Physician

Dana McDermott, DO

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Dana McDermott is a behavioral neurology fellow at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Prior to joining the MAC in July 2016, she completed her medical education at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and her medicine internship and neurology residency training at the University of California, Irvine, where she served as a Chief Resident and studied the prevalence of parkinsonism in the oldest old with Claudia Kawas, MD. Currently, she participates in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with a variety of cognitive disorders in the clinic and through research. Her interests lie in the study of clinicopathologic correlations of neurodegenerative diseases that include a combination of cognitive and motor impairments, such as corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

Jamie Starks, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Jamie Starks joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in July 2016 as a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology. She completed medical school and neurology residency training at the University of Minnesota, where she served as a chief resident and co-director of the medical school’s neurology course in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Starks’ interests include education and dementia care models.

Jessica Deleon, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Jessica Deleon is a behavioral neurology fellow at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). She focuses on care of patients with cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer's dementia and frontotemporal dementia. Prior to joining the MAC, she completed her medical degree, medicine internship and neurology residency at UCSF. Her research interests include neuroimaging and the neural basis of speech and language, using primary progressive aphasia (PPA) as a disease model. She also has an interest in the socioeconomic factors that influence dementia care.

Monroe Butler, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Butler trained in Boston where he completed graduate studies in philosophy and ethics prior to completing his medical and doctorate degrees. His dissertation research explored non-motor features of Parkinson’s disease. He joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2016 as a behavioral neurology fellow with an interest in studying the neuroscience of valuation and decision-making.

Michael Erkkinen, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Michael Erkkinen joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center team in July 2016 as a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School before completing his medical internship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston. Before arriving at UCSF, he served as chief resident in neurology at the Partners Neurology Residency (combined Mass General-BWH program). Dr. Erkkinen is interested in understanding brain-behavior relationships as well as the neurobiological bases of speech, language and creativity. He sees patients with all forms of cognitive and behavioral disorders, both clinically and in the setting of ongoing research projects at the Memory and Aging Center.

Fanny Elahi, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Elahi is a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology.

Peter A. Ljubenkov, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Ljubenkov received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. During his training he took part in the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program at University of California, Los Angeles, where he investigated midbrain and basal ganglia pathology in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. He went on to complete his internship in internal medicine at University of California, Irvine, and his residency in neurology at University of California, San Diego. In 2015 he became a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology at the Memory and Aging Center at University of California, San Francisco. He currently evaluates and manages patients with a variety of adult-onset neurodegenerative cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia spectrum disease, Lewy body disease and Huntington’s disease, within clinical, observational research, therapeutic clinical trial settings. Dr. Ljubenkov’s current research focus involves validation of novel markers of frontotemporal dementia disease progression, particularly in the context of clinical trials.

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.

Joanna Hellmuth, MD, MHS

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Joanna Hellmuth, MD, MHS, joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in July 2014 as a behavioral neurology fellow. She provides care to patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and collaborates in the evaluation of patients for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) and frontotemporal dementia program project grant.

Julio C. Rojas, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Julio Rojas received his medical degree from the Tecnológico de Monterrey School of Medicine in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. He completed his doctoral studies in neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin with a dissertation on Strategies of neuroprotection in an in vivo model of retinal degeneration induced by mitochondrial dysfunction. He completed neurology residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. In 2014, he joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center where he is a behavioral neurology fellow. Dr. Rojas is part of the Clinical Trials team led by Dr. Adam Boxer in which he participates in patient evaluation and monitoring. He provides care to patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and collaborates in the evaluation of patients for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC), frontotemporal dementia program project grant and Rapidly Progressive Dementia Program. Dr. Rojas is interested in experimental neurotherapeutics, and his research focuses on biomarker development and cognitive enhancing interventions.

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