ED Research Program In the Department of Psychiatry

About Us


James Lock, MD, PhD
Dr. Lock is Professor of Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine where he also serves as Director of the Eating Disorder Program for Children and Adolescents. Dr Lock has published over 200 articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He is the co-author of Treatment Manual for Anorexia Nervosa: A Family-Based Approach, Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder and Treating Bulimia in Adolescents: A Family-Based Approach. He has lectured widely in the US, Canada, South America, Europe, and Australia. He has been funded by the NIH to conduct treatment research in eating disorders continuously since 1997. Click on Dr. Lock's name above to view his faculty bio and a list of representative publications.

Mary Sanders, PhD
Dr. Mary Sanders has worked in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department at Stanford for over 20 years and specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Currently, she is an attending psychologist at the Comprehensive Care Unit at Stanford – an inpatient unit for individuals who have become medically compromised as a result of their eating disorder. She spends a portion of her time on research studies for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Kathleen Kara Fitzpatrick, PhD
Dr. Kathleen Kara Fitzpatrick has worked in the Eating Disorders Clinic at Stanford for three years. She specializes in neuropsychological assessment of eating disorders and evaluation of treatments for children and adolescents. Her current research interests focus on the development of Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT), which utilizes neuropsychological components to address cognitive and behavioral difficulties associated with eating disorders. In addition to working as a therapist on research treatment studies, she also provides supervision to therapists on different treatment modalities.

Debra Safer, MD
Dr. Safer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medical Center. Her research and clinical work focus on treating eating disorders in adults and adolescents, specifically binge eating disorder. She is involved as a study therapist in several treatment research studies.

Athena Robinson, PhD
Dr. Robinson is Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medical Center. She completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stanford University. Her research and clinical work specialties include eating disorders, overweight & obesity, emotion regulation, and behavior change interventions.

Megan Jones, PsyD
Dr. Megan Jones is a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medcial Center. Dr. Jones received her training at PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium and Yale University. Dr. Jones is a therapist on treatment studies for anorexia and bulimia and conducts research on family-based prevention and early intervention for anorexia nervosa. She also develops and evaluates stepped-care models for eating disorder prevention and treatment and Internet-facilitated interventions for pediatric weight management.

Danielle Colborn, PhD
Dr. Danielle Colborn recently completed a post-doctoral fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Eating Disorder Clinic.  Dr. Colborn received her training from California School of Professional Psychology-San Francisco, and Creighton University.  Dr. Colborn has conducted research on interpersonal relationship processes in females with anorexia nervosa, neuropsychological functioning and weight restoration in adolescents with anorexia nervosa, and is a therapist on treatment studies for adolescents with bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

Cara Bohon, PhD

Dr. Bohon is an Assistant Professor  in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Eating Disorder Clinic. She received her training from the University Of Oregon and the UCLA Semel Institute. Her  research interests have focused on the neural bases of eating disorders and obesity. She is particularly interested in the way emotion and reward is processed in the brain and how that may contribute to eating behavior and food restriction. She hopes to eventually translate biological research findings into treatments.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Alison Darcy, PhD
Dr. Alison Darcy is a post-doctoral research fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She conducted her PhD research in University College Dublin where she developed and evaluated a group cognitive behavioural therapy for people with chronic anorexia nervosa in St John of God Hospital's inpatient program. She is a research therapist on many of the studies at Stanford and is currently conducting research on patients' perspectives of treatment and Cognitive Remediation Therapy.

Sarah Forsberg, PsyD
Sarah worked in the eating disorders research lab for over five years. Throughout her time in the lab, she worked on various research projects including examining the effectiveness of family therapy for younger children with anorexia, perfectionism, athletes and eating disorders, and patient perspectives on treatment for AN. She completed her doctoral dissertation on the role of therapeutic alliance in treatment of children and adolescents with anorexia across treatments. She joined us last year as a postdoctoral fellow.

Vandana Aspen, PhD
Dr. Vandana Aspen is a T32 post-doctoral research fellow in Behavioral Medicine. She completed her doctoral training at Washington University in Saint Louis. Dr. Aspen is a therapist on our treatment study for adolescents with bulimia nervosa and conducts research focused on developing, testing, and disseminating novel interventions for women with eating disorders.


Research Staff

Kate Arnow

Kate joined the lab in June 2012 and currenty coordinates the FBT/CRT study. She graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in psychology and history. Prior to joining the lab, she worked as the coordinator for the DSM-5 Field Trial at Stanford.

Natalie Portillo

Natalie joined the lab in August 2013 and coordinates the Family Aggregate Study. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A in psychology and from Columbia with an M.A in clinical psychology. Prior to joining the lab, she worked as a coordinator in the Adult Bipolar Lab at Stanford.

Lab alumni

Stephanie Manasse
Stephanie joined the lab in June 2010 and worked as the coordinator for the adolescent bulimia treatment study and adaptive family treatment study for adolescents with AN. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in psychology. In the future, she would also like to investigate behavioral interventions for obesity. Stephanie is now in the clinical PhD program at Drexel University.

Nandini Datta
Nandini graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in developmental psychology and joined the lab in August 2010. She worked as the research assistant on the 5-year Familial Aggregation study, which examines the cognitive functioning of adolescent females with anorexia nervosa. Nandini recently started graduate school at Duke University under the mentorship of Nancy Zucker.

Linsey Utzinger
Before joining the lab, Linsey completed her bachelor's degree at the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota and spent two years coordinating research studies on childhood ADHD at Massachusetts General Hospital. She coordinad a 5-year follow-up study on adolescents who participated in a treatment study for anorexia nervosa. Linsey graduated with a PsyD from the PGSP-Stanford Consortium program and is currently a postdoctoral fellow.

Judy Beenhakker, MS
Judy was the lead research coordinator for the lab for over 7 years, and was responsible for coordinating several research trials related to adolescent and adult anorexia nervosa. She now works at the University of Virginia and resides in Charlottesville with her husband and two daughters. Her contributions to our lab are countless!

Alaina Critchlow
Alaina worked in the lab for over three years, as the coordinator of a multi-site treatment trial investigating two types of family therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa. She is also a Stanford alum and is a huge Stanford football fan. She is now a medical student at the University of Colorado, Denver, with aspirations to specialize in pediatrics and infectious disease.

Elizabeth LoTempio
Liz worked in the lab for several years an is currently a pre-doctoral intern at Yale University Schol of Medicine. She conducted assessments for several of the research projects. Her research interests include prevention of eating problems in children and completed her dissertation on therapeutic alliance in the treatment of eating disorders.


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