Psychological & Medical Anthropology Profiles

Morgen Chalmiers

Krista Eliot

Erica Fontana

Erica entered the anthropology program in the subfield of sociocultural/psychological anthropology. She received her B.A. in anthropology and journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She received her M.A. in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego and her M.A. thesis is title “Virtual Worlds, Real Subjectivities: Media Anthropology at the Personal/Public Interface”. Her research interests include psychological anthropology, anthropology of media, digital anthropology, museum studies, memory studies, personal and collective memory, anthropology of art, identity, agency, performance, practice theory, person-centered interviewing, nationalism, politics of history, Europe, Poland, Africa. She is conducting her research in Poznań, Warsaw, Gdańsk, and Lublin, Poland. Erica’s dissertation, which is in progress, is titled “Memory in Public: Changes in State, Nation, and Media in Contemporary Urban Poland”.

Amanda Howard

Amanda Howard is a psychiatric anthropologist with interests in cross-cultural psychiatry, pharmaceuticals, traditional Chinese medicine, and mental health in China. Her research focuses on the introduction and marketing of psychopharmaceuticals in China and the change in discourses of mental health, therapy, and stigma.

Ramsey Ismail

Ramsey is a 2nd year Medical Anthropology student who is interested in the intersections between diagnosis and stigma in Japan. His current work explores how the inexplicability of certain medical conditions accomplishes its own form of work, and how those diagnosed accept and refuse to identify with those diagnoses.

Over the summer, Ramsey volunteered at New Start, an NPO that reintroduces socially reclusive Japanese people into the society. In the past, he has worked March 11th tsunami recovery efforts in Iwate Prefecture, and regularly volunteers with various community service organizations in Tokyo.

Ellen Kozelka

Ellen Kozelka is a Psychological and Medical anthropologist. Her current research examines the cultural definition and lived experience of the “drug addict” living in a rehabilitation center within the Southern California, USA–Baja California, MX border zone. She participates in an international and inter-institutional project with El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California investigating the relatively recent proliferation of religious and secular/spiritual rehabilitation centers for illicit drug users in Tijuana, MX.

Her research interests include Latin America, the anthropology of Christianity, adolescence, global mental health, and emotional experience.

Before joining the UCSD Anthropology department, she completed her B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame (2012).

Amrita Kurian

Lauren Nippoldt

Lauren’s research explores the experiences of individuals who perform voluntary social work, seva, in Delhi, India. She investigates the motivation behind engaging in this work, experiences of wellbeing, and the occurrence of “burnout” among volunteers. She explores how practices of seva draw upon and transform social categories that individuals occupy and how those social categories differentially impact moral personhood through seva. Lastly, she explores how seva as a Sikh practice is part of communal healing.

Before joining UCSD, Lauren completed her BA in Anthropology and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Research Interests: Psychological & Medical Anthropology, South Asia, Care, Wellbeing & Moral Experience, Sikhism

Taciana Pontes

Christina Sackmann

Christina’s research focuses on the anthropological study of biomedicine and the experience of illness in “Western” societies, especially the United States and Germany. Her research is mostly encompassed in psychological and medical anthropology. 
For more information, see:


playadelcarmen_yoGuillermo Saldana-Medina

Guillermo Saldana-Medina started his studies in Anthropology at Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (2005) and his B.A. in Social Anthropology was granted at Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (2013), he holds a M.A. in Human Rights from Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (2015).

His main interest in sociocultural and bio-political implications of Mental Health has taken his research through several and distinct topics as Global Culture Industry, Public Politics and Human Rights. Guillermo’s fieldwork experience started as a research assistant in semi-rural areas in San Luis Potosí (2006-2010) among families whom contain psychiatric patients and adolescents with suicidal tendencies, by those years he took some courses in Social Work at Universidad Nacional de Luján (2009) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

His B.A. thesis fieldwork was carried out through the creative work from independent musical collectives in Mérida, Yucatán, México (2010-2012). In this context, music is articulated as a political and emancipatory struggle from youth Subjectivities within the Global Culture Industry terrain.

His M.A. thesis sets out a coverage of Human Rights diagnosis in mental institutions and tends towards an ethical and epistemological reconsideration to the classical notion of Subject of Human Rights. The fieldwork for this dissertation is realized mostly in a public mental institution in San Luis Potosí, México (2013-2015), and briefly, in a counseling department at Washington State University in Pullman (2015), where he achieved an academic stay in its Anthropology Department.

Guillermo has lectured courses in Ethnography and Body & Mind to psychology undergraduates (2010), History of Religion to diverse discipline undergraduates (2015-2016), and an intensive Anthropology & Sociology course to residents in Psychiatry (2016).

Julia Sloane

Julia received her B.A. in anthropology from UCLA where she researched phenomenology and music. After three years of studying human interactions with medical innovations, she has returned to academia to explore dementia and cognitive functions among the elderly population at home and abroad with an emphasis on Nepal. Her research interests are expansive and include: cognitive conditions and disorders, selfhood, intersubjectivity, and maladies and medical experience within a cultural context.

Annika Stone

Annika Stone is a psychological and medical anthropology graduate student. She received her B.A. in anthropology from San Francisco State University in 2008. She completed her M.A. in anthropology at San Diego State University. Annika’s research interests include childhood and adolescence studies, Latin America, bilingual education, cultural conceptualizations of psychological conditions, and subjectivity.

Miranda Wu


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