Neuroscientist

Neuroscientist

Mariella Lauriola

Visiting Scholar

Mariella Lauriola is a PhD degree candidate in Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences at the University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara (Italy). She got her bachelor degree in biological psychology at the University of Padova (Italy) and her Master of Science degree in Psychology (curriculum of Neuroscience) at the University of Trento (Italy). Her main research interests during the last years have been normal and pathological aging, sleep, neuroimaging and cognition. As a part of her PhD clinical and research training, she is now visiting at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, where she is actively involved in data collection and neuropsychological evaluation of research participants, working closely with both Dr. Gil Rabinovici and Dr. Joel Kramer. In addition to her work, Mariella loves sports, nature and animals.

Maryana Alegro, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alegro joined the Grinberg Lab in 2015, aiming to research and develop advanced image processing techniques to improve the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases. She received her master of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of São Paulo Polytechnic School in 2009, where she focused on MRI brain tumor segmentation using machine learning. In 2014, she completed her doctorate degree at the University of São Paulo Polytechnic School, where her research focused on MRI and histology image registration. Dr. Alegro's research interests include color representation, for better segmentation and registration, and the use of advanced machine learning for image analysis.

Kamalini Ranasinghe, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kamalini Ranasinghe received her medical degree from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and completed her internship training in general medicine and general surgery. She earned her doctorate degree in Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas, under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Kilgard.

Dr. Ranasinghe is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the research group of Dr. Keith Vossel at the Memory and Aging Center. Her research centers on the network dysfunction of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Much of her work has been devoted to identifying the spatial and temporal characteristics network dysfunction using MEG-imaging of the brain.

Erik Johnson, MD, PhD

Clinical Instructor/Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Johnson is a Behavioral Neurology Fellow and a Scientist at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.

Alexandra Nelson, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Nelson is the Richard and Shirley Cahill Endowed Chair in Parkinson's Disease Research at UCSF. She is both a neuroscientist and behavioral neurologist, and is particularly interested in understanding neurodegenerative movement disorders. After undergraduate work at Stanford University, she received her medical and doctorate degrees in neuroscience at UC San Diego, where she studied cerebellar motor learning. She completed her Neurology residency and postdoctoral fellowship training at UC San Francisco and the Gladstone Institutes, where she studied basal ganglia circuits involved in Parkinson's Disease and dystonia. She joined the faculty at UCSF in 2014, establishing her laboratory in the Sandler Neurosciences Center. At the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, she provides care for patients and families with disorders of movement and cognition, such as Huntington's disease, spinocerebellar ataxia, and atypical parkinsonism and is part of the clinical and research team at the Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

Dr. Nelson's laboratory studies the cells and circuits involved in movement disorders, using a combination of mouse models of disease, electrophysiology, and neural stimulation techniques, including optogenetics. She hopes that this work will help distinguish brain regions, cells, and patterns of brain activity that promote normal movement from those that produce pathological movement, allowing more focused development of new treatments for movement disorders.

Hilary Heuer, PhD

Specialist

Dr. Heuer studies eye movements in aging and neurodegenerative disease as part of Dr. Adam Boxer's laboratory.

Benedetta Milanini, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Milanini recently received her PhD degree from the Catholic University of Rome. Prior to that, she graduated from La Sapienza University of Rome in July 2010 with a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychological Rehabilitation. Her PhD research focused on the identification of a cognitive screening test that is sensitive to the characteristics of neurocognitive impairment. Benedetta has published a manuscript on the usefulness of the MoCA screening test within the UCSF HIV Over 60 Cohort study in the Journal of AIDS. Benedetta's research continues to focus on cognition in HIV, particularly the issue of cognitive reserve.

Queena Lin

Postdoctoral Scholar

Queena (Li-Chun) Lin completed her PhD in neurobiology (Sibille Laboratory of Translational Neuroscience Program, University of Pittsburgh), with a focus on the selective vulnerability of GABAergic interneurons in human and mouse. She joined the Seeley Selective Vulnerability Research Laboratory in September 2014 and is studying the patterns of selective vulnerability in progressive supranuclear palsy and frontotemporal dementia by quantitative neuroanatomy and next generation sequencing.

Panos Theofilas, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Panos Theofilas joined the Grinberg lab at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2012. His research focuses on the neuropathological changes and susceptibility of subcortical brain regions in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Theofilas’ methodology includes analyses of human brain circuitries as a whole by combining unbiased stereology, immunohistochemistry/biochemical assays, and 3D computer graphics for histological brain volume reconstructions. His academic background includes a BSc degree in zoology and an MSc degree in neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He completed his PhD degree at Bonn University in Germany on programmed cell death signaling pathways in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Christine Walsh, PhD

Assistant Professor

Christine M. Walsh, PhD, received her BA degree in physiology from Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin in Ireland. Dr. Walsh did her doctoral work at the University of Michigan studying the effects of REM sleep modulation on learning and memory. She also studied the neural correlates of cognitive aging. In 2011 Dr. Walsh joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center where she has been studying sleep in both healthy older adults and in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Walsh is particularly interested in the contribution of sleep disturbance to cognitive decline.

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