Joshua H. Cho, MD, PhD (Director)
Director, UCLA Insomnia Clinic
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Joshua Hyong-Jin Cho, MD, PhD, MSc, FAPA, is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Director of the UCLA Insomnia Clinic, and a board-certified psychiatrist. Dr. Cho's research has focused on the role of inflammation in depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, three constructs often collectively named as 'sickness behavior'. He currently conducts epidemiological and translational studies pursuing clinical application of inflammation-related approaches. His clinical activities are focused on the treatment of insomnia and depression. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School, and completed his psychiatry residency first at the University of Sao Paulo and later at UCLA. He obtained a master's degree in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and completed a PhD program at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. He also trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA. He is the recipient of the NIH R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award, the NIH K23 Career Development Award, the UCLA CTSI KL2 Translational Science Award, the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, the UCLA MSTAR Best Research Mentor Award, and several other awards from institutions such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Psychiatric Association, Southern Psychiatric Association, American Psychosomatic Society, Korean Neuro-Psychiatric Association, Friends of the Semel Institute, and Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. His prolific scientific work has been published in prestigious journals including American Journal of Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry, and Neuropsychopharmacology.
Link to Dr. Cho's research publications >
Michael R. Irwin, MD (Co-Director)
Director, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology
Director, Mindful Awareness Research Center
Co-Director, UCLA Insomnia Clinic
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Michael R. Irwin, MD is the Cousins Center's Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is also Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA College of Letters and Sciences. Dr. Irwin is one of the world's foremost experts on the psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which psychosocial and behavioral factors influence health and disease. He pioneered basic studies to show that activation of receptor dependent mechanisms in the brain (e.g., corticotrophin releasing hormone) play a key role in the integration of the HPA, autonomic, and immune responses to stress. His clinical translational studies were among the first to demonstrate that β-adrenergic receptor mechanisms steered a reduction in anti-viral immunity and an increase in inflammatory responses. His research highlighted the role of these molecular pathways on infectious and inflammatory disease pathogenesis in older adults, in patients with depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and alcohol/cocaine use disorders. His ongoing work is focused on the reciprocal interactions between the immune and central nervous systems, the role of sleep disturbance on the molecular and cellular inflammatory signaling pathways that influence depression, and physical health risk with a focus on cancer survivors and older adults. Dr. Irwin's research has broadly integrated data from laboratory animal studies, epidemiological studies, clinical naturalistic history, prospective studies, experimental studies, and randomized controlled trials that have employed both behavioral and mind-body approaches. These examninations have resulted in publication of over 300 research articles and several books. Together, his research has been supported continuously for over 25 years by his PI leadership of over 25 R01 type awards from the National Institute of Aging, National Cancer Institute, National Heart Lung and Blood Disorders Institute, National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Irwin is past president of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society and of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and a Distinguished Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Psychiatrists. He was an associate editor of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, serves on the editorial board of Psychosomatic Medicine and of Sleep. He has received multiple national and international awards, and was twice the recipient of the Faculty Research Mentor Award from the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science at the David Geffen School of Medicine.
Link to Dr. Irwin's research publications >
Sara Assar, PsyD, MMFT (Therapist)
Sara Assar, PsyD, MMFT, is a licensed clinical and behavioral medicine psychologist at UCLA Semel Institute. Dr. Assar obtained her degrees from University of Southern California and California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Clinical Health Psychology, where she received specialization in assessment and treatment of complex chronic psychiatric and medical conditions, sleep disorders, and bariatric surgery. She also trained medical students to provide outstanding patient care through communication. Her clinical work has been awarded and presented at various national conferences to advance therapeutic efficacy. She utilizes evidence-based modalities with compassion through a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach. Her work emphasizes the influence of medical and psychological factors to support wellness and improve quality of life. Dr. Assar draws upon interventions from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), positive psychology, mindfulness, self-compassion, and motivational interviewing. She also maintains a private practice for psychotherapy and wellness coaching in Los Angeles, California.
Stella Chow, PsyD (Therapist)
Stella Chow, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at UCLA Semel Institute. She is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Professional Level (CMTP 0151), through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from UCLA and her Doctor of Psychology from Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology. She completed her two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Reiss-Davis Child Study Center, focusing on psychodynamic and psychoanalytic treatment for children and families. Dr. Chow completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 5 days Teacher Training from the University of California, San Diego in 2013. In 2014, she completed the year-long Training in Mindfulness Facilitation program at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and has been an instructor and mentor for the program ever since. Dr. Chow worked as a staff psychologist at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services, Pacific Clinics, and various private practices. She was an adjunct professor at Argosy University teaching counseling theories, ethics, and professionalism. She enjoys working with children, adults, families, facilitating mindfulness groups, and incorporating mindfulness in her clinical practice. She is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.
Jeffrey Young, PhD, CBSM, DBSM (Attending Psychologist)
Jeffrey Young, PhD, CBSM, DBSM is a psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of sleep, mood, and anxiety disorders. Dr. Young is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. He has been on the UCLA faculty for the past 16 years, teaches at the school of medicine, and lectures to various departments within UCLA Psychiatry. He is an attending psychologist at the UCLA Insomnia Clinic, supervising trainees in the practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). He also maintains a private clinical practice in Encino, California. His professional training and certifications include: PhD, Counseling Psychology, University of Southern California; Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology: Camarillo State Hospital; Psychologist License - California Board of Psychology; Behavioral Sleep Medicine Certification - American Academy of Sleep Medicine; and Diplomate, American Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
Stephanie Kremer, PsyD (Attending Psychologist)
Stephanie Kremer, PsyD, is an Attending Psychologist in the UCLA Insomnia Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Kremer’s clinical emphasis is in the areas of Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine and her background includes extensive work in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia and Chronic Pain. Dr. Kremer earned her Doctor of Psychology and Master of Arts from Pepperdine University after graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She completed her internship through the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute & Hospital and fellowship through the Veterans Administration, where she received specialized training in the treatment of complex, chronic medical and psychiatric conditions, insomnia, and chronic pain. Prior to joining the UCLA Insomnia Clinic, Dr. Kremer served on the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she was the Director for Behavioral Health Integration in the Primary Care Clinics. She was also previously a clinical psychologist in the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. Throughout her career, Dr. Kremer has enjoyed being a trusted supervisor and trainer, specializing in integrating behavioral health in medical settings. She has lectured frequently on evidence-based interventions for chronic pain and insomnia, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain, and Biofeedback Training. Dr. Kremer also maintains a private clinical practice offering telebehavioral health throughout California.