental health care.
Carolyn serves as Associate Chair for Inclusion and Diversity in the Department of Psychiatry, Vice Chair for the Research Council of the American Psychiatric Association, Vice Chair for the International OCD Foundation Research Symposium, and Director, Executive Board of International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. She has won several national awards, including most recently, the 2017 Eva King-Killam Award for Outstanding Translational Research. To educate the public on research findings and resources for clinical care, Carolyn contributes articles for Huffington Post and Harvard Business Review. Carolyn received her B.S. in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1996, followed by a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Genetics from Harvard Medical School and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School-M.I.T. in 2004. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now lives with her husband and 3 children in Palo Alto.
Manish Saggar, PhD
Manish Saggar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He graduated from Indian Institute of Information Technology (Allahabad) and then went to the University of Texas at Austin for his Ph.D., where he examined how intensive meditation training affects brain dynamics in the lab of Dr. Risto Miikkulainen. Followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatry at Stanford University under the guidance of Dr. Allan L. Reiss, Manish established his independent computational neuropsychiatry lab (Brain Dynamics Lab) at Stanford in 2017. Dr. Saggar's lab is dedicated to developing computational methods to capture brain’s overall dynamical organization in health and disease. Dr. Saggar has received the NIH Career Development Award (K99/R00) and the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Foundation.
The overarching goal of his research is to understand how our brain dynamically adapts to perform different tasks one after another. He believes that understanding brain’s dynamical organization can be crucial for augmenting human performance (e.g., during creative thinking) as well as for developing and tracking treatments for mental illnesses. His lab is dedicated to developing computational methods that can generate useful mechanistic insights about the “transitions” (or lack thereof) in underlying neural processes during ongoing cognition. To achieve these goals, he employs algorithms from a wide range of fields, including Applied Mathematics, Econometrics, Machine Learning, Biophysics and Network Science.
Nirao Shah, MD, PhD
Dr. Nirao Shah is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Neurobiology at Stanford University. After completing his medical training, Nirao was a graduate student at Caltech, where he identified mechanisms thatt control differentiation of stem cells that give rise to the peripheral nervous system. For his post-graduate fellowship at Columbia University, Nirao developed genetic approaches to identify neural pathways that regulate social behaviors. In his own laboratory, his research has elaborated on such approaches to identify genes and neurons that control different aspects of social interactions. Nirao's findings have provided insights into how our brains enable social interactions in health, and they are relevant to understanding mechanisms underlying behavioral manifestations of autism, dementia, mood disorders, and PTSD.
Manpreet Singh, MD, MS
Dr. Singh is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Stanford. Her time is divided among the clinical, research, and teaching missions of department. She directs Stanford’s Pediatric Mood Disorders Clinic, which is an integrated multidisciplinary clinic that aims to treat youth with a spectrum of mood disorders along a developmental continuum. She leads a team of child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatry fellows, clinical and research postdoctoral fellows, residents, medical students, and research coordinators. Her research focuses on investigating the origins and pathways for developing mood disorders during childhood, as well as methods to protect and preserve function before and after the onset of early mood problems. Dr. Singh’s research team (Pediatric Emotion And Resilience Lab) conducts innovative research examining the neural, cognitive, and genetic underpinnings of pediatric mood disorders. She has extensive experience with multi-level investigations involving children and families, as well as clinical, neuroimaging, and dimensionally-based behavioral assessments. She recently completed her NIMH career development award that characterizes emotion regulation in healthy offspring of parents with bipolar disorder, and is now leading three independent NIMH funded studies examining the mechanisms of mood and other psychiatric disorders and their treatments among youth. She is extensively involved in collaborations aimed to investigate methods of treating problems associated with and leading up to mood disorders in youth. Specifically, she is examining the benefits of family focused psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and medications in youth offspring of parents with bipolar disorder to reduce mood symptoms and family stress. She has also been reviewing the neural effects of medication and psychotherapy in youth. These areas of research hold considerable promise to impact our understanding of the core mechanisms and early interventions for pediatric onset mood disorders.
Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD
Dr. Gary Steinberg is the Chair of Neurosurgery, Director of the Stanford Moyamoya Center, and the founder and Co-Director of the Stanford Stroke Center. As a cerebrovascular and skull base neurosurgeon, he specializes in treating brain aneurysms, moyamoya disease, brain and spinal AVMs and other vascular malformations, carotid artery disease, meningiomas, skull base tumors, stroke, and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Dr. Steinberg has practiced neurosurgery at Stanford for more than 31 years. He has pioneered microsurgical techniques to repair intracranial vascular malformations and certain aneurysms that were previously considered untreatable. He has also refined revascularization techniques for patients with cerebrovascular arterial occlusions, as well as moyamoya disease. He is leading novel clinical trials of stem cell therapy for stroke and spinal cord injury.
Li-Huei Tsai, PhD
Li-Huei Tsai received her P.h.D degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 1994 and was named an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1997. In 2006, she was appointed Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and joined the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. In 2009, she became the Director for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
Alex Urban, PhD
The Urban lab is using advanced genome analysis technology to understand the genetic and epigenetic basis of brain development and brain function. There is a strong genetic contribution to most psychiatric disorders. We can use this knowledge to better understand the neurobiology of these disorders, and then to predict who is at risk for disease, and to design targeted treatments. A revolution in genome technology has been unfolding over the past few years. Dr. Urban has extensive experience with developing and applying genomics analysis methods. For example he co-developed the paired-end-mapping strategy to analyze structural changes in the human genome (Korbel, Urban, Affourtit et al., Science 2007, PMID 17901297) an approach that is now a standard part of human genome sequencing. He is a contributor to the ENCODE Project, the 1000 Genomes Project and the Brain Somatic Mosaicism Network (BSMN) project. Dr. Urban was awarded the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the NARSAD Young Investigator Award and the Tashia and John Morgridge Faculty Scholarship.
The Urban lab uses advanced genome technology along several, mutually supportive, trajectories: 1) To unlock the ‘no-go zones’ of the human genome, sections of the genome inaccessible with state-of-the art analysis and likely containing genetic information important for brain function. 2) In combination with stem cell models, to understand how complex changes in the genome sequence form molecular networks that affect the cells of the brain. 3) To detect and analyze somatic mutations, i.e. DNA changes that only occur in the cells of the brain and are therefore not visible with standard genetic analysis that uses DNA from blood or saliva. 4) To develop advanced animal models, by engineering clearly defined genetic changes into their genomes, for fast-forward drug screening and therapy development.
Katharina Volz, PhD
Katharina Sophia Volz pioneered Stanford University's first Ph.D. in Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine in 2015, earning her degree in just 2.5 years. She was listed on Forbes 30u30 (Science) and has been immersed in the field of biomedical sciences for the past 12 years, starting with her attendance at Germany's Biotechnology High school. She has been awarded multiple fellowships and awards to do research in 10 labs around the world including Harvard, UCLA, HHMI, Ohio State, TU Graz and Stanford. During her Ph.D. she had a breakthrough discovering the epicardial-derived cell type that forms the coronary arteries and the signal required for this differentiation event. Dr. Volz founded OccamzRazor, an AI-driven neuroscience company OccamzRazor that is focused on creating disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson's Disease (PD) and other complex diseases.
Matthew Walker, PhD
Dr. Walker earned his degree in neuroscience from Nottingham University, UK, and his PhD in neurophysiology from the Medical Research Council, London, UK. He subsequently became a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, USA. Currently, he is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. Dr. Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. He has received numerous funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. His research examines the impact of sleep on human brain function in healthy and disease populations. To date, he has published over 100 scientific research studies.
Jamie Wheal, MA
Jamie Wheal is the co-author, along with Steven Kotler, of global bestseller Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work and the co-founder of the Flow Genome Project, an international organization dedicated to the research and training of ultimate human performance.
Jamie is an expert on peak performance and leadership, specializing in the neuroscience and application of Flow states. He has advised everyone from the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations Command, the athletes of Red Bull, and the owners of NFL, NBA, MLB, and Premier League teams to the executives of Google, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Cisco, and Young Presidents' Organization. His work and ideas have been covered in The New York Times, Financial Times, Wired, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, INC, and TEDx. He has spoken at Stanford, MIT, the Harvard Club, the Bohemian Club, the United Nations, Singularity University, and Summit Series.
Leanne Williams, PhD
Leanne Williams, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and has launched the Stanford Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness. She is also the founding director of the Stanford PanLab for Precision Psychiatry and Translational Neuroscience, associate chair of research strategy in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and director of education and dissemination at the Palo Alto VA Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center. Prior to joining the Stanford community, Leanne was the founding chair of cognitive neuropsychiatry and directed the brain dynamics center at Sydney Medical School. Her PhD was completed with a British Council Scholarship for study at Oxford University. Leanne’s Center and translational programs integrate advanced neuroimaging, technology and digital innovation to transform the way we detect mental disorders, tailor interventions and promote wellness. She has developed the first patented taxonomy for depression and anxiety that quantifies brain circuits for diagnostic precision and prediction. Leanne has contributed over 250 scientific papers to the field.
Nolan Williams, MD
Nolan Williams, MD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he then completed his psychiatry and neurology residencies as well as his concurrent research and clinical fellowships with Mark George, MD. Dr. Williams joined the Stanford faculty in 2014 where he began working with Alan Schatzberg, MD in the Depression Research Clinic and now collaborates with colleagues in multiple areas.
Lauren Wolfe, PsyD
Dr. Wolfe is the Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Annum Health, a venture-backed tech-enabled business that partners with large employers and health plans to provide treatment for heavy drinking. Dr. Wolfe is a licensed clinical psychologist, a certified tobacco treatment specialist and the Associate Training Director of the Health Psychology Program at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Her keen interest in leveraging technology to improve upon and scale evidence-based treatments for heavy drinking and smoking is informed by a career that has spanned both the health and tech sectors. Dr. Wolfe was trained at the Veterans Health Administration (VA) focusing on addiction treatment and earlier in her career was the director of strategic accounts at Tanium, a global leader in cybersecurity.
Dr. Wolfe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University – Stanford PsyD Consortium.
Joon Yun, MD
Dr. Joon Yun is President and Managing Partner of Palo Alto Investors LP, a hedge fund founded in 1989 with $2.4 billion in assets under management and invested in healthcare. Board certified in radiology, Joon served on the clinical faculty at Stanford from 2000-2006. Joon has served on numerous boards, and he is currently a trustee of the Salk Institute. Joon is a member of the President's Circle of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Joon has published dozens of patents and scientific articles. Joon and his wife Kimberly launched the $1 million Palo Alto Longevity Prize in 2013 to reverse the aging process and recently donated $2 million to launch the National Academy of Medicine Aging and Longevity Grand Challenge. Fun fact: Joon has been going to Burning Man consecutively for the past 18 years.