Research Team

Walter H. Kaye, MD
Director, Eating Disorders Program
Professor, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
Walter H. Kaye, MD - photo

Anorexia nervosa has the highest rate of death of any psychiatric illness. We are now beginning to understand why people develop these disorders, and we are using this information to develop more effective treatment.

Walter H. Kaye, MD

Dr. Walter Kaye was recruited to the UC San Diego faculty from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he was research director of the eating disorder program, and where he received a NIMH senior scientist award. Dr. Kaye’s current research is focused on exploring the relationship between brain and behavior using brain imaging and genetics, and developing and applying new treatments for anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

Christina E. Wierenga, PhD

Associate Professor

Christina Wierenga, PhD - photo

Dr. Wierenga is an Associate Professor and Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. She is an expert in the neurobiology of eating disorders, in particular related to the neural circuitry supporting cognition and behavior. She Co-Directs the Research Program at the UCSD Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program, where she conducts neuroimaging and neuropsychological research examining the brain basis of disordered eating, with an emphasis on cognitive control, reward processing, and interoception. She is also heavily involved in treatment development efforts for eating disorders guided by a neurobiological understanding of behavior, as well as treatment outcome studies. She is a CA licensed Clinical Psychologist and supervises clinical trainees in the Adolescent Program and conducts neuropsychological assessments in both the Adolescent and Adult Programs. She serves as faculty in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and the UCSD Clinical Psychology APA approved Internship and is actively involved in training graduate students, pre-doctoral clinical interns, and post-doctoral fellows. She has been funded by the National Eating Disorders Association, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Amanda Bischoff-Grethe, PhD

Associate Adjunct Professor

Amanda Bischoff-Grethe, PhD - photo

Dr. Bischoff-Grethe is an Associate Adjunct Professor in the department of Psychiatry. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus upon Computational Neurobiology from the University of Southern California. She is particularly interested in the brain's response to reward and punishment and how it relates to cognitive processing. Her research focuses upon brain function in adolescents and adults with eating disorders using functional MRI, DTI, and other morphometric methods.

Laura A. Berner, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Davis Scholar

Laura A. Berner, PhD - photo

Dr. Laura Berner joined the UCSD Eating Disorder Center as a postdoctoral research fellow after completing her clinical internship at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment Program and the San Diego VA Healthcare System. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University. She has extensive treatment experience working with adults and adolescents with eating disorders at all levels of care and has specialized training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and traditional Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) for mood and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, and chronic pain. Dr. Berner’s research focuses on characterizing brain-based and other biological factors that contribute to eating disorders, and she has been awarded grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. Her postdoctoral research with the UCSD team uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the role of brain circuits that support various forms of self-regulatory control in bulimia nervosa. When not at work, she loves to sing and travel and enjoys hiking and camping closer to home.

Tiffany Brown, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Tiffany Brown, PhD - photo

Dr. Tiffany Brown joined the UCSD Eating Disorders Center as a postdoctoral fellow after completing her clinical internship at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment Program and the San Diego VA Healthcare System. She earned her B.A. from Villanova University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University. She has extensive clinical experience working with adults and adolescents with eating disorders using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Family Based Therapy (FBT). Her research interests focus on risk factors for eating disorders in male and sexual minority populations, the prevention and treatment of eating disorders, and strategies to increase the successful implementation of evidence-based practice. Dr. Brown has received research funding from the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders and the Academy for Eating Disorders. Her current research at UCSD focuses on understanding factors related to treatment outcome across sexes and the implementation of DBT for adolescents with bulimic spectrum eating disorders in community-based settings.

Miki Ogasawara, BA

Research Associate

Miki Ogasawara, BA - photo

Miki received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from University of California, San Diego. Combining her interests in cognitive neuropsychology with her experience in computer science, she is currently working as a research associate for the neuroimaging studies conducted at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Center. As a member of the research team, she assists in fMRI data analysis that examines the neurobiology of eating disorders. She is particularly interested in effects of long-term illness on brain functions and has previously worked for neuroimaging studies in HIV, substance abuse, and child development.

Joanna Chen, BS

Research Coordinator

Joanna Chen, MS - photo

Joanna is a research coordinator at the UC San Diego Eating Disorders Center. She graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a specialization in clinical psychology. During her undergraduate career, Joanna worked in various research labs that studied learning and memory, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, and conducted an independent honors research project on the social consequences of embarrassment in individuals with social anxiety. As a research coordinator at the Eating Disorders Center, Joanna interviews potential participants to assess eligibility, conducts fMRI scans for studies examining the neurobiology of eating disorders, and assists with data analysis and management. She is interested in studying the biological factors that contribute to mental disorders using imaging technology, and she plans to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Laura Greathouse, MPH

Research Coordinator

Laura Greathouse, MPH - photo

Laura Greathouse is the research coordinator at the UCSD Eating Disorders Center. She graduated with her MPH in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Colorado at the Anschutz Medical Campus in May of 2015. She received her B.A. in Psychology with an Honors minor in Interdisciplinary Studies from San Diego State University in 2013. During her academic career, she gained a broad range of research experience with skin cancer and indoor tanning, anxiety disorders, and chronic illness. As a research coordinator at UCSD, Laura assists with outreach, recruitment, scheduling, and running participants for the various fMRI studies. In addition, she helps coordinate the Gut Microbiome study and is a part of the Instagram social media committee. Her primary goal is to integrate public health practices in the neuroimaging research being conducted at the center.