Current Residents

Daniel Barron, MD, PhD - PGY I

Daniel grew up in small Texas, Maryland, and Utah towns. He studied Neuroscience and Philosophy as an undergraduate student, where he was first exposed to research. His first experiment involved making and implanting glass electrodes into neurons deep in the rat brain as part of a study of cocaine addiction. As his Honor’s Thesis, he had the opportunity to gather and process human electroencephalography (EEG) data, also in a study of cocaine addiction. The clinical applicability of neuroscience combined with generous support from his mentors led him to enroll in an MD/PhD program. Daniel entered the Human Brain Imaging program and thoroughly enjoyed his dissertation work with Peter T. Fox, which focused on thalamic connectivity in temporal lobe epilepsy. Learning about computational psychiatry as a medical student convinced him of the great potential neuroscience offered to patients with mental illness. His research focus is developing quantitive biomarkers to better help classify and treat patients with mental illness. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about neuroscience for the popular media.

Robert Ross, MD, PhD - PGY I

Bob was born just north of Pittsburgh in Grove City, PA and grew up in a small town in Florida near Kennedy Space Center. He attended University of Florida where he majored in Chemistry. As an undergraduate researcher, he worked in the laboratory of Weihong Tan on nanoparticle synthesis and applications in biological imaging. He then worked with Chi-Chao Chan at the NIH, where he developed a great appreciation for genetic techniques while studying the genetic etiology of macular degeneration. He moved to New Haven to start his MD/PhD at Yale. There he did his thesis project in Haifan Lin’s laboratory studying small noncoding RNAs implicated in directing epigenetic modifications in the nervous system of simple model organisms and silencing transposable elements. He also developed a passion for providing care to underserved communities and worked and ultimately directed Yale’s oldest student clinic, the Wednesday Evening Clinic. He is excited to extend his research into neurodevelopment or psychiatric genetics. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his daughter, Hope. He is immensely grateful for the support of his wife, Michelle, who coordinates the service learning and Catholic studies programs at Fairfield University.

Aaron Alexander-Bloch, MD, PhD - PGY II

Aaron was born and raised in Los Angeles. He studied philosophy of mind as an undergraduate at Harvard University and completed a Masters in computational biology at the University of Cambridge. His MD/PhD training was a collaboration between the UCLA School of Medicine, the University of Cambridge, and the Child Psychiatry Branch at the NIMH Inramural Program, through the NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. Supervised by Ed Bullmore at Cambridge and by Jay Giedd at NIMH, his PhD research used structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging to study typical development and childhood-onset schizophrenia, with a particular focus on network models of the brain and structure-function relationships.  With mentor David Glahn at Yale, he is working on imaging-genetics research as one of his current projects. He continues to be interested in brain imaging, neurodevelopment, network science and the application of computational methods to research in psychiatry.

Joseph Taylor, MD, PhD - PGY II

Joe hails from the Rust Belt town of Youngstown, Ohio but has spent most of his adult life south of the Mason-Dixon line. His first move after high school was to Davidson College, an idyllic liberal arts school in North Carolina where he ran track and cross-country. Joe’s first research experience was a summer fellowship studying dural graft implants with Stephen Dombrowski, PhD and Mark Luciano, MD, PhD at the Cleveland Clinic. Shortly thereafter, he worked with Davidson professor Julio Ramirez, PhD to secure funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for a thesis project on long-term potentiation (LTP) in the rodent hippocampal formation. After graduating cum laude with High Honors in Neuroscience, Joe earned an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study basal ganglia physiology with Judith Walters, PhD at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He subsequently matriculated into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, South Carolina. During graduate school, Joe obtained a National Research Service Award (F30) from the NIH in support of his dissertation research in the Brain Stimulation Laboratory of Mark S. George, MD. The broad purpose of Joe’s dissertation was to use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map and modulate a top-down analgesic circuit in the human brain. He won numerous awards during medical and graduate school, notably working with colleagues to formally introduce the concept of Interventional Psychiatry. Joe plans to continue using brain stimulation; techniques to investigate and mend neural networks.

Joao P. De Aquino, MD - PGY III

Born and raised in Brazil, João Paulo De Aquino grew older developing a keen curiosity about how psychiatric disorders develop and can be treated, after witnessing the suffering a close friend who developed schizophrenia had to endure. During the years he spent at the Federal University of Ceará School of Medicine, he delved in the neuroimaging research arena, studying morphometric magnetic resonance imaging findings among individuals with bipolar disorder, in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Previously, J.P. had done pharmacoepidemiology research at McGill University and co-founded a Cochrane Collaboration branch in northeast Brazil. J.P. is convinced psychiatry is one of the most exciting branches of medicine in the 21st century, and thrilled about training at Yale. His current research focuses on the cognitive dysfunction associated with bipolar disorder, and the relationship of acute and chronic exposure to cannabinoids with changes in neurocognition and frontotemporal brain function. J.P is also an amateur musician and a language enthusiast. During his leisure time, he can be found teaching himself a foreign language or melding samba and jazz in his acoustic guitar.

Alfred Kaye, MD, PhD - PGY III

Al grew up in Los Angeles, and went to the University of California, Berkeley for his undergraduate degree in comparative literature and molecular cell biology. He worked in a lab at the University of California San Francisco looking at the molecular biology of acute ethanol adaptation before joining the MD/PhD program at the University of California, San Diego. During his PhD in neuroscience, he worked at the Salk Institute between the labs of Edward Callaway and Tatyana Sharpee to studying the microcircuitry and information processing of motion vision in the mouse thalamus using in vivo two photon calcium imaging. Al also developed a theory to show that thalamic relay cells are optimized to carry as much information as possible about motion. The work was supported by an F30 NRSA from the NIDCD. Al's vision is to apply cellular scale imaging and theory to the problem of how neural microcircuits adapt to traumatic events as a model of PTSD.

Brandon Kitay, MD, PhD - PGY III

Brandon was raised between Manhattan and Long Island before spending the second half of his life in sunny, south Florida. As a high school senior, Brandon was accepted into medical school through the prestigious Honors Program in Medicine (HPM) at the University of Miami; a combined program affording the completion of both a B.S. and M.D. degree within 6-years. As an undergraduate at "the U," Brandon further developed a life-long interest in Neuroscience through laboratory work. Under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Bartlett Bunge at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, he explored gene and cell transplantation strategies for promoting CNS regeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI). Beyond publications, posters, and undergraduate research awards, this experience revealed an underlying passion for biomedical research. With his penchant for combined degree programs, Brandon doubled-down and joined the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s combined M.D./Ph.D. program after earning his B.S. in Biology at the age of 19. As a medical student, he held positions in the Department of Community Service (D.O.C.S.) aiding in the organization of student operated health fairs. As a graduate student, Brandon completed his dissertation in the laboratory of Dr. Grace Zhai. Entitled, "Mechanisms of NMNAT/WLDS mediated axon protection," his thesis work employed Drosophila and mammalian models to investigate the molecular underpinnings of nervous system maintenance in the context of neurodegenerative disease. During graduate school, he was awarded a Lois Pope LIFE Fellowship as well as the Edward J. Green Memorial Award for, “scholarship, citizenship, and service.” Following re-matriculation in medical school, it was on his psychiatry clerkship that Brandon found his tribe within the realm of clinical neuroscience. As a resident in the NRTP at Yale, he hopes to further develop his skills as a physician-scientist with research and clinical interests in neuro-and geriatric psychiatry. Off-campus, Brandon can usually be found in the company of his four-legged sidekick, Bowie. He is also an avid skier, collector, and all around thrift store aficionado.

Youngsun Cho, MD, PhD - PGY IV

Youngsun grew up outside of Rochester, NY and attended MIT for college. She initially entered the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to obtain a MD degree, and then switched into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to obtain a combined MD/PhD degree following her third year clinical clerkships. At that time she had decided on becoming a psychiatrist and wanted to learn about the brain. She completed a PhD in Neurobiology and Anatomy, and her dissertation work involved three studies aimed at understanding structural and functional connectivity within the brain. She published two neuroanatomy studies under the supervision of Dr. Julie Fudge at the University of Rochester: 1. dopaminergic inputs to the amygdala; 2. prefrontal and insula cortex inputs, and striatal outputs of the amygdala. Her third publication was a study of nucleus accumbens, insula and thalamus effective connectivity during reward processing in adults and adolescents using fMRI. This was carried out with Dr. Monique Ernst at NIMH. Her dissertation work was funded by NIMH under an F30 pre-doctoral fellowship, as well as by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). At Yale she plans to work with Dr. Alan Anticevic and to continue to use imaging modalities to understand the neural circuits that underlie emotion and cognition in psychiatric illnesses. She is grateful to the Yale psychiatry department for funding this collaboration with a Detre Fellowship.

Stephanie Yarnell, MD, PhD - PGY IV

After graduating Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors with 3 Bachelor of Science degrees, biology, microbiology, and ecology with the CURO Scholar Seal for undergraduate research excellence from the University of Georgia, Stephanie matriculated into a combined MD-PhD Program. She was the first scholar to participate in doctoral studies with the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, an institute that actively seeks to explore multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research with her project concentrating on the interface of clinical infectious disease and environmental sciences. Here she eagerly embraced a project focusing on an important and understudied group of infectious diseases caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Her talent and aptitude for quickly developing multidisciplinary skill sets and ability to identify important gaps in knowledge and unmet needs that could make important clinical impacts was demonstrated multiple times in her research. It is notable that her thesis committee advised she would be prepared to defend her thesis after only two and a half years of pre-doctoral research but, the earliest she could complete her PhD was after the third year. During these years, she drafted 3 papers for publication, presented at conferences, and her novel primer/probe set is being considered for patent by the University of Florida. Further demonstrating her excellence in research, she was awarded the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences Excellence in Science Award and the Philanthropic Educational Opportunities Scholar Award. However, it was her research while a medical student that most motivated her. During her final year of medical school, Stephanie completed research on obesity and food addictions with Dr. Mark Gold, Chairman of Psychiatry. These endeavors lead to her first authoring a journal article, a book chapter, and writing the Yale School of Medicine’s online curriculum for the Food Addictions. While both of the publications did not come out until she was in her first year of residency, she was able to establish a solid interest in obesity and the neurophysiology of feeding. It is that interest that she plans on pursuing in the NRTP research times.

Alan Lewis, MD, PhD - PGY V

Alan grew up near Albany, NY and attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, where he studied chemistry, math, and anthropology. At Penn he worked in the synthetic organic chemistry lab of Dr. Madeleine Joullie synthesizing natural products, until he ultimately became interested in neuroscience and decided to combine his interest in research with clinical medicine. He completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at Northwestern University, where he performed his doctoral work in the lab of Dr. Dane Chetkovich. His PhD project identified how an auxiliary subunit of HCN channels in the hippocampus regulates both channel trafficking and function, as well as how HCN channels may contribute to neurological and psychiatric disorders. As a member of the Neuroscience Research Training Program within the Department of Psychiatry at Yale, Alan has had the opportunity to combine clinical work in psychiatry with basic neuroscience research with Dr. Marina Picciotto. With Dr. Picciotto he is exploring how nicotinic acetylcholine receptors modulate aspects of aggressive behavior, with the goal of better understanding the circuit basis of aggression and potentially identifying novel treatments for patients. Clinically, Alan is interested in forensic and emergency psychiatry, as well as substance abuse. The NRTP has given Alan the support to explore both clinical and research areas, as well as strong mentorship to develop his research and career goals as a physician-scientist.