Washington University School of Medicine



photo of WERC director Daniel Mamah

Daniel Mamah, MD, MPE

Dr. Mamah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Director of WERC. He graduated from Semmelweis Medical School in Budapest, Hungary and completed his psychiatry residency at Washington University. He did an NIMH research fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology and biostatistics at Washington University, where he obtained the degree of Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology (MPE).

Dr. Mamah was the founding President of the Missouri Psychiatric Association and a past President of the Eastern Missouri Psychiatric Society. He has previously served on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Task Force, overseeing the development of DSM-5. He is a recipient of multiple grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a NARSAD Young Investigator Award recipient, and the Biobehavioral Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) recipient from the NIMH. Dr. Mamah is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA).


photo of Samantha Alexander

Samantha Alexander, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

Sam graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with honors, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She later received her MSW from University of Missouri- Saint Louis, where she completed the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Fellowship and obtained a certificate in Violence Prevention through Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work. While her passion lies in direct practice, she also has experience in program management and grassroots organizing. Sam brings a decade of working with young people in various capacities, including homelessness prevention, sexual health education, crisis intervention, psychotherapy, and anti-trafficking initiatives- both stateside and in Ukraine- to WERC.

photo of Selena

ShingShiun (Selena) Chen

Neuroimaging Engineer

Selena graduated from Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan with her B.S. in Electronic Engineering and obtained her M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. She is interested in Digital Signal and Image Processing, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Data Analysis. Her work currently focuses on the development of biomarker identification for psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) via machine learning techniques to develop new clinically validated diagnostic techniques.

photo of Masoomeh Faghankhani

Masoomeh Faghankhani

Graduate Student Research Assistant

Masoomeh Faghankhani, an MPH student specializing in Mental and Behavioral Health Sciences, is working with Dr. Mamah as a graduate student research assistant at WERC. She received her Medical Degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. After graduation, she served as a primary care provider and public health practitioner in low-access areas with less advantaged populations in the south of Iran for two years. Then, she worked as a research scholar at the Mental and Behavioral Health Research Center for several years. Her past works focused on studying the integration of Evidence-Based Medicine and Public Health principles in studying mental and behavioral health issues, including psychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders. She is contributing to the Psychosis Risk Outcomes Network (ProNET) project aiming to better understand the causes and course of the earliest stages of psychosis. She is interested in reducing the disparity and collateral damage of psychotic disorders through early recognition and quality management of the diseases. She is also interested in studying the dissemination and implementation sciences in public mental and behavioral health to achieve mental and behavioral health equity through evidence-informed policies and the built environment. She is so excited to be part of WERC research team which is providing her with the opportunity to learn more about the clinically high-risk population (CHR or UHR) for psychosis, their concerns, and their needs.

photo of Dawn Garzon

Dawn Garzon PhD, CPNP-PC, PMHS

Nurse Practitioner

Dawn Garzon has almost 30 years’ experience as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist. She graduated from the University of Miami (BSN), the University of Florida (MSN), and received a PhD in Nursing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She did a NIMH research fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology and biostatistics at Washington University, where she obtained the degree of Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology (MPE). She is currently enrolled in a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner post-graduate certificate program at the University of Missouri and anticipates finishing in December 2023.

Dawn's clinical experience includes primary care and both inpatient and outpatient child and adolescent psychiatry. She is a past president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Dawn is passionate about providing high-quality, evidenced-based care that considers the unique qualities and needs of each individual.

photo of Staff Therapist Ayleen Gomez

Ayleen Gomez Lopez, MA, LPC

Staff Therapist

Ayleen graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University in Miami. She later obtained her MA in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Ayleen has been a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Missouri since 2014. She has extensive experience working in various settings, including outpatient behavioral health, substance use treatment, crisis work, and community mental health. Ayleen is the primary clinical therapist at WERC and provides various evidence-based treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Person-Centered Therapy.

photo of Malana Kanallakan

Malana Kanallakan

Clinical Research Coordinator I

Malana is a graduate from Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville Illinois. She is a Certified Medical Assistant and has over 15 years of combined experience working in the fields of pediatric and adult medicine, as well as clinical research. She wants to make an impact on the lives of others in a positive way and has a passion for working closely with people and has empathy for all. In her free time, she loves to travel and enjoys doing anything outdoors or sports related.

photo of Aakash Patel

Aakash Patel

Neuroimaging Engineer

Aakash graduated with B. E. in Mechanical Engineering from LDRP Institute of Technology and Research in India and obtained his M. S. in Mechanical Engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo. His thesis at Canon Stroke & Vascular Research Center (UB) was focused on creating a novel methodology to segment Intracranial Aneurysm (IA) from localized CTA images using Convolutional Neural Network (CNN). He is passionate about developing end-to-end pipeline focused on finding insights from medical image data using Signal and Image Processing, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Data Analysis.

photo of Sedina Rahmanovic

Sedina Rahmanovic

Administrative Coordinator I

Sedina is the Administrative Coordinator for the Washington Early Recognition Center. Sedina received an Associate’s Degree in Medical Administration from Missouri College in 2004 and has used these skills for almost two decades from various medical environments to WERC. Sedina is skilled in coordination of care and brings empathy and compassion to every patient she interacts with. Sedina is fluent in several languages including English, Bosnian, French, Swedish, and Serbian. When Sedina isn’t providing exceptional coordination at WERC, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.

photo of Megan Sneed

Megan Sneed

Professional Rater II

Megan graduated from Logan University in chesterfield Missouri with a bachelor’s of science in human biology. She is a certified clinical laboratory assistant with a background in a clinical research as well as has been a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician since 2015. Her time in emergency medicine made her discover her passion for mental health and she brings her skills and experience to where research and psychiatric disorders meet.

photo of Alaina Yarber

Alaina Yarber

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Alaina graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri- St. Louis with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She went on to work in neuroendocrinology and addiction research in animals, before transitioning to clinical coordination in industry-sponsored neurological trials. It was during this time that she gained invaluable experience as a rater. She saw the impact of psychosis secondary to dementia on her participants and their families during this time, which led to her transition into psychiatry, and her passion towards earlier psychosis/related disease detection, and lessening impact on function in life from such conditions.