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


Christina Wierenga, PhD - photo

Dr. Wierenga is a 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.

Guido Frank, MD


Guido Frank, MD - photo

Dr. Frank is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. He earned his medical degree at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. He trained in psychosomatics at the Center for Behavioral Health Klinik Roseneck, Prien, Germany, and then received clinical and research training at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California San Diego, USA. He holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Frank has done extensive post-graduate work on the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and has also received extensive certified training in cognitive behavioral and other psychotherapies. He is an expert consultant to local and national law firms. He has received multiple awards, including an NIH Minority Access to Research Career Program (NIMH) Mentor Recognition award and the Eating Disorder Foundation Greg Hueni Memorial Award for excellence in research. Dr. Frank’s work involves human neuroimaging and tasks that are based on animal research with the goal of identifying specific neurotransmitter receptor systems that are relevant for eating disorder behaviors. Dr. Frank has been funded through the National Institute of Mental Health and multiple private foundation grants for the past fifteen years. His overarching goal is to develop translational research designs that bridge clinical presentation with neuroscience to develop more effective treatments for eating disorders to develop preventative measures, improve recovery and prevent relapse.

Stephanie Knatz Peck, PhD

Associate Clinical Professor

Stephanie Knatz Peck, PhD - photo

Dr. Stephanie Knatz Peck (Ph.D) is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor at the UCSD Eating Disorder Center. She is a co-investigator and lead therapist on two trials evaluating psilocybin treatment for anorexia nervosa. Dr. Knatz Peck is also involved in translational clinical treatment research focused on translating neurobiological research into applied clinical treatments for eating disorders across the lifespan. She co-developed Temperament-Based Treatment with Supports (TBT-S), a manualized, strengths-based, systemic treatment approach which involves family members in treatment for all ages and promotes a focus on channeling innate personality traits related to ED development and maintenance in constructive ways to promote recovery and reduce impairment. Her primary interests and expertise include psychedelic treatment approaches for mental health conditions, systemic-supported treatments, and novel treatment models for children and adolescents with treatment-resistant eating disorders. In addition to her work at the center, she provides consultation, mentorship and training across a number of trials evaluating psychedelic compounds for mental health conditions.

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.

Terra Towne, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Terra Towne, PhD - photo

Terra Towne, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and program manager of the Intensive Family Treatment (IFT) program at the UCSD Eating Disorders Center. Terra has worked at UCSD for the past five years, during which she has been a part of the adolescent, adult, IFT, and research teams. Terra is passionate about providing evidence-based care and is involved in various treatment development and evaluation projects. She is certified in Family-Based Treatment (FBT) and currently undergoing certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Enhanced (CBT-E). In her free time, Terra enjoys running with her husband, enjoying San Diego restaurants and beaches, and traveling to the East Coast to visit family and friends.

Anna M. Karam Jones, PhD

Staff Psychologist

Anna M. Karam Jones, PhD - photo

Dr. Anna Karam Jones is a staff psychologist at the UC San Diego Health’s (UCSDH) Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research (EDC). Dr. Karam Jones received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. Her predoctoral clinical internship was comprised of rotations at Rady Children’s Hospital’s Medical Behavioral Unit (i.e., an inpatient unit for the medical stabilization of eating disorders) as well as the EDC, where she worked in both the adolescent and adult clinics. Dr. Karam Jones has received broad and comprehensive training in the evidence-based treatment of psychological disorders including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, with an emphasis in the areas of eating and weight-related disorders. Her research interests include examining predictors, moderators, and mediators/mechanisms of evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, as well as the best methods for dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments for eating disorders, with the ultimate goal to enhance and increase access to eating disorder care. Dr. Karam Jones is passionate about combining her research and clinical interests in the area of eating disorders, and she loves getting to do just that at UCSDH EDC!

Susan Murray, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Susan Murray - photo

Susan received her doctorate in clinical psychology and neuroscience at Temple University in Philadelphia and completed her clinical internship at UCSD. Her current research focuses on elucidating the neural mechanisms that contribute to anorexia nervosa with the aims of improving our understanding of this complex disorder and identifying promising targets for treatment. Susan's research has been supported by a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation and a Visionary Award from the American Psychological Foundation.

Carolina Makowski, PhD

Post Doctoral Fellow

Carolina Makowski, PhD - photo

Carolina Makowski is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology at the University of California San Diego. She completed her BSc in Psychology and PhD in Neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Since 2019, Carolina has been an investigator within the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study Consortium, where she is currently co-chairing ABCD’s Professional Development Workgroup and is a member of ABCD’s Image Analysis Workgroup. Her research integrates multi-modal brain imaging and genomics to better understand brain development and in turn, risk factors for adolescent psychiatric disorders. Carolina’s postdoctoral work has been supported by Canadian federal (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and provincial (Fonds de Recherche du Quebec- Santé) funding mechanisms, as well as by the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, and the National Institutes of Mental Health. When she’s not doing research, you can find her running far too many miles along the Pacific coastline, dancing, or getting lost in a good book.

Megan Martinho, BS

Research Coordinator

Megan Martinho, BS - photo

Megan is a research coordinator at the UC San Diego Eating Disorders Center. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Anthropology, and a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. At the University of Pittsburgh, Megan worked in various research labs as an undergraduate looking at depression, autism spectrum, trauma, personality disorders, and eating disorders. Megan is passionate about eating disorder research and contributing to a better understanding of eating disorders and treatment. In her free time, Megan spends most of her time outside enjoying the sun with her husband and Gordon Setters.

Audrey Nunez (she/hers), BS

Research Coordinator

Audrey Nunez (she/hers), BS - photo

Audrey joined the UCSD EDC as a research coordinator in 2020, after graduating from the University of California, San Diego in Clinical Psychology and volunteering at the EDC as a student research assistant. As a coordinator, Audrey helps with recruitment and data collection for the center's research studies that investigate the outcomes of treatment on its patients. She also recruits and manages the research team's student volunteers. Outside of work, Audrey likes spending her free time playing beach volleyball and baking.

Megan Shott, BS

Research Coordinator

Megan Shott, BS - photo

Megan received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Colorado Denver. She is currently the lab manager for Dr. Guido Frank’s research lab and has been working with his lab for the last 15 years. Along with managing the day-to-day procedures of the lab, Megan also assists in MRI data analysis and is particularly interested in structural brain imaging processes.

Skylar Swindle, BS

Staff Research Associate

Skylar Swindle, BS - photo

Skylar (they/them) is a Staff Research Associate in Dr. Guido Frank’s laboratory. As a Research Associate, they coordinate several clinical neuroscience studies using fMRI and EEG technology. They received their Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mississippi State University. At MSU, they began working under Dr. Jarrod Moss and Dr. Stephanie Doane, assisting with cognitive neuroscience research using fMRI. Skylar went on to work clinically as a Case Manager and a Crisis Interventionist as well as continue neuroscience research work at Washington University in St. Louis. They began working at a residential and outpatient eating disorder program for adults when they moved to California and have been motivated to further their knowledge in the ED field by working at the EDC.

Jessie Kim, BS

Research Associate

Jessie Kim, BS - photo

I am a UCSD class of 2020 summa cum laude graduate now working as a clinical research coordinator at UCSD's EDC. I took a special interest in psychopharmacology and now have the pleasure to explore the therapeutic effects of psychedelics in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Being part of such groundbreaking and important research has become a dream come true!

Miki Carrico, BS

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.

Sophie Abber, MS

Staff Research Associate

Sophie Abber, MS - photo

Sophie is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology in Dr. Thomas Joiner's laboratory at Florida State University, and joined the UC San Diego Eating Disorders Center as a staff research associate in 2024. She previously completed her B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Anthropology from the University of San Diego in 2019 and her M.S. in Psychology from Drexel University in 2021. Sophie's research focuses on the intersection between eating disorders and gastrointestinal symptoms, underlying neurobiological mechanisms of eating disorders, and diagnosis and classification. In her free time, she enjoys running, gardening, going to the beach, and spending time with her cat.