Meet our wonderful Team:



Dr. Irina Strigo, Lead Investigator

Dr. Irina Strigo, our lead investigator, completed a joint post-doctoral fellowship with the UCSD
Department of Psychiatryand the Barrow Neurological Institute Atkinson Pain Research
Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her Ph.D. and Physiology from McGill
University in Montreal, Canada. The Canadian Institute of Health Research funded her doctoral studies,
which entailed psychophysical, pharmacological, and fMRI analysis of visceral and cutaneous pain in humans.
Research Focus
Dr. Strigo uses psychophysical and brain imaging approaches to study experimental pain perception in
various psychiatric disorders, such as Major Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorders
and Traumatic Brain Injury. The long-term goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms leading to co-morbidities
between chronic pain and psychiatricconditions
To find out more about her work see her full profile at:


Dr. S. Thaddeus Connelly, Research Fellow




Dr. S. Thaddeus Connelly, research fellow, received a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Columbia University in
New York, completed an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency, obtained a Medical Degree and Ph.D. from
the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Connelly is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and an
actively practicing, Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon with a clinical subspecialty in treating temporomandibular disorders.
He has been involved in pain research throughout his clinical training, however, his doctoral studies
focused on investigating how the stromal tumor microenvironment contributes to the development
and aggressiveness of human oral squamous cell carcinoma. This is work that evolved from his interest
in oral cancer related pain.
Research Focus
Dr. Connelly is currently taking a clinical approach to investigating the mechanisms that generate and maintain
chronic pain conditions such as temporomandibular disorder and their relationship to Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder. The long-term goal of this research is to develop clinical protocols that can successfully intervene and
lessen the impact of these often co-morbid conditions.


Ben Alter, Research Physician

Ben Alter, M.D., Ph.D. is a resident physician training in anesthesia at UCSF. He trained in medicine and pain neurobiology
at Washington University in St Louis. His interests include pain mechanisms and clinical pain management.


Nidhi Anamkath, Study Coordinator

Nidhi Anamkath is the study coordinator for the Emotion and Pain Laboratory. She received her
B.A. from the University of California Berkeley in Psychology. There, she worked as a research assistant in a
mood and sleep lab and completed a thesis titled "An Evaluation of Perfectionism as a Specific Factor
for Generalized Anxiety Disorder", which received highest honors.
Research Focus
Her research interests include: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, co-morbid psychiatric disorders, and treatment development


Alyssa Mullenix, Research Assistant

Alyssa Mullenix is a research assistant for the Emotion and Pain Laboratory. She is a junior currently working toward
her B.S in Biology with minors in chemistry and neuroscience at the University of San Francisco (USF). Previous to the Emotion and Pain
laboratory, she completed summer internships at Stanford University studying Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as USF for physical chemistry.
Upon completion of her B.S, she would like to pursue her Ph.D. and a career in neurological research.
Research Focus
Her research interest include: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alzheimer's


Erza Mauer, Research Assistant
Ezra Mauer is a research assistant in the Emotion and Pain Laboratory. He received his bachelor’s degree in Middle East studies from Brown University.
While at Brown, Ezra did research on identity development in Israeli public schools.
He is currently a student in UC Berkeley’s Post-Baccalaureate Psychology Program, a research assistant in Berkeley’s Family and Culture Lab, and a hotline volunteer with San Francisco Suicide Prevention.
Following the post-bac, Ezra hopes to go on to a PhD program in clinical psychology.


Kathleen Mak, Research Assistant

Kathleen Mak is a volunteer in the Emotion and Pain Laboratory. She received her B.S. in Biology from Emory University.
Her interests include learning about Post-Traumatic Stress and working with at-risk youth in her community.



Leo Vinogradov, Research Assistant

Leo Vinogradov is a volunteer at the Emotion and Pain Laboratory with computer science skills.
He is in charge of overseeing hardware and software issues in the lab. He is currently enrolled in a dual high school and college program at CCSF and is very interested in neurology, cognitive science, and computers.


Sergio Garcia, Research Assistant


Sergio Garcia is a research assistant for the Emotion and Pain Laboratory. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley.

He is interested in learning more about the inner workings of the brain and how it is that disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can alter brain activity. After gaining more research experience, Sergio hopes to obtain a PhD in Neuroscience.