CHEAR: Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research


Project Coordinators

Martina Cotton

Lab Manager

Martina Cotton is currently the Lab Manager for the Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research. Martina has a strong background in accounting and financial management in university settings. Martina received her undergraduate degree in Communication from UCSD. Martina is responsible for the overall management of CHEAR, as well as supervising recruitment and coordination for the CHEAR programs and studies.

Chang Liu

Project Coordinator, iROC Study

After receiving her B.S. in nutrition from University of Maryland Chang continued her education in the Public Health program at Johns Hopkins University. As a Research Coordinator for the US Department of Agriculture collaborating with major institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University and Tufts University Chang participated in ground breaking nutrition research studies such as “Garlic Intake and Biomarkers of Cancer Risk” and “Effect of Trans Fatty Acid-Isomers from Ruminant Sources on Risk Factors of CVD.”

Chang Liu is currently involved in concurrent experimental and intervention studies as well as providing administrative support for the CHEAR clinic. One of her major responsibilities is to help families change their lifestyles and become healthier through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her research experience includes neuroimaging, biofeedback and other cognitive, social and behavioral assessment tools. She is interested in working with cue exposure and regulation treatments for overeating. Chang is the point-person for many of our new incoming families who are new to research studies.

Alfonso Robles

Project Coordinator, FIRME Study

Alfonso is a Research Assistant at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program. He completed his Bachelors of Science in Physiology at the University of Arizona in 2011. His past research experiences range from Cystic Fibrosis research at the NIH to understanding the prevalence of chronic disease along the US-Mexican border. Currently, he is the project coordinator for the FIRME study, a weight loss treatment program for children taught entirely in Spanish. He aspires to one day be able to apply his teachings here at UCSD as a primary care physician in order to improve the health status of similar populations.

Research Fellows

June Liang, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Fellow and iROC Project Coordinator

Dr. June Liang is a post-doctoral fellow at the UCSD Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research and UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Center. She received her Ph.D. from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and completed her clinical internship at the UCSD/VA Psychology Internship Program. Her research and clinical expertise includes family-based treatment for weight loss and eating disorders, culturally competent assessment and treatment in mental health services for diverse youth with various mental health disorders, and neuropsychological assessment for both children and adults. At the CHEAR lab, Dr. Liang is involved in weight loss intervention for childhood obesity, treatment development, clinical assessments and supervision of trainees, project coordination, and research examining neurocognitive correlates of pediatric obesity and obesity-related behaviors.

Stephanie Knatz, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Stephanie Knatz is a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSD Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research. Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from Alliant International University and has been involved with conducting research and delivering individual, group, and family interventions at the lab since 2009. Stephanie currently provides individual, family, and group treatments for eating and weight issues to both children and adults. Her research interests include treatment development, evaluation, and outcomes for eating disorders and obesity.

Dana Patton, M.D.

Research Fellow

Dr. Dana Patton-Ku is currently a fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at UCSD. She graduated from UCSF School of Medicine and completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Oakland. Her research interests are in treatments for childhood obesity.

Abby Marquart, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Dr. Abby Braden recently joined the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program as a post-doctoral fellow. She completed her clinical internship at the UCSD/VA Psychology Internship Program, and she earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Braden has clinical experience with working with obese adults undergoing bariatric surgery and delivering behavioral interventions to overweight Veterans. In addition to exploring the role of psychology in bariatric surgery, Dr. Braden’s research interests include emotional eating and the relationship between depression/ suicide and obesity.

Teresa Monreal, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Teresa Monreal is a post-doctoral fellow at the UCSD Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research. Teresa completed her Ph.D. from the Experimental Psychology program at the University of California at San Diego. Her past research has examined disordered eating in the Mexican-American community, and impulsivity in relationship to disordered eating and alcohol abuse. Teresa's current interests are in understanding the role of memory and attention in eating behaviors. At CHEAR, Teresa is involved in developing and evaluating novel interventions for disordered eating and obesity.

Graduate Students

Jordan Carlson

Jordan Carlson is a 4th year Doctoral Student in Public Health at UCSD. He earned his Masters Degree in Psychology in 2009 from San Diego State University. He works with Dr. Kerri Boutelle as an evaluator and statistical analyst for various projects related to treatment of obesity and eating disorders. His main appointment is with Active Living Research at UCSD, where his research involves identifying and promoting environmental and policy approaches to increase opportunities for physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors, particularly in youth.

Jen Madowitz

Jennifer Madowitz is currently a student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in 2008. She has worked as a research coordinator and psychometrist at Weill Cornell Medical College as well as the Veterans Medical Research Foundation. Jennifer’s research interests lie in the intersection of disordered eating and obesity, and the development and evaluation of treatments for obesity and eating disorders in diverse populations.

Brittany Matheson

Brittany Matheson is a first-year graduate student in the joint doctoral program in clinical psychology at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. She completed her bachelor of science degree in psychology at Duke University and spent two years at the NIH coordinating an adolescent weight-gain prevention study before joining the CHEAR team. Brittany currently works on both the FRESH and ROC studies, as is mentored by Dr. Kerri Boutelle.


Kristie Bergmann

Kristie Bergmann is pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University. She is currently working as a behavior interventionist for both the FRESH and ROC studies. Additionally, she is a third year practicum student at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program and provides individual and group therapy to adults with eating disorders. Her research interests include DBT as an intervention for adolescent weight loss and clinical interests include treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and EDNOS.

Corinna Correia

Corinna Correia is pursuing her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University California School of Professional Psychology. A San Diego native, Corinna received her undergraduate degree from University of California San Diego in 2007. She is currently working as a behavior interventionist for both the FRESH and iROC studies. Corinna'a research interests lie in the examination of emotional eating, and the treatment and evaluation of diverse populations.

Jacquelyn Corvan

Jacquie Corvan is originally from Los Angeles CA. She spent a majority of her life in Los Angeles and completed a bachelors and masters degree at Loyola Marymount University. She spent two years conducting obesity prevention research at the University of Southern California which inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University. She is currently working as an interventionist for the FRESH study. Additionally, she is a practicum student at Rady Children’s Hospital conducting short-term individual/family therapy for co-morbid medical and psychiatric conditions, specifically eating disorders. Her research interests include prevention and interventions for children who struggle with weight and incorporating evidence based treatments within medical settings.

Rachael Davenport

Rachael Davenport is a second year graduate student at Alliant International University; pursuing a PhD in Clinical Health Psychology. Rachael earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in psychology from UC Davis in 2010. She currently provides biofeedback at the UCSD Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research. Her clinical interest involves working with populations that have both medical and psychological diagnoses.

Brandi Eijsermans

Brandi Eijsermans currently works as a psychology practicum trainee in UCSD Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program and Rady's Weight and Wellness Program. She obtained her M.Ed. in Education with an emphasis of child development. She will receive her M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University in December 2012 and will receive her Psy.D. from AIU in May 2014. She is experienced in treating children, adults, and families providing individual and group therapy and specializes in working with diverse populations.

Rachel Millstein

Rachel Millstein is a student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology specializing in behavioral medicine. She obtained an MS in Clinical Psychology from SDSU and a MHS in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on multilevel interventions for obesity prevention (individual behavior change, youth advocacy, and nutrition and physical activity environment and policy changes). Clinically, she has worked with multiple age groups in varied settings including outpatient psychology, behavioral weight loss, and primary care mental health.

Jansyn Spradling

Laura Torres

Laura Torres is currently a research assistant at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program. She is a study coordinator for brain imaging studies looking at differences between women who have recovered from anorexia and/or bulimia nervosa. She graduated from UCSD with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in cognitive science. Her research interests include the neurobiologcial basis of eating disorders and treatment interventions for children who are overweight and obese. At CHEAR, Laura conducts baseline and follow-up assessments with families in the FRESH study.

Research Assistants

Cyrielle Hacher

Cyrielle is a first year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in Human Biology. Cyrielle is a student research assistant, helping with different aspects of the studies conducted at CHEAR. It is Cyrielle's goal to pursue her education and go on to medical school in order to become a pediatrician.

Nicole Phan

Nicole Phan recently graduated from UCSD with a B.A. in Human Development and a minor in Global Health. During her undergraduate career, Nicole held an internship position at Rady Children's Hospital working with children with feeding disorders. She also led a student-run community health outreach program, called the UCSD Health Corps, which targeted its efforts toward helping underserved communities in East and South San Diego County access basic health care services. During the fall of 2011, Nicole received a scholarship to study and conduct field research in health and community development in Kenya. Currently, Nicole is the FRESH Program Coordinator and a staff research assistant for the UCSD Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research. Nicole is looking to later pursue an M.S. in Public Health and Occupational Therapy.

Ramsha Shakil

Ramsha is an undergraduate student at UCSD studying Chemical Engineering. This is currently her second year at UCSD. Ramsha is currently assisting with the FRESH study and other research protocols at CHEAR.

Tran Tran

Tran Tran is a UCSD graduate in Biology and Human Development. Tran enjoys discovering new foods and restaurants, singing, going to concernts, playing guitar, and coffee! Tran also enjoys going on mission trips and traveling. Tran hopes to someday pursue a graduate degree in order to become a nurse practitioner. Tran is currently working with families involved in the FRESH study, conducting assessments for pre and post-intervention appointments.

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