Technical Professional

Matt O’Brien


Matt O’Brien manages the data for the Memory and Aging Center. He works to maintain the integrity of the research data generated through the Center, by collecting, cleaning, maintaining and visualizing it. He works in R, Python and SQL.

His professional background includes experience in biomechanics, mathematics, and data science. He received his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from San Francisco State University and completed his graduate work at University of San Francisco in Analytics in 2014.

Michael Schaffer

Director of Technology

Michael holds a BSE in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. With over 30 years of software development, technology strategy and management experience, Michael Schaffer has led teams at companies large and small in the design and implementation of a wide variety of technology-based projects. As an independent consultant, Michael has advised a number of clients in system architecture and in organizational design; he also performs technical due diligence for private equity and similar investment funds.

Michael is currently serving as the Director of Technology at the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF; he leads a small team in the development of technology solutions to support the research and clinical care of the center, including workflows for automated digital image processing and DNA / protein analytics, and the development of tablet-based cognitive testing tools.

From 2001 to 2009, Michael served as the VP of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer of Alibris, Inc., the leading independent marketplace for used and new media products (books, movies and music). At Alibris, Michael was responsible for all software design and development activities, and 24x7 technical operations; he led multiple platform migration projects, including moves to a new accounting system, a new inventory system, and a new web site application platform.

For the past eight years, Michael has taught a Professional Skills Workshop class to second-year master’s students at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Graduate School of Information.

Charlie Toohey

Manager of Technology and Data Management

Charlie Toohey is the Manager of Technology and Data Management at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. He is the senior software architect for the LAVA Clinical Research Management System, a comprehensive database of patient assessment, laboratory and diagnostic data which supports many inter-related research protocols. LAVA source code is available on GitHub in the “lava” repository. His background is in enterprise level application development with an emphasis on web-based applications and data modeling. His focus is turning to big data and virtual computing and finding solutions to the problem of linking disparate types of patient data, including raw, unstructured data, in ways that would allow researchers to query and analyze it. He has worked in a variety of industries as a software engineer, ranging from semiconductor equipment to biotech to internet startups. He has a B.S. degree in computer science from the University of Michigan.

Albert Lee

Programmer/Data Analyst

Albert Lee graduated from Duke University in 2003 with a bachelor of arts degree in computer science and English. After college he worked as a programmer for an Internet startup and as a Business/IT Analyst for Eli Lilly and Company.

Albert joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in October 2007 to coordinate aspects of the center's data management program. Duties include software programming, database administration and data quality management. He also conducts cognitive testing for patients in the MAC clinic. In his spare time he studies the neuroanatomy of emotion with Dr. Kate Rankin.

Caroline Prioleau

Writer, Designer and Content Manager

Caroline Prioleau designs and creates content for the Memory and Aging Center. She uses her training in medicine, neuroscience, design, editing, and technology to share information and facilitate collaborations across clinical, research and non-medical groups. She manages the Hellman Artist in Residence program at the Memory and Aging Center and recently co-led an oral history project in collaboration with the non-profit organization, Voice of Witness, and served as designer and co-editor of the book resulting from this project: hear/say: Stories about aging, dementia, art, and life.

Her professional background includes experience in basic science, clinical research, qualitative research, technology, writing, editing and graphic design. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Davidson College, completed her postbaccalaureate premedical training at Goucher College and enrolled in the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Caroline joined the Memory and Aging Center in 2007.

Joe Hesse

Director of Innovation

Joe Hesse joined the Memory and Aging Center in 2002 and serves as the center’s Director of Innovation. His current focus is the development of informatics and computational infrastructure in support of precision medicine. He works in collaboration with many groups and faculty across UCSF with the overall goal of delivering technology solutions to clinicians and researchers that are both scientifically agile and regulatory compliant. He promotes a vision for an integrated ecosystem of technologies, infrastructure and services that can truly support the full scope of USCF's mission -- from innovative approaches to discovering causes of disease and promoting health, to educating the next generation of health professionals and scientists, to translating discoveries into patient care.

He is also the creator of the LAVA open-source clinical research data management solution used in neurodegenerative research, available on GitHub in the “lava” repository, and he is a member of the team of technologists who provide research data management and software development services to the Memory and Aging Center and their collaborators.

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