Who We Are

Study Team

Principal Investigator


Jennifer Felder, Ph.D

Jennifer N. Felder, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. Her work focuses on developing, evaluating, and disseminating interventions to promote mental health during pregnancy and postpartum. Dr. Felder completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at University of Colorado Boulder, and her clinical internship at Duke University Medical Center.



Elissa Epel, Ph.D

Elissa Epel, Ph.D, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, at University of California, San Francisco. She studies psychological, social, and behavioral processes related to chronic psychological stress. With her collaborators, she has conducting clinical trials to examine the effect of mindfulness training programs on stress during pregnancy, and on parenting stress for mothers of children with developmental disorders. Dr. Epel studied clinical and health psychology at Yale University (PhD, 1998). She completed a clinical internship at the Palo Alto Veterans Healthcare System and an NIMH postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF.

Aric Prather, PhD

Dr. Prather is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF. His research focuses on complex interactions between psychological processes and sleep as they relate to physical and mental illness. Dr. Prather received his Ph.D. in Clinical and Biological & Health Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in August 2010 following completion of his Clinical Psychology Pre-doctoral Internship at Duke University Medical Center.


Project Coordinator

Brianne Taylor

Brianne is a Bennioff Community Researcher and has been extensively trained in inclusive and culturally affirming community research. She believes that an effective intervetion requires input and direction from the population being studied. She is a mother and a doula in training. Her hobbies include crafting with her daughter and the occasional sing-a-long in the rain. She is an advocate for the best quality of life and that begins with pregnancy. 

Esperanza Castillo, MS

Esperanza is primarily trained as a basic scientist, she holds a Master’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University where she studied stress as a function of the gut microbiome. Her broad research interests include studying health disparities, women’s health and stress. In her free time, she enjoys running, cycling, and her cat -- not necessarily in that order.

Research Assistant

Nhi Chu

Nhi Chu is currently a senior at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Molecular Cell Biology with an emphasis in Cell Developmental Biology. Her research interests include child psychology and preventative cancer methods. After graduation, she hopes to complete her M.D with a specialty in pediatrics. In her free time, Nhi enjoys traveling, running, and exploring new eateries in the Bay area.


REST Study Alumni 


Alison Hartman, BA- Project Coordinator 

Alison Hartman, B.A., was the Project Director for the REST Study from 2016-2018. Alison is currently pursuing her PhD at Drexel University in women's health psychology, with a particular focus on stress, sleep, and depression in perinatal women. In 2015, Alison earned her bachelor's degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests are in maternal mental health and women's reproductive health.


Angad Jhandi - Research Assistant

Angad is a sophomore at UC Berkeley currently pursuing a degree in psychology. He is specifically interested in how changing mind and behavior can contribute to better overall health. In his free time, Angad enjoys hiking, cooking, and music. After graduation he hopes to continue his education and pursue a career in the medical field.


Andrea Donis- Research Assistant

Andrea Donis is a 4th year student at UC Berkeley pursuing a B.A in Social Welfare. Her research interests include understanding mental health disparities across different communities. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology where she can look into these interests more deeply, and eventually incorporate them in her work as a clinician.


Joaleen Johnson- Research Assistant

Joaleen Johnson is currently pursuing her Master’s degree as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at UCSF. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2013. Since graduating, she has worked as a project coordinator at the Palo Alto VA on a study examining how sleep impacts cannabis use in Veterans and was a clinical interviewer for a study evaluating the efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Veterans with psychosis on the inpatient unit at the VA. Joaleen plans on pursuing a PhD upon completion of her Masters in nursing. Her research interests are focused on sleep as a transdiagnostic mechanism and area for intervention in the promotion of mental health across mental illness.