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Schizophrenia Research Forum Team

Hakon Heimer, Executive Editor

SRF editor Hakon Heimer learned the ropes while researching and writing for the Alzheimer Research Forum. In 2002, armed with the donation of the powerful and elegant Alzforum software—and valuable advice from founder June Kinoshita—Heimer set out to find support for a Schizophrenia Research Forum, eventually gaining funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and NARSAD, the Mental Health Research Association.

Before turning full-time to the SRF, Heimer was a free-lance writer/editor specializing in neuroscience and related clinical specialties. In addition to his work for Alzforum, he coordinated media affairs for the American Neurological Association, and wrote for several of the National Institutes of Health, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the American Brain Tumor Association, and others.

Heimer's path to the journalistic life was typically meandering. He was an undergraduate English major at the University of Virginia, but a chance summer job landed him in a neurobiology of memory laboratory, where the exploration of the brain/mind relationship began to fascinate him. While working variously as a newspaper reporter, copy editor, and lab technician, he boned up on science and soon found himself a neurobiology graduate student at Duke University. Several years later, while doing his dissertation research (correlating appetitive behavioral development in neonatal rats with neuroanatomical and molecular developmental events), Heimer took leave to travel most of the length of the Amazon River as part of a BBC film expedition. At some point as he floated through the jungles of Peru, he realized that he wasn't formatted to be a bench scientist.

After leaving graduate school, Heimer spent several years as the managing editor and senior medical writer for Analytical Sciences, Inc., a contract research organization. He now lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he practices creative writing, rowing, and bad tennis.

Elaine Alibrandi, Web Producer

Elaine Alibrandi, a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art, exhibits her mixed media works at museums and galleries around the world (see artwork). She is a factotum, doing freelance design, Web production, writing, and editing for clients ranging from publishing companies to research websites and covering topics such as neuroscience, biology, mental health, art, history, education, marketing, finance, and more. The work offers hours flexible enough for Elaine to focus on her art. Her poetry has been published extensively in literary journals and magazines.

Summer Allen, Science Writer

As a neuroscience PhD student and postdoctoral associate, Summer studied voltage-gated calcium channels, including those that have been implicated in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. After realizing that she loved writing about science and talking to scientists more than running gels, she began her freelance science writing career. She now writes about neuroscience, biology, and science policy for a variety of publications and websites (see

In her free time, Summer enjoys exploring Rhode Island's hiking trails and (sometimes odd) culinary delights with her husband and two kids.

Alden Bumstead, Consulting Editor

Alden Bumstead was involved with the inception of SRF, having been instrumental in the search for funding and institutional support for the website. Besides her work for the Schizophrenia Research Forum, Alden writes grant proposals for small social justice and service organizations. Alden grew up in Washington, DC, and Paris, France, and currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with husband Hakon Heimer, children Kaia and Arlo, and dog Charley.

 Jason Darrow, IT Consultant

Born and raised in central Connecticut, Jason holds a B.S.B.A in Management of Information Systems from Northeastern University and an M.S. in Information Technology from Bentley College. He now lives outside of Boston Massachusetts, and makes a living as an IT consultant. In his free time he likes to hike, snowboard, kayak, and play video games with his son Ryan.

 Michele Solis, Science Writer

After spending 15 years doing her own research, Michele is now putting her Ph.D. in neuroscience to work as a science writer. Since 2007, she has written for both scientist and general audiences about a variety of brain-related topics, including autism, sleep, human genetics, and linguistics (see She finds that her scientist years spent recording from neurons in a dark room in the lab by herself has prepared her well for the freelancer's life of typing in a dark basement office at home by herself.

Beyond work, she is an avid bicyclist, using her cargo bike to transport two kids and then some around the streets of Seattle.

Nico Stanculescu, Event Coordinator

When asked what she does for a living, Nico usually answers, "What do you need?" And it is with that attitude that Nico approaches most projects and searches for solutions. Whether it is marketing events, dealing with vendors, coordinating discussions or finding answers, it's all, according to her, a matter of perfectibility (and not perfection), continuance (against permanence), interdependence (above independence) and, of course, above all, common sense.

Nico lives in Chicago (where she [still] cannot park parallel) and owns a meeting and event planning company, World Events Forum, Inc.