Research Fellows



Abigail Batchelder, PhD

Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Dr. Abigail Batchelder’s research focuses on the psychosocial underpinnings of health behaviors among underserved and marginalized populations. She is interested in developing interventions to address the unmet needs of individuals living with co-occurring physical and psycholosocial problems, or syndemics, that perpetuate health disparities (e.g., HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, diabetes, substance abuse and distress). Based on prior quantitative and qualitative work, she is interested in how self-conscious emotions relate to health behaviors within the context of stigmatized identities. In the TRIM fellowship Abigail is interest in leveraging her behavioral medicine and clinical psychology training to pursue multicomponent interventions that address unmet needs and foster modifiable precursors of resilience (e.g., emotional regulation, effective coping and self worth).

She graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with health emphasis, from Yeshiva University and an MPH in Sociomedical Science Research from Columbia University in New York. Abigail completed her clinical internship through the Clinical Psychology Training Program, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Public Service and Minority Cluster, with a focus on substance abuse.


Sarah Corey, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Sarah Corey, PhD’s research background is in neuroscience and immunology.  Prior to her graduate work, she conducted research on a number of diseases, including HIV-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition, through personal experience and a scientific curiosity, she developed an interest in gaining a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) treatments.

For her graduate work, she combined a passion for research with her interest in CAM at the University of Vermont, where she received a doctorate in Neuroscience.  Her predoctoral research focused on connective tissue, its intrinsic innervation, and response to inflammation.  In addition, she applied a tissue stretch intervention designed to be similar to stretch techniques used in some body-based (manual and movement) therapies.

In her future research, she wants to gain a better understanding of the structure and function of connective tissue, in addition to its pathogenesis and response to CAM interventions. In the TRIM program, she looks forward to evaluating clinically how yoga, massage, mindfulness practices and other CAM therapies can be used to influence pain and inflammation.  In particular, she is interested in how CAM interventions affect sensory and autonomic nervous systems, in addition to the immune and endocrine systems.

Her long-term goal is to use both basic science and clinical research strategies to work toward a greater understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings involved in CAM therapies.


Eve Ekman, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Eve Ekman’s research interest in burnout, meaning in work, and empathy among care providers was inspired by her clinical work as a medical social worker in the emergency department of San Francisco General Hospital. Coupled with her training as a teacher of the applied emotion regulation and mindfulness intervention Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), Eve dedicated her dissertation research to a) study the relationship between meaning in work, burnout and empathy and b) develop a pilot intervention to reduce stress and increase meaning in work and empathy based on CEB for guards in a juvenile jail in California.

Eve graduated with a doctorate in the spring of 2014 from UC Berkeley Department of Social Welfare, where she had received her masters in 2006. At the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Eve is continuing her research investigations and is developing trainings on meaning in work, burnout, and empathy for the hospital setting to support medical residents. Eve’s additional research interests are in developing an assessment to evaluate the impact of provider empathy on quality of patient care and using mobile devices and related health technology to support emotion regulation and mindfulness training for care providers. Her ultimate goal is to develop training interventions to fit into hectic work schedules and support providers in feeling empathy and meaning without burning out.


Ashley Mason, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Ashley Mason, PhD’s primary research interests rest at the intersection of psychological stress, self-regulatory capacity, palatability and craving, and the food reward process. Her research interests also include (1) associations among psychological stress, disease progression, inflammation, and cellular aging, and (2) for whom, and through what mechanisms, interventions with divergent theoretical underpinnings bolster self-regulation, health behavior, and health outcomes.

She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona (UA), where she studied associations between social connectedness and health as well as interpersonal perceptions of psychological distress in the context of stressful social events. She completed graduate clinical work in Behavioral Medicine at the Family and Community Medical Center at the UA Center for Integrative Medicine. She completed a Behavioral Medicine Clinical Internship at the VA Palo Alto Medical Health Care System.


Kelly McDermott, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


As a long time meditation and yoga practitioner, Kelly McDermott, PhD, has personal experience with the benefits of mind-body approaches to health. As a yoga instructor, she has also witnessed these effects in many others.  These experiences, in addition to her training as a health services researcher, have inspired much of her interest in research related to complementary and alternative therapies.

After receiving a doctorate from the University of Washington, where her work focused on cardiovascular outcomes, she began working on studies of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in veterans.  These studies evaluated how MBSR training affected symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, eating behaviors and measures of mental and physical health and wellbeing.

As a TRIM postdoctoral fellow, she hopes to investigate weaknesses in study design often found in yoga interventions.  Specifically, she is interested in determining whether there is a dose response relationship between yoga and changes in blood pressure among patients with hypertension. She believes such findings can improve the rigor of future yoga studies and the quality of evidence they provide.


Laura Saslow, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Dr. Laura Saslow has broad training in psychology with an emphasis on the antecedents and consequences of stress, health, positive affect, and clinical research.  Her long-term goal is to become a leader in creating effective, multicomponent interventions for improving psychological well-being and physical health.  She is particularly interested in interventions that capitalize on new technologies to deliver optimized, accessible psychobehavioral programs.


Helen Y. Weng, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF

Helen Weng, PhD is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who studies the impact of mindfulness and compassion meditation interventions on relational functioning and physical and mental health.  She is interested in how contemplative practices can improve relationships, and how this plasticity may be represented in the brain.  She would like to identify relational functioning as an important avenue through which mindfulness and compassion interventions may improve physical and mental health.

Helen is particularly interested in using multivariate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to capture the variability in which individuals’ neural functioning may change through contemplative interventions, and relate these changes to meaningful behavioral and health outcomes.  She is also interested in emotional coherence (cohesion across multiple emotional response channels), and how mindfulness and compassion interventions may enhance both intrapersonal and interpersonal coherence.  As a TRIM postdoctoral fellow, she will study the impact of mind-body interventions on metabolic syndrome and social stress, and relational processing in depressed adolescents.

Helen received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in clinical psychology.  Her clinical interests include integrating emotion-focused, mindfulness, and interpersonal process approaches to psychotherapy to treat mood disorders, with particular emphasis on the therapeutic relationship as a route to health.  She has taught contemplative interventions in individual settings with adults and teenagers, and in group settings for individuals with anxiety, borderline personality disorder traits, and HIV.   Helen values integrating multicultural approaches in her work and communication.

Rhianon Liu, MA

Osher Fellow, NCCAM Pre-doctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF


Rhianon Liu, MA, is a medical student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. As an undergraduate at Stanford University, she first grew interested in health through working abroad in low-resource settings in rural Zambia as well as in Cape Town, South Africa. During her post-baccalaureate premedical program at Johns Hopkins, she discovered the practice of yoga. Through her journey as a yoga student and now as a teacher, she has continuously been amazed by the power of “alternative” healing practices. In medical school, she conducted research on student wellbeing and has been involved with various wellness initiatives. As a pre-doctoral TRIM fellow, she is excited to pursue several of her passions by studying how to bring integrative medicine interventions to underserved populations. One day she hopes to combine her training as a doctor and a yoga teacher to approach her patients holistically and to promote a more inclusive conceptualization of health.

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