Post-Doctoral Scholars

Kristen Eckstrand M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Eckstrand is a post-doctoral scholar on the Innovative Methods in Pathogenesis and Child Treatment (IMPACT) T32. Their research focuses on the neuropsychiatric underpinnings of trauma and resilience in adolescents, with an emphasis on minoritized communities and vulnerable populations. Their K award, examining the impact of emotional abuse on neural circuitry in sexual minority youth, is currently under review. Dr. Eckstrand’s research has been published in top-tier journals such as JAMA Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry, and has been recognized by Honorary Membership in the World Psychiatric Association and awards from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, and Society for Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Eckstrand has also published four textbooks on the mental and physical health needs of LGBTQ+ communities, including the training of healthcare professionals to provide affirming and responsible care to LGBTQ+ individuals. They are board-certified child & adolescent psychiatrist and internationally recognized for their leadership supporting the health of LGBTQ+ communities. Dr. Eckstrand founded the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ Health, co-directs the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s LGBTQ Health elective, and consults nationally on the importance of diversity and identity in health.


 David Baranger PhD



 David earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2010 and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the lab in September 2018 as a Postdoctoral Scholar. David is interested in the effects of environmental stressors (e.g. trauma and poverty) on the development of mood and substance-related disorders in adolescence.

 David can be reached at


For more information on his research click here


Previous Post-Doctoral Scholars


Luis Flores, Ph.D



Dr. Flores earned a B.A in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in clinical/community psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research uses experimental and naturalistic methods, including fMRI and ecological momentary assessment, to examine how close relationships and interpersonal functioning confer protection or risk in the development and clinical course of depression among adolescence and young adults.


Gabriela Alarcón, Ph.D


 Dr. Alarcón received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR. Her current research investigates gender differences in vulnerability for mood disorders in adolescence using fMRI.