Rachel S. Brezis, PhD, FPR
Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture and Neuroscience, UCLA
Faculty Sponsor: Thomas Weisner
Rachel S. Brezis, PhD, is a developmental psychologist specializing in autism – at the nexus of biological, psychological and cultural constraints. Dr. Brezis received her PhD in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago in 2011, and her BA in Psychology and Amirim Interdisciplinary Honors Program from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in 2006. Her main research interest focuses on autism as a case study for understanding the neuropsychological bases of cultural development. Her dissertation work examined the development of social and non-social memory in children and adolescents with autism, using qualitative interviews, clinical assessments and fMRI. Her MA work examined the relation between Theory of Mind and religious development in Jewish children and adolescents with autism in Israel.
Dr. Brezis currently holds the Foundation for Psychocultural Research Postdoctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture and Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. In this capacity, she is working with Tom Weisner and Tamara Daley (co-PI’s) as the project director for a series of studies on autism in India – in collaboration with Action for Autism, India. The project’s first study is an evaluation of an Indian parent-training program for parents of children with autism; the second study will be a study of adults with autism in India. Together, these studies will provide an important lens onto the interaction of culture, brain, development and mental health.