Meet our Team

 Vijay A. Mittal, Ph.D.


Dr. Mittal is an Assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and a fellow at the Centre for Neuroscience at CU Boulder.  He conducted graduate training at Emory University, and completed a specialized adolescent serious mental illness internship and postdoctoral program at UCLA.  Over the past 10 years Dr. Mittal has published over 70 articles working to understand causes behind mental illness among adolescents and young adults, and he specializes in treating youth at high-risk for psychosis.  He founded the ADAPT research lab to help these individuals and their families.

 Randal Ross, M.D.

Pediatric Psychiatrist; Diagnostic Consultant

Dr. Ross’ clinical work is primarily completed within the context of his research activities, where he focuses on providing diagnostic consultation on children and young adolescents with possible psychosis.  He has served as a Board Examiner on General and Child-and-Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is presently the Director of Medical Student Research at CU Denver.  Dr. Ross will be helping the ADAPT team with recruitment and diagnosis.,%20Randy.aspx

Tina Gupta, B.A.

Lab Coordinatior

Tina graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A in psychology and sociology.   During her time at CU, she worked on different research studies focusing on cognitive science as well as the treatment of postpartum depression in teen moms.  She enjoys working with teens and young adults, and hopes to attend graduate school in clinical psychology.





Derek Dean, B.A.

Graduate Assessment Student Specialist

 Before becoming a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Neurosceince and the University of Colorado Boulder, Derek served as the ADAPT’s clinic coordinator. Derek studied Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Denver and the University of Oxford as well as the basic sciences at Columbia University.  He has worked as a volunteer and research assistant on a mental health crisis prevention hotline and as a volunteer in several mental health treatment facilities around Boulder.  Currently, his interests include biological, social and psychological markers of risk; emotion; cognitive behavioral and mindfulness based interventions for mental illness; and software applications for psychological stimuli.  In his free time, Derek enjoys the outdoors.



Andrea Pelletier, B.S.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in Psychology and English, Andrea began working as a research assistant at Duke University.  While at Duke, Andrea worked with children, adolescents, and their families to investigate post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and childhood brain development.  For the past three years, Andrea has trained at the PRIME (Prevention through Risk Identification, Management, and Education) high-risk clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently a graduate student in the Mittal lab at CU Boulder, and is interested in developing early identification and treatment strategies for adolescents and young adults.



 Jessica R. Lunsford, M.A.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2006 with a degree in psychology, Jessica spent two years as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, investigating the phenomenology and pathophysiology of pediatric bipolar disorder.   Since 2008, Jessica has been a graduate student at the University of Colorado, where her research focuses on the role of sleep disturbances in the course and treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents.  She completed her master’s degree at CU-Boulder in 2010, and is currently working toward her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.




 Ashley Smith, M.A.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a double major in Psychology and Anthropology, Ashley worked as a research coordinator at the New Mexico Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center for five years, investigating neurocognitive abilities and neural mechanisms of sensory gating in schizophrenia.  Since 2009, Ashley has been a graduate student at the University of Colorado, where her research focuses on the etiology of psychiatric disorders, including genetic and environmental risk factors, and neurocognitive abilities associated with psychopathology.  She completed her master’s degree at CU-Boulder in 2011 and is currently working toward her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, with a certificate in behavioral genetics.



Johana Carolina Mejias, B.S.

Spanish Translator and Assessment Team Member

Johana is from Venezuela and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Psychology-Neuroscience. She enjoys playing and watching sports and spending time in the outdoors!



Briana Robustelli, B.A.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

Briana graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Human Development.  She then spent two years as a fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition investigating structural brain abnormalities in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. She is currently a graduate student in Dr. Mark Whisman’s lab at CU Boulder, studying the impact of romantic relationships on mental and physical health.



Daniel Leopold, B.A.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

After graduating from Dartmouth College with a major in Psychology, Daniel joined the Developmental Neuropsychology lab at the University of Denver to study the reading development of minority populations around the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area. He is currently a graduate student in Erik Willcutt's Developmental Psychopathology lab and conducts assessments for the ADAPT lab. His primary interests include early identification and remediation of developmental learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, math disability, ADHD) and the dissemination of evidence-based remedial practices.



Emily Carrol, B.A.

Graduate-Student Assessment Specialist

 After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a double major in Psychology and Religion, Emily worked at Harvard University in the Social Neuroscience and Psychopathology Laboratory.  At Harvard, Emily worked with children and young adults at risk for developing psychosis and individuals with schizophrenia to investigate social cognition, emotion, and targeted cognitive training as an early intervention strategy.  Emily is currently a graduate student at CU Boulder in the Mittal Lab and is interested in early identification and intervention for youths at risk for mental illness.




Christopher Hawkey, M.A

Graduate Student Assessment Specialist

Christopher is an advanced doctoral student pursuing a dual Ph.D. of Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Christopher has been a member of the ADAPT lab since 2013. Since 2005, Christopher worked with the Colorado Family Project for bipolar disorder where he serves as an FFT therapist and project coordinator. His training has focused on working with adolescents and adults who are living with or are at risk for severe mental illnesses, and clients from marginalized populations including peripartum women and LGBTQ people. His research interests focus on the role of family environmental and neurobiological variables in the course, prevention, and treatment of bipolar disorder, psychosis, and suicidality in adolescent and young adult populations.


Senior Research Team

Marie Banich, Ph.D.

Multimodal Imaging Specialist and Developmental Consultant

Marie Banich, Ph.D., is a professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also serves as director of the Institute of Cognitive Science, a multi-disciplinary institute dedicated to exploring the science of the mind. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Denver. Her research specializes in using brain imaging techniques to understand the neural systems that allow us to direct our attention and our actions so that we can prioritize, organize, and target our behavior in a goal-oriented manner, abilities often referred to as executive function.  She will help the ADAPT team with interpreting multi-modal data imaging and patterns of adolescent/young adult neural development.


Michael Caligiuri, Ph.D.

Motor Function Specialist

Dr. Caligiuri attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he received a Ph.D. in neuroscience with an emphasis in motor control. Dr. Caligiuri began working with faculty in the Department of Psychiatry in 1987 to test novel instruments for quantifying tardive dyskinesia and drug-induced Parkinsonism. In 2006, he was appointed as Director, Human Research Protection Program at UCSD overseeing five IRBs charged with monitoring the ethical and regulatory conduct of human subjects research at UCSD. Dr Caligiuri’s research focuses on understanding how motor function and impairment can be useful in the diagnosis and treatment of affective and psychotic illnesses.   He is working with the ADAPT team to analyze motor development for ADAPT participants.


Joseph Orr, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Student

Joe received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2011. His research focuses on identifying the neural mechanisms of cognitive flexibility, with a focus on understanding how behavior is guided by the interaction of internal goals and external information. He has interests in understanding how these mechanisms are disrupted in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and substance abuse. As part of the ADAPT team he will be examining how brain connectivity differs between controls and high risk individuals, and how connectivity varies with symptoms and behavioral measures.


Jessica Bernard, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Student

Jessica received her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2012. While at Michigan, her research combined behavioral measures of motor and cognitive function with resting state functional connectivity MRI to investigate the cerebellum in young and older adults. She is particularly interested in understanding the structure and function of the cerebellum across the lifespan in both health and disease. Jessica also has experience using non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS) to study the organization of the motor cortex and cognitive function, and has worked on projects investigating the motor and cognitive benefits of working memory training. Working with ADAPT, she will be investigating both functional and structural networks of the cerebellum in high-risk individuals over the course of their disease progression with respect to symptom severity and cognitive function.

Mark Brown, Ph.D.

Imaging Specialist (DTI)

Dr. Brown’s work at the Brain Imaging Center has been focused on evaluations of white matter disease such as Multiple Sclerosis and Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis (Lupus), using MR tools such as magnetization transfer ratios (MTR), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), tractography, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). A multitude of his research involves working with subjects in the earliest stages of MS to try to determine how soon the subtler effects show up, in the hopes that it will provide new clues about the early course of the illness. He will be involved in studying the white matter (connecting tracts) brain imaging data from ADAPT participants.,

Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants

Lindsay Ives

Assessment Team Member








 Undergraduate Research Assistants


Ceire Brett

Assessment Team Member






Kisori Thomas  

Assessment Team Member








Olivia Russak

Assessment Team Member








Kathryn Conrad

Assessment Team Member