Fitzgerald Lab

Location and Contact Information

Fitzgerald Lab
Herbert Pardes Building, New York State Psychiatric Institute
1051 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10032
United States

Principal Investigator

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric problem in children and adolescents. These disorders affect up to one-third of youth and lead to impairment across academic, social, and family domains. Our goal is to better understand anxiety disorders and develop effective treatments for children and families.

Our current research uses fMRI, EEG, and behavioral assessments to look for biomarkers of pediatric anxiety disorders to serve as neural targets for novel, mechanism-based treatments. We are interested in how evidence-based treatments may improve brain function in anxious youth. Read more about our current work on the studies page!

Lab Members


  • Nicholas Bustos, B.S.

    • Data Analyst

    Nicholas has a background in bioinformatics and training in clinical neuroimaging, with previous experience working as an MRI Analyst at MUSC. His focus is on applying advanced signal processing methods towards mapping information transfer in neural systems, specifically to create neuropsychiatric connectivity phenotypes that can inform and advance clinical treatments. Previous work has probed neural mechanisms of attention and evaluative processes in shaping behavior within the context of anxiety and substance use disorders. His current research utilizes human neuroscience methods (fMRI, psychophysics) to form models of brain function and illuminate principles of network organization in health and disease. Nicholas will be working with Dr. Fitzgerald’s research group as a data analyst.

  • Sherry Chen, B.A.

    • Research Assistant

    Sherry works as a Research Assistant for the Kidpower study. Sherry graduated from the University of Michigan in December 2022 with a degree in Psychology and Communications. As an undergraduate student, she worked with Dr. Kate Fitzgerald in her OCS study and Dr. Soo-Eun Chang in the Speech Neurophysiology lab. She completed a thesis about beta power oscillations while listening to isochronous tones in stuttering. She is particularly interested in pediatric anxiety and OCD, and she plans on pursing these interests in her post-bacc career. In her free time, Sherry enjoys pottery, cooking, and café hopping.

  • Dana Diaz, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Dr. Diaz is a T32 postdoctoral research fellow working under the co-mentorship of Drs. Kate Fitzgerald, Rachel Marsh, and David Pagliaccio. Her research employs fMRI and autonomic measures to study the brain mechanisms that contribute to biases in threat processing and cognitive control in anxious youth. Dana received her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and completed her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

  • Rebecca Grossman, Ph.D.

    • Clinical Assessor

    Rebecca is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in early childhood anxiety and behavioral challenges. In addition to working within the Fitzgerald Lab, she is clinical faculty at Columbia’s ABC Early Childhood Program where she provides evidence-based behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatment to families of children ages 2-8 years old. She completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Miami as her clinical internship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University. She has clinical expertise in cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, and behavioral parent training (certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy).

  • Briana Hay, B.S.

    • Research Assistant

    Briana works as a Research Assistant for the Kidpower study. She graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2023 with a B.S. degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. As an undergraduate student, Briana spent 2 years assisting Dr. Fitzgerald where she developed interests in mental health and wellness. In the future, Briana hopes to further her clinical and research interests by attending medical school. Outside of research, Briana loves running and walking in Central Park, trying new coffee shops, and exploring the city.

  • Ann Iturra, Ph.D.

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    After receiving her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Valparaiso, Chile, Dr. Iturra worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School / McLean Hospital with Drs. Carol Paronis and Jack Bergman in the Behavioral Pharmacology Lab, as well as with Dr. Diego Pizzagalli in the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research. She is currently working under the co-mentorship of Drs. Kate Fitzgerald and Melanie Wall, generating data-driven approaches for the diagnostics of anxiety and depression in children using high dimensional multimodal psychiatric research data.

  • Natalie Javadi, Ph.D.

    • Clinical Assessor and Research Associate

    Natalie is a licensed psychologist who serves as a clinical assessor and research associate on the Kidpower study. Natalie received her B.S. in applied psychology from New York University and her Ph.D. in psychology (clinical science) from Florida International University. She has extensive experience assessing and treating youth with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, disruptive behaviors, developmental delay, and autism spectrum disorder and specializes in cognitive-behavioral, exposure-based, and behavioral parenting interventions. Natalie’s program of research focuses on optimizing youth mental health care through innovative treatment redesign. She is particularly interested in developing an evidence-base for informed clinical decision-making for individuals who exhibit slower or fewer improvements throughout the course of treatment, as well as examining the utility of delivering care in naturalistic settings, in intensive doses, and/or with the support of technology.

  • Caroline Risdon, B.S.

    • Research Assistant

    Caroline works as a research assistant for the Kidpower study. Caroline graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 with a B.S. in Neurobiology. As an undergraduate student, Caroline worked in a research lab studying youth with post-traumatic stress disorder where she developed an interest in pediatric mental health. After college, Caroline spent two and a half years delivering services based in applied behavior analysis (ABA) to children with autism spectrum disorders. Caroline plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, specializing in the research and treatment of child and adolescent anxiety disorders.

  • Julia Weisman, M.A.

    • Lead Camp Counselor

    Julia is a 5th year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Candidate at Hofstra University. At Hofstra, she is a clinical trainee in the Child and Parent Psychological Services clinic where she provides therapy to children, parents, and families with various psychological disorders. She has completed clinical externships at the NYU Child Study Center, where she specialized in ADHD and selective mutism, and at Bellevue Hospital on the child inpatient unit. She is conducting her dissertation research on utilizing Parent-Child Interaction Therapy specifically for fathers. Julia leads cognitive training and child-led play interventions for Dr. Kate Fitzgerald’s “Camp Kidpower” study.