GFED Scholars

In 2012, GFED created the “GFED Scholars” Program. Exceptional young scientists from prestigious universities are provided GFED funding to pursue eating disorder research.  Their mission is to investigate and apply the latest advances in science to improve treatments for eating disorders in partnership with world-renowned mentors.  GFED Scholars focus their are selected at prestigious universities around the country and are focus their research on afflicted groups such as college students, adolescents and their families, adult women and their partners, sufferers with complicating difficulties, and under-served populations.

Britny Hildebrandt

Britny Hildebrandt, M.A., is currently a graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Michigan State University under the research mentorship of Kelly Klump, Ph.D. Britny received her B.S. in Psychology cum laude from Florida State University where she worked as research coordinator on a NIMH-funded R01 study (PI: Pamela Keel, Ph.D.) investigating the biological correlates of bulimia nervosa (BN) and purging disorder (PD). Since beginning her training at MSU, Britny has worked with Dr. Klump on research examining the biological underpinnings of eating disorders. Britny’s research has been supported by a pre-doctoral NIMH fellowship in neuroscience, she has published manuscripts exploring biological contributions to binge eating and weight preoccupation, and she has presented her work at several national and international conferences. Much of this work uses translational models to study neurobiological correlates of eating disorder symptoms across time and developmental stages. She has been particularly interested in understanding the role of the brain reward system in the development and maintenance of binge eating and eating disorders characterized by binge eating. Britny’s dissertation will specifically examine reward system differences in responsivity/sensitivity to binge eating at different stages of illness (i.e., early stage versus chronic stages) in order to determine what neurobiological factors might contribute to engaging in and maintaining binge eating. Britny’s long-term goal is to use findings on the etiology of eating disorders to help inform the development of more targeted treatments for these serious and debilitating conditions.

Tiffany Brown

Tiffany A. Brown, M.S., is currently a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Florida State University, under the research mentorship of Dr. Pamela Keel, Ph.D. Tiffany received her B.A. in Psychology summa cum laude from Villanova University in 2008. After graduating from Villanova, Tiffany sought out a position as a Research Associate at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Eating Disorders Research and Treatment Program, under the direction of Dr. Walter Kaye, M.D. At UCSD, she served as recruitment coordinator for several of Dr. Kaye’s NIMH-funded R01 studies on the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. While at UCSD, she also volunteered as a family liaison for a NIMH-funded, multi-site clinical trial of Family- Based (Maudsley) Therapy for adolescents with anorexia nervosa to gain further experience with treatment research. Since enrolling in the doctoral program at FSU, she has co-authored 13 peer-reviewed articles, 2 book chapters, and 15 poster and oral presentations in the field of eating disorders. Her research interests include eating disorder classification and assessment, investigating risk factors for eating disorders in males, and the application and development of novel methods in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Her dissertation combines the latter two lines of research by examining the efficacy of a cognitive dissonance-based eating disorder prevention program for gay males.

Cristin Runfola

Dr. Cristin Runfola is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders program. She graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Psychology in 2006, received her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University in 2011, and completed her Predoctoral Clinical Internship and T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at UNC-CH. She also received training in eating disorders research and treatment at Stanford University and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Runfola is passionate about eating disorders research, treatment, and advocacy. She co-developed and is primary collaborator for Embody Carolina, an organization dedicated to preparing college students to serve as compassionate and effective allies to those struggling with eating disorders. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of dysregulated eating and weight concerns in underserved populations and her primary interest is in developing and testing the efficacy of clinical interventions designed to improve outcome for eating disorders. She sees individuals with eating disorders in the outpatient setting and serves as a study therapist for clinical trials including Uniting Couples in the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa (UCAN) and Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa (CBT4BN). She has received extensive training in the provision of manualized cognitive-behavioral therapy in the context of clinical trial research. With support from GFED, she is currently adapting the UCAN treatment for couples in which one member has bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other eating disorders such as purging disorder or night eating syndrome. Dr. Runfola is a recipient of the APA Superior Research Award, the NIMH/AED Early Career Investigator Travel Fellowship Award, NEDA Top Fundraising Award, and UNC Martin S. Wallach Award for Outstanding Clinical Psychology Intern of the Year. She is also engaged in advocacy and holds leadership positions within the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED).

Stephanie Knatz, Ph.D

Dr. Stephanie Knatz is a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Center and second year scholar for the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders. Under the direction of Dr. Walter Kaye and through the support of GFED, Stephanie is responsible for a project aimed at developing new treatments for anorexia nervosa. Through this project, Stephanie is responsible for constructing and testing novel treatment strategies that are based on contemporary neurobiological findings. So far, these efforts have led to the construction of a five-module manual focused on targeting underlying neurobiological deficits, which is in the process of being tested at our clinic and laboratory. Through the support of GFED, the hope is that this important work will ultimately lead to national funding that will  contribute to further testing and dissemination of more effective treatments.

Joanna Steinglass

Dr. Steinglass received her MD from Harvard Medical School in 1999 and completed her residency training in psychiatry at Columbia Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute in 2003. She completed an NIMH Research Fellowship in Eating Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and joined the faculty of the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders in 2006. Her work has been supported by NIMH, NARSAD, the Klarman Family Foundation, and the Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation. Her principal areas of research are devoted to achieving better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the persistence of anorexia nervosa, as well as development and testing of treatment.

Luke Stoeckel

Dr. Luke Stoeckel, PhD, is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in patient-oriented neuroscience research. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard College, his PhD in Medical/Clinical Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his internship and postdoctoral training at MGH and Harvard Medical School (HMS). He is currently an Assistant in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, MGH and an Assistant Professor in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, HMS. From 2013 – 2014, Dr. Stoeckel will be a Visiting Scientist at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His long-term objective is to develop novel assessment tools and neuroscience-based individualized treatments for people with addictive disorders and putative addiction-like neurobehavioral variants of obesity and binge-eating disorder. This GFED award will be critical in helping Dr. Stoeckel accomplish his primary mentored research training aim to gain independent R01 research funding. These data will be used for a NIDA/NIDDK R01 submission to assess long-term weight outcomes (from baseline to 5 years post-surgery) and changes (from baseline to 2 years post-surgery) in brain function and disordered food intake behaviors resembling addictive behaviors. In addition to the GFED, his work is supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD), and the Charles A. King Trust.

June Liang

Dr. June Liang is a post-doctoral fellow in clinical psychology at the University of California San Diego, Eating Disorder Research and Treatment Program.  She is currently applying neurobiology research to the development of innovative treatments for eating disorders in adolescent and adult populations.

Alison Darcy

Alison Darcy, PhD is a Research Associate in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Dr Darcy has built an international reputation for her work on emerging technologies for facilitating implementation and dissemination of evidence based treatment.  She has contributed to the development of novel treatment approaches such as Cognitive Remediation Therapy, and has been involved in a number of National Institute of Mental Health-funded randomized clinical trials.  She was also a Senior Investigator on the DSM5 field trials in Stanford Clinics.  She is Co-Chair of the Academy of Eating Disorders Males and Eating Disorders Special Interest Group, and recipient of the Academy of Eating Disorders Early Investigator Award.