healthy, normal aging

Reilly Dever

Clinical Research Coordinator

Reilly graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with a degree in psychology and a focus in cognitive neuroscience. During her time at the University of Washington, Reilly worked in the GENDAAR Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, in conjunction with Harvard, Yale and UCLA. The study investigated the neurodevelopmental basis of autism spectrum disorder, and it fueled her desire to continue working in clinical neurological research. At the MAC, Reilly works with Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Howie Rosen to study familial frontotemporal dementia. In her free time, Reilly enjoys running, yoga, music and art, and exploring new places.

Lauren Chang

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Originally from San Jose, Lauren graduated from the University of Washington – Seattle in 2014 with a degree in psychology. She continued to explore the field of psychology by working as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist for children with autism, which sparked her interest into moving back into the research field. She previously worked at the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) within the UCSF Radiology department on two different Alzheimer’s related studies, one looking specifically at possible connections between post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease, and the other looking to get FDA approval on a tau PET imaging tracer. At the MAC, Lauren works with Dr. Valcour to coordinate his international acute HIV studies and his HIV over 60 studies.

Jersey Deng

Research Associate

Jersey joined the Seeley Lab in August 2015 as a Research Associate and assists with management and analysis of neuroimaging data. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in neurobiology. Before joining the Seeley Lab, Jersey was the data manager of the THRIVE Lab at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he explored stress and its associations with psychiatric and physical disorders.

Shoshannah Rubin

Clinical Research Coordinator

Shoshannah graduated from Pitzer College in May 2014 where she studied biochemistry. She wrote her honors thesis on the ApoE gene and its potential relationship to longevity and quality of life.

At the Memory and Aging Center, Shoshannah is a clinical research coordinator working on the frontotemporal dementia study called, Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Images, and Emotions, under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Miller. Shoshannah is interested in health concerns facing older adults and systemic issues that keep the aging and elderly from accessing care.

Lynn Bajorek

Clinical Research Coordinator

A Portland native, Lynn came to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley. She graduated in May 2016 with a degree in cognitive science and a concentration in cognitive neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she worked in the D’Esposito Lab on a project seeking to understand dopamine’s mediation of cognitive control and the contributions of dopamine deficiency to cognitive deficits in Parkinson’s disease. She interned at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and gathered data on the effect of estrogen replacement therapy in post-menopausal rhesus macaques on spatial memory ability. She currently works with Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Howie Rosen to study frontotemporal dementia. In her free time, Lynn enjoys yoga and exploring the outdoors.

Kirsten Rogers

Program Manager

Kirsten Rogers joined the MAC team in 2016 as the project manager of the Dementia Care Pathway project, led by Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Kate Rankin. This Quest Diagnostics-supported initiative translates best practices in screening, evaluating, and managing dementia and neurodegenerative disease into tools for primary care practitioners and their patients. As project manager, Kirsten works with investigator led teams to pilot, enhance and implement these tools in the community.

Kirsten earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in human biology with concentrations in international health and infectious disease. She is particularly interested in working to address health disparities in marginalized populations and engaging vulnerable communities in research through outreach and education.

In her free time, Kirsten enjoys hiking, marathon running, traveling and volunteering.

Melanie Stephens, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Melanie Stephens is an Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center within the Department of Neurology.

Alice La

Clinical Research Coordinator

Alice graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology with emphasis in neurobiology. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research technician in the Barton Lab, managing their mouse colony to study innate immunity and pathogen recognition. She also volunteered as a research assistant in the Lammel Lab, investigating midbrain dopaminergic networks of reward and addiction by performing in vivo mouse surgery and optogenetics behavioral assays. On the side, she volunteered at the University Health Services Pharmacy, studied ancient history as a minor, and attended an archaeological field school program excavating Mycenaean chamber tombs.

Alice joined the Memory and Aging Center in December 2015 as a research coordinator for Dr. Elissaios Karageorgiou on MEG neuroimaging to visualize sleep patterns in dementia patients and at-risk healthy controls. She also coordinates a phase II clinical trial run by Dr. Keith Vossel on investigating the potential role of anti-epileptic medication in neurodegenerative diseases.

In her spare time, you might find Alice watching historical fiction dramas, spending time with her cat, and practicing archery. She also enjoys horseback riding whenever she gets the chance and dreams of adopting her own horse in the future.

Ali Zahir

Research Coordinator

Ali Zahir is a research coordinator working with Dr. Winston Chiong on decision-making and how it is affected by aging and neurodegenerative disease. He attended University of California, Berkeley, where he received a degree in nutritional sciences and toxicology.

Outside of work, Ali volunteers at the Berkeley Free Clinic as a community health worker, and in his spare time, he enjoys training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hiking, and telling jokes with friends.

Karen Dorsman

Research Coordinator

Karen was born and raised in Nicaragua, where her interest in neuropsychology and community health began. Her passion for travel took her to Uruguay, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While working on her honors thesis, she trained in clinical neuropsychology with mentors Sergio Dansilio, MD; Luis Fontan, MD; and Jorge Lorenzo, MD. During that time, she developed a strong interest toward healthy aging.

Since moving to the US, she served as a volunteer research assistant in the Life-Span Development Lab and the Psychophysiology Lab at Stanford University. Karen also worked as Program Coordinator at There With Care, a non-profit that supports families with critically ill children, as well as a Caregiver Resource Specialist at Family Caregiver Alliance. Karen is interested in working with underserved populations and joined the Memory and Aging Center in 2016 to coordinate and assess Latino participants who join MAC studies. In order to increase diversity in the MAC research programs, she also does community outreach.

Her research interests include healthy aging and underrepresented populations, particularly how culture and coping strategies influence the way we embrace changes as we become older adults. She also has a passion for clinical neuropsychology and in the next few years, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in neuroscience or clinical psychology.

In her spare time, Karen enjoys cooking, trying new culinary spots, and reading. She also loves volunteering and supports her local library and businesses.

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