UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Clinic
UCSD Obsessive - Compulsive Disorders Clinic
5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 334-4640


Research Team

Sanjaya Saxena, M.D. is Professor in Residence in the UCSD Department of Psychiatry. Additionally, he is the Director of the UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program and the VA San Diego Anxiety Disorders Clinic. His research focuses on the neurobiology and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders. He and his research team use functional brain imaging to understand the brain circuits and systems that mediate OCD symptoms, to reveal how effective treatments work in the brain, and to predict response to various types of treatments. Recently, Dr. Saxena has been studying specific subtypes and variants of OCD such as Compulsive Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), to understand their neurobiology and develop better treatments for these disabling conditions. He has authored or co-authored over 50 scientific articles and book chapters and has presented his work at many major national and international scientific meetings. He has received awards and grants from the American Psychiatric Association, American Neuropsychiatric Association, National Institute of Mental Health, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. Dr. Saxena serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation and is a consultant to the DSM-V Workgroup on Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. His research has garnered attention from local and national media, and he has been featured on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, BBC News, the New York Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, Washington Times, Time Magazine, Discover Magazine, Reader's Digest, and many local TV news programs. Dr. Saxena was elected into Best Doctors in America in 2005, 2007, and 2009, was elected into America’s Top Doctors in 2008. Dr. Saxena is also heavily involved in teaching psychiatric residents and medical students at UCSD. In 2007, he won the UCSD Department of Psychiatry Faculty Teaching Award. He is also active in community education, giving many presentations for local, national, and international medical and mental health groups. Dr. Saxena also served as the psychiatric consultant for the motion picture, “As Good As It Gets” (Sony Pictures, 1997), in which the lead character, played by Jack Nicholson, suffered from OCD.

Carl Hoh, M.D. is Associate Professor of Radiology, and Chief, Division of Nuclear Medicine at UCSD. Dr Hoh has been performing quantitative PET research protocols from 1989-present and serves as a Co-Investigator on this project. All PET scans in this study will be performed at the UCSD PET Facility and supervised on-site by Dr. Hoh, who has completed radiation safety training and is licensed by the UCSD Radiation Safety Office to use radioactive isotopes for human subjects. Dr. Hoh is the Nuclear Medicine physician who will be the Responsible User, overseeing all use of radionuclides. Dr. Hoh is board certified by the American Board of Radiology. He has a California medical license and clinical privileges at UCSD. Dr. Hoh has multiple publications on quantitative PET imaging.

Catherine R. Ayers, PhD, ABPP is the Program Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the VA San Diego Healthcare System and Assistant Clinical Professor at University of California, San Diego. Her clinical and research interests include the treatment of late life anxiety disorders, OCD, and compulsive hoarding. She received a grant from the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation to examine psychotherapy treatment response in older adults with compulsive hoarding.

Jennifer Sumner, Ph.D. is a fourth-year Post-Doctoral Fellow and Staff Research Associate (III) in the UCSD OCD Research Program. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology with a sub-specialty in neuropsychology. Dr. Sumner manages the neurocognitive testing, analysis, and interpretation for the OCD laboratory. She also supervises subject recruitment and screening for all study participants. She has had extensive training in neurocognitive assessment of adults and several years of experience doing neuropsychological testing, research, and rehabilitation in patients with anxiety disorders and cognitive impairment. She has also worked on structural brain imaging and cortical plasticity research studies yielding several scientific publications.

Brandon Barrios, M.A. is currently a third-year graduate student at Alliant International University. He assists Dr’s. Saxena, Ayers, and Sumner with data entry and analysis, clinical assessments, and recruitment. In addition to working in the OCD lab, Brandon holds a clinical practicum position at Bayview Behavioral Health campus a part of Paradise Valley Hospital.

Tina Levesque is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of San Diego, where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. She has been assisting Dr.’s Saxena and Sumner as a research assistant for two months. Her primary responsibility is the recruitment of subjects, but she is also training to become an MRI technician. In addition to her responsibilities in the OCD lab, Tina is collaborating with Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, PhD to complete her own research and honors thesis presentation regarding students' attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicine.



University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: psychiatry@ucsd.edu