2022 Sandra G. Wiener Student Investigator Award, Sofia (Sofi) Cardenas

Sofia (Sofi) I Cardenas
Doctoral Student, Clinical Science 
University of Southern California   
Pronouns: She/Her
Sofi Cardenas is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow as well as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Science with a specialization in Child and Family Studies at the University of Southern California. Sofi completed her BAs in Psychology and Art at the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduation, she spent two years working as a Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in Dr. Ellen Leibenluft’s lab at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). At NIMH, she studied the pathophysiology and treatment of childhood psychopathology. As a doctoral student, Sofi is involved in research with her primary advisor, Dr. Darby Saxbe, as well as her close collaborator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Vidya Rajagopalan. In her research, Sofi uses interdisciplinary methodologies to assess the intersection of biological and social processes impacting parent mental health and caregiving behavior. Sofi’s research follows two lines of inquiry. In one line of inquiry, she uses neuroimaging and hormonal assays to clarify neurocognitive and endocrine processes supporting parent mental health and caregiving behavior. In Sofi’s second line of inquiry, she uses self-report measures and sleep actigraphy to assess how socially modifiable health behaviors (e.g., sleep quality, use of paid family leave) relate to parent mental health and caregiving behavior. The long-term goal of this research is to inform clinical and policy interventions during the perinatal period enhancing parent and child well-being.