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2020 – 2021 NNCI Scholars

Alexandra Bey, MD, PhD
Duke University Health System

Alex is a PGY4 resident in Duke Psychiatry Residency’s Physician Scientist Track who is passionate about improving care for people and families affected by autism spectrum disorder. During her graduate career, Alex developed and characterized multiple mouse models of autism in order to better understand the pathophysiology and possible treatment targets for this disorder. During residency, Alex has continued to advance this work by applying in vivo electrophysiology to study brain networks responsible for autism-related behaviors in model mice. Additionally, she works with the Center for Autism and Brain Development to take behavioral detection techniques from rodent research and apply it to tracking young children and their caregivers as they play together in hopes of developing high-throughout, objective measurements of human behavioral patterns. She also is a curriculum committee member and has been helping the program improve neuroscience didactics. Alex’s NNCI submission proposed to create a module on biomarkers for neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism.

Diego Garces Grosse, MD
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Thara Nagarajan, MD
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Thara Nagarajan is a second year psychiatry resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. As an anthropology major in college, she had the opportunity to work with marginalized populations both locally in Columbus, OH and globally, with a completion of an undergraduate thesis looking at food insecurity in women and children in Nicaragua. She was able to continue these interests as a medical student through public health work, policy advocacy, and implementation of educational materials with marginalized populations. Thara’ s main interests in psychiatry lie in using social justice to provide equitable and evidence-based medical care, and with connecting scientific education with social justice issues for psychiatry trainees. Thara also has a wide variety of psychiatric interests, including child and adolescent psychiatry, PTSD and trauma-focused disorders, LGBTQ+ psychiatry, sexual health, and reproductive psychiatry.

Crystal Obiozor, MD
University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine - Tulsa

Crystal is a PGY-4 general psychiatry resident at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa. She has an interest in trauma, psychosis, neuroscience, and medical education. She has participated in various teaching activities and workshops throughout her journey to medicine and continued to build upon this interest during her residency training. Her NNCI submission presented an outline of an interactive teaching tool to highlight the interplay of both the neurobiological and behavioral models of trauma and stress as they relate to racism and its consequences on health. She is excited to participate in the NNCI Scholar program to develop important neuroscience teaching materials that will engage learners in a creative and effective way.

Luke Petry, MD
University of Illinois Chicago

Luke Petry is a PGY-4 Chief Resident of Education at the University of Illinois Chicago interested in neuropsychiatry, neuromodulation, and psychopharmacology. He first got his feet wet in neuroscience working in visual cognition and neurogenomics labs in undergrad. Throughout his psychiatry training he has focused his energy on teaching, both with medical students and residents. As Education Chief he has been working on curriculum development and implementation within the program. His NNCI submission explored the role of social and political influence on the development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

Ana Maria Rivas-Grajales MD, MSc
Baylor College of Medicine

Ana Maria is a PGY4 research track resident in the Psychiatry Residency Program at Baylor College of Medicine. She has a scientific background in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. Her research focuses on understanding circuit properties of human neural networks using neuroimaging tools and how maladaptive changes within these networks lead to psychiatric disorders. As a member of the research track, she has utilized resting-state functional MRI to study the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine. Ana Maria’s NNCI submission included a case report of catatonia that incorporates circuit neuroscience concepts to elucidate the neurobiology of catatonia.

Sherab Tsheringla, MD
University of Minnesota Medical School

Sherab is a PGY3 resident in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale. He has worked previously in India in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, with years of clinical and research experience in neurodevelopmental disorders. While he has research interests in social cognition, computational modeling and autism, he is also passionate about making neuroscience research more accessible through innovative educational modules. He hopes to further incorporate trauma-informed educational principles into neuroscience training. The need for a revolution in neuroscience and mental health education in today’s geo-socio- political context, provides a framework for his learning endeavors. As 2020-21 NNCI Scholar, he is working with Dr Erica Baller, former NNCI Scholar and Psychiatrist at Upenn on developing a social deduction game for teaching the history and theories of social cognitive neuroscience.

Bernice Yau, MD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Bernice is a PGY2 psychiatry resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is interested in consult liaison psychiatry and the overlap between psychiatry, neurology and internal medicine. She has a long-standing passion for education, and aims to be involved with medical education as a career. She has developed curriculum for several interdisciplinary pre-health professions programs, designed a workshop on asking for and receiving feedback on clinical rotations, researched student mistreatment, and been involved in education committees both in medical school and residency. Her NNCI submission was about how our brains perceive race and how this significantly impacts human behavior.

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