Research in Autism & OCD Fellowship

Faculty & Staff Members

Bonnie P Taylor, PhD Clinical Assistant Professor 

Dr. Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a Psychologist at the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program, and the Anxiety and Depression Program, at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Taylor supervises and mentors fellows, psychologists, nurses, coordinators and volunteers. She manages the program’s clinical and experimental therapeutic trials, heads recruitment, is responsible for diagnostic testing and also completes much of the clinical ratings in our studies. She plays a central role in study design, protocol and grant writing, as well as regulatory upkeep. Dr. Taylor is a co-investigator on two active federally funded studies.

Dr. Taylor completed her 2-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, she was a Clinical Instructor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where she conducted studies utilizing neuropsychological measures to predict antidepressant treatment response in depressed patients. Dr. Taylor published her findings, as a first author, in the high impact American Journal of Psychiatry. Currently, Dr. Taylor regularly contributes articles to peer reviewed journals, writes book chapters, and presents research findings at international meetings and conferences.

Casara Jean Ferretti, MS 

Ms. Ferretti is a Masters level Clinician and Clinical Research Associate at the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Eric Hollander, MD. Formerly, she served as the Research Coordinator for the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Ms. Ferretti has been working in research for over seven years, and is experienced in working with both adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Ms. Ferretti received her B.S. from Cornell University in 2006, and her M.S. in Neuroscience and Education from the Teachers College of Columbia University in 2008. She has managed both clinical and behavioral research studies in ASD and OCD. Her experience includes grant writing and development, regulatory and financial grant management and program oversight. Additionally, Ms. Ferretti is trained in the administration of neuropsychological assessments, gold standard autism assessments, and use of clinical tools such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and dysmorphology. She has managed a support group for siblings of children with ASD, and has received training in the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for children with anxiety disorders.

Ms. Ferretti has been published in multiple scientific journals and presented at conferences about her research. These include a presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research in 2009 and the Association for Chemoreception Sciences in 2005. She is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and received the Excellence Award from the Center of Autism Research for her work as a coordinator and clinician. Her background in education gives her a unique insight into the research field, and she has volunteered in both inclusion and autism specific classrooms. Ms. Ferretti has been trained in multiple research areas and is a well-rounded member of the research community.

Danya Schlussel, BA 

Ms. Schlussel is the Research Coordinator for the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum program. Her responsibilities include recruiting patients, overseeing the study enrollment processes, conducting clinical evaluations, navigating patients throughout the duration of their study participation and follow-up, and managing the regulatory aspects of these studies including all IRB submissions, federal quarterly reports, contracts and budgets, subject reimbursement, and sponsor correspondence. Ms. Schlussel has also submitted grant proposals and assisted on writing manuscripts and chapters for publication. She oversees overall study management on 3 trials, two of which are federally funded, studying pediatric Prader-Willi and Autism Spectrum Disorder populations. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brandeis University and is interested in studying neuro-developmental disorders in pediatric populations.


Current Fellows

Dr. Hollander currently oversees 5 research fellows: Genoveva Uzunova, MD/PhD, Elisabetta Burchi, MD and Vera Nezgovorova, MD, as well as Asif Rahman and Kevin Hong. These 5 fellows conduct research dealing with the diagnosis and clinical management of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome and related developmental disorders, and Depression, Anxiety, and related disorders. The fellows perform neuropsychopharmacological and health services research activities, participate in literature review, study and questionnaire design, focus group interview, data management, quantitative analysis and reporting of results.

Dr. Genoveva Uzunova is funded on an Einstein-New York State fellowship line.

Dr. Vera Nezgovorova and Dr. Elizabetta Burchi are funded on Montefiore fellowship lines.

Asif Rahman and Kevin Hong are funded by Einstein medical school fellowship lines.



The research fellowship has been ongoing since 2009, and has had a total of 13 research fellows. Fellows have been appointed to faculty at Einstein and other recognized medical schools.

Graduates from Dr. Hollander’s program have excelled in the field, and include:

  • Steve Poskar, M.D.
    Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program Fellow 
  • Laura Antar, M.D.
    Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program Fellow 
  • Jonathan Kirsch, MD
    Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program Fellow 
  • Rachel Noone, MD
    Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program Fellow 
  • Clewert Sylvester, MD
    Anxiety and Depression Program Fellow 
  • Marissa Miyazaki, MD
    Anxiety and Depression Program Fellow 
  • Anahid Kabasakalian, MD
    Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program Fellow 
  • Pooja Palkar, MD
    Anxiety and Depression Program 
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