Lab Members


Adriana Galván, Ph.D.


Principal Investigator

Curriculum Vitae

Adriana Galván, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and faculty member of the Brain Research Institute at UCLA.  She is also the Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory and an executive member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA. The overall goal of her laboratory is to understand adolescent behavior by using neuroimaging methods to study the changing adolescent brain.  Specifically, she examines the role of stress, sleep habits, puberty, and social relationships on adolescent risk-taking and decision making.  Her work has been disseminated broadly in academic journals including The Journal of Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Neuron and funded by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, The Jacobs Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. Her research has been featured in several media outlets, in a TEDx talk on the adolescent brain and cited in U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding juvenile justice (Graham v. Florida, 2010; Miller v. Alabama, 2012).  Dr. Galván received her B.A in Neuroscience from Barnard College, Columbia University (2001) and her Ph.D. from Cornell Medical School (2006). She conducted her postdoctoral research fellowship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior. She is the recipient of the American Psychological Association Boyd McCandless Young Scholar Award, the Jacobs Foundation Young Scholar Award, a Network Scholar Award of The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, and the William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award.


Jessica Phuong, B.S.


Graduate Student

Jessica graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, Jessica was a research assistant in Dr. Nim Tottenham’s Developmental Affective Neroscience Lab. Her current research interests include investigating the effects of early life experience and stress on the neurobiology of social and emotional development.

Sarah Tashjian, J.D.


Graduate Student

Sarah graduated from University of Florida with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Criminology in 2007 before obtaining her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2010. Sarah is interested in examining brain-based differences in sensitivity to socio-cultural context and positive risk taking.

Namita Tanya Padgaonkar, B.A.

Graduate Student

Tanya graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with B.A.s in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Public Health. She is now a neuroscience PhD student in the labs of Drs. Adriana Galván and Mirella Dapretto. She is interested in the functional and structural development of the brain, and how that relates to emotional functioning in children and adolescents. By learning more about these developmental processes, she hopes to better understand neurotypical development and what factors might contribute to and protect from the development of mood and anxiety disorders in subclinical populations.

Amanda Baker, B.A.


Graduate Student

Amanda graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Before coming to UCLA, Amanda worked in Sonia Bishop’s Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Berkeley and Vinod Menon’s Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience Lab at Stanford. She is currently interested in investigating the effects of early life experiences and individual differences on adolescent brain development and mental health.

Natalia Orendain, MPH

Graduate Student

Natalia is a neuroscience doctoral student at UCLA studying the impact of early life adversity on pubertal maturation and structural neurodevelopment in youth. She is also a science policy fellow with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and a creative writing teacher for detained youth in LA County. Ms. Orendain contributes to the scientific understanding of youth neurodevelopment and pubertal maturation within the context of adversity exposure to inform legislation and policy as it pertains to child welfare and Juvenile Justice System reform. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Florida and holds a Masters of Public Health with High Distinction from the University of Queensland in Australia.

Daniela Sarmiento

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

Daniela is a 3rd-year Psychobiology major originally from Ecuador. She is interested in learning about the intersection between neuroscience and psychology, especially as it applies to child and adolescent development. By working in the Galván Lab, Daniela wants to discover what it means to be a researcher and pioneer in the field of developmental neuroscience.

Jason Muljadi

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jason is a second-year neuroscience major at UCLA. Growing up, Jason has always been fascinated with the human brain and the way people interacted. In high school, he had the opportunity to delve into the realm of neurodegenerative diseases and to teach eighth graders at a school in Lake Balboa. He hopes that, through his experience at the Galván Lab, he can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of neuroscience as well as gaining experience that will help him advance in the field of neurology.

Emily Pham

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emily is a 2nd year Psychobiology major at UCLA. Given her instructional experience with a wide range of students and her enthusiasm for working with children and adolescents, she is excited to better understand the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and biology as it relates to early development. With the Galván Lab, Emily hopes to gain invaluable experience conducting research and explore the field of research as a possible career path.


(more recent departures listed first)

Jordan Mullins- Former research assistant

Currently a graduate student at UC Riverside

Rachel Storer- Former Lab Manager

Currently a graduate student at Bryn Mawr College

Camille Johnston- Former research assistant

Currently a graduate student at Temple University

Jennifer Shintaku- Former undergraduate research assistant

Aya McGlothlin- Former undergraduate research assistant

Dan Zhu- Former undergraduate research assistant

Sam Swanson, PhD. – Former Post Doctoral Student

Dominic Tran – Former undergraduate research assistant 

Kayla Oakley – Former Lab Manager

Currently a post-bacc at University of Ohio

Diane Goldenberg, Ph.D. – Former graduate student

Currently a postdoc at the University of Southern California

Nadia Hassan – Former undergraduate research assistant

Steven Soltani – Former undergraduate research assistant

Aboudeh Almallouhi – Former undergraduate research assistant

Laura Rosales – Former undergraduate research assistant

Nina Mokhtarzada – Former undergraduate research assistant

Crystal Rivera – Former undergraduate research assistant

Kaitlyn S. Breiner – Former graduate student

Currently a postdoc with Dr. George Slavich at UCLA

Perri Katzman – Former research assistant

Currently a graduate student at NYU

César Hernández – Former undergraduate research assistant

Abby Loi – Former undergraduate research assistant

Marnee McClellan – Former undergraduate research assistant

Jessica Hernandez – Former undergraduate research assistant

Kathy Do – Former lab manager

Kathy is pursuing a Ph.D. in developmental psychology

at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with Eva Telzer.

Jennifer Grijalva – Former undergraduate research assistant

Thomas Liu – Former undergraduate research assistant

Alexandra Sherman – former research assistant

Currently a graduate student at SFSU

Diana Guzman – Former undergraduate research assistant

Stephanie Tuncel – Former undergraduate research assistant

Currently a behavioral specialist at TOTAL Programs

Emily Barkley-Levenson, Ph.D. – Former graduate student

Currently an Assistant Professor at Hofstra University

Elliott Gomez – Former undergraduate research assistant

Currently teaching English abroad in Spain

Elica Rahdar, Ph.D. – Former postdoctoral fellow

Currently COO and Head of Research at 3TEN8

Nancy Gomez – Former undergraduate research assistant

Currently a Program Representative at the UCLA Latin American Institute

Brian Delpasand – Former undergraduate research assistant

Currently a medical student at Temple University

Eva Telzer, Ph.D. – Former graduate student

Currently an Assistant Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Kristine McGlennen – Former lab manager

Currently a Registered Nurse, Critical Care Immersion Program at Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN

Linda van Leijenhorst, Ph.D. – Former postdoctoral fellow 

Currently an Assistant Professor at Leiden University

Marissa Sharif – Former undergraduate research assistant

Adriana Campos – Former undergraduate research assistant

Katherine Harmon – Former undergraduate research assistant