Lab Members

Virginia Sturm, Ph.D.



Virginia Sturm, PhD is the John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation Endowed Professor at UCSF. Dr. Sturm is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and the director of the Clinical Affective Neuroscience Laboratory. After undergraduate work at Georgetown University, she received her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in neuropsychology. Her research focuses on identifying the neural systems that support emotion and social behavior in neurodegenerative disease and neurodevelopmental disorders.


Email: [email protected]


Alex Martinez-Arroyo

Clinical Research Coordinator

Alex graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in neuroscience in May 2021. While at the University of North Carolina, he worked in Dr. Prinstein's lab where he studied adolescent interpersonal relationships, depression, and suicide. He looked for subjective biomarkers of stress and their effect on mental health. Alex also worked in Dr. Muscatell's Social Neuroscience Lab were he studied how the brain responds to health messages in people from different cultural backgrounds. Alex joined the CAN Lab in June 2021.


Email: [email protected]

Amanda Gerenza

Clinical Research Coordinator

Amanda graduated from the University of Scranton in May 2022. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Philosophy with a minor in Biochemistry. She worked in Dr. Son's neurobiology lab at the University of Scranton, where she studied the effects of developmental hypoxia on neural development and behavior. Amanda joined the CAN Lab in August 2022. 


Email: [email protected]

Jiwoo Han

Clinical Research Coordinator

Jiwoo joined the CAN Lab in July 2023. She graduated from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in May 2023. On campus, she has conducted psychology research on autobiographical memories and emotion regulation, and art history research on photography. She has also worked with Dr. Willard at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to investigate how young cancer survivors make meaning of their experiences through social media images.

Email: [email protected]

Micah Valero

Lab Manager

Micah joined the CAN lab in June 2023. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in May 2023 at San Francisco State University. During her time in college, she volunteered in Dr. Mendes' Emotion, Health, and Psychophysiology lab and eventually in Dr. Holley's Relationship, Emotion, and Health Lab where she studied college experiences and learned the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). 

Email: [email protected]

Ashlin Roy

Data Analyst

Ashlin earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of Oregon in 2016. As an undergraduate, he assisted several labs that study the neurobiological basis of behavior. After graduating, Ashlin worked as a lab manager at the University of Massachusetts Boston for Dr. Keith Welker and Dr. Rhiana Wegner. Currently, Ashlin is a data analyst at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center for Dr. Virginia Sturm and Dr. David Perry. He is interested in studying the neural substrates of affective and reward processes, as well as psychiatric disorders associated with deficits in these areas.

Email: [email protected]

Eleanor Palser

Postdoctoral Scholar

Eleanor Palser joined the CAN lab in December 2018. Eleanor works with UCSF's Dyslexia Center, studying social and emotional processing in neurodevelopmental conditions, such as dyslexia and autism. To do this, she combines self-report, physiological and neuroimaging methods. Previously, she received a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London. During her doctoral studies, she investigated the role of afferent bodily signals or "interoception" in several aspects of cognition and emotion, applying this to the clinical features of autism and anxiety. 

Email: [email protected]

Amie Wallman-Jones

Postdoctoral Scholar

Amie Wallman-Jones joined the CAN lab in February 2023. She previously received her PhD from the University of Bern in Switzerland. Her graduate work assessed how physical activity influences interoceptive processing, where she used a multi-method approach to reveal the active ingredients driving this relationship. 

Email: [email protected]

Belinda Zhang

Visiting Scholar 

Belinda Zhang is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and she joined the CAN lab in August 2021. Her dissertation work focuses on studying the associations between autonomic nervous system activity and real-world socioemotional abilities in children with dyslexia. 

Email: [email protected]



Lab Alumni


Anna Gilioli


Tiffany Chow

Ryan Perry



Christina Veziris


Alice Hua


Lorenzo Pasquini

Jacqueline Geyfen

Eena Kosik

Samir Datta

Isabel Sible


Nik Block



Jessica Zakrzewski, M.A.



Cassie Brown



Harika Reddy


Lily Gordon



Tracy Jerard


Kaitlin Johnson, Ph.D.

Samantha Wong


Oriel Fong

Nathaniel Morris