Genetics

People who primarily investigate genes and inheritance patterns, counsel people about genetic testing and/or collect genetic specimens.

Ariel Sauri, BA

Staff Research Associate

Ariel joined the Yokoyama Lab at the Memory and Aging Center in February 2024 as a Staff Research Associate. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Ariel has experience assisting with research into the effects of environmental air pollution on neurodegenerative disease, as well as working in a clinical pathology setting; she is interested in learning more about neurogenetics.

Taylor Young

Administrative Coordinator

Taylor is an Administrative Coordinator working under the MAC Genetics and Biospecimen manager. 

Valerie Escobar, PhD

Specialist

Valerie joined the Yokoyama Lab in 2023 as a staff scientist with a career-long interest in evaluating genetic factors involved in neurological diseases. She earned a PhD degree in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan, where she identified transcriptional regulation sequences for a gene involved in epilepsy and movement disorders. During her postdoctoral fellowship at NHGRI and UCSF, she studied the role of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease.

Andrea Gorham Vargas

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Andrea graduated from Cornell University in May 2022 with a major in Biology & Society and a minor in Latin American Studies. She joined the MAC in June 2022 as an assistant research coordinator in the Dementia Imaging Genetics Lab, coordinating a study that aims to identify how early-disease-specific neural circuit differences develop in children carrying mutations causing frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Jana Klein

Operations and Development Officer

Jana’s life is a continuous discovery of new passions and interests. Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Jana’s passion for the outdoors, adventure and curiosity was determined at birth. In between camping and fishing with her family, she competed on a high level on the junior tennis circuit and eventually became a recruited athlete to Cornell University. This is where she found her passion for genetics and how this science impacts people and their lives. She went on to the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and completed a Master of Science in genetic counseling.

Oscar Robles-Archila

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Oscar is the Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator at the Yokoyama Lab. He supports the research focusing on the genetic, structural and cognitive characterization of Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia in Central and South American populations.

Alexis Oddi

Asst. Clinical Research Coord.

Alexis is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Data Science and a concentration in Urban Science. As an Undergraduate Research Assistant, Alexis studied the impact of the technology industry on housing in the Bay Area. Her specialities include data mapping and data visualization, and she is deeply interested in the intersections of neurology, data science, and social justice.

Taru Flagan

Research Scientist

Taru received a bachelor of science degree in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and completed a PhD degree in psychology in the Self-Regulation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. She joined the Dementia Imaging Genetics Lab in 2017 to support neuroimaging methods for understanding the underlying biology of genetic variants of frontotemporal dementia.

Claire Clelland, MD, PhD

Assistant Adjunct Professor

The Clelland laboratory aims to develop cures for dementia and related neurodegenerative diseases. She is focused on monogenic causes of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, such as mutations in the C9orf72 gene. She and her team develop CRISPR gene editing approaches in relevant cell types derived from human iPSCs and are working to develop better cell model systems of disease.

Argentina Lario Lago, PhD

Asst. Professional Researcher

Argentina Lario Lago is the Biospecimen & Genetics Programs Manager at the Memory and Aging Center. 

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