People

Madeline Hillis

Research Coordinator

Madeline hails from California’s central valley, and she recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in cognitive science. Madeline is interested in the various ways the human brain manages information, and she is fascinated both by the fragility and astonishing resilience of the nervous system. While at UC Berkeley, she spent a semester volunteering in a perceptual lab that investigated the neural correlates of visual serial dependence using EEG.

Ji-Hye Hwang

Associate Specialist

Ji-Hye Hwang, PhD, joined the Seeley Selective Vulnerability Research Lab in March 2013 as a research associate and assists with human neuropathological experiments. She holds a PhD degree in neuroscience from Eulji University School of Medicine, South Korea, where her focus was on the histopathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Before joining the Seeley Lab, Ji-Hye served as a researcher at DGIST (Daegu-Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology), South Korea.

Shireen Javandel

Research Coordinator

A Bay Area native, Shireen attended UC Berkeley where she earned a bachelor's degree in molecular and cell biology. Since then, her curiosity has led her to contribute to a variety of projects ranging from the characterization of wheat gluten proteins at the USDA to a UCSF study of early onset schizophrenia, and then on to complete a post-baccalaureate program at Drexel University. She also worked for an educational non-profit, coordinating workplace apprenticeship for middle school students in Oakland just before joining the Memory and Aging Center, where she now coordinates Dr.

Samirah Javed

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Samirah Javed is an assistant clinical research coordinator for the sleep study.

Aimee Kao, MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Aimee Kao, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. She directs the UCSF Tau Consortium Human Fibroblast and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Bank and leads the UCSF Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) Neurodegenerative Disease Biomarker Core. Dr. Kao’s clinical expertise includes the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Krystal Karunungan

Research Coordinator

Krystal is a research coordinator in the Rabinovici lab, where she coordinates the IDEAS study as well as the Early Onset and Atypical Alzheimer’s Disease study.

Anna Karydas

Biospecimen/Genetics Programs Manager

Anna Karydas is the Biospecimen/Genetics Programs Manager at the Memory and Aging Center. She serves as the primary subject expert for the acquisition, characterization and management of biological materials. Anna works directly with the clinical staff, including nurses and genetic counselors, to ensure accurate and efficient collection, delivery and reconciliation of biologic materials.

Niall Kavanagh

Communications Specialist

Niall Kavanagh is a communications officer with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI). Based at UCSF, he is responsible for developing and sharing the stories and messages of GBHI and the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health.

Rachel Kiekhofer

Research Data Analyst

Rachel joins the Memory and Aging Center as a Research Data Analyst on the Care Ecosystem team, where she manages the Care Ecosystem codebase and collects data through interviews with study participants. In this capacity, she hopes to improve care outcomes for dementia patients and their caregivers.

Tom Kiely, PhD

Psychologist

Mary Koestler, RN, PhD

Project Administrator and Trials Nurse

Mary Koestler joined the Memory and Aging Center’s clinical trials unit as project administrator and trials nurse in July 2007. Dr. Koestler completed a master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis in clinical research management at UCSF followed by a PhD degree. She currently manages industry-sponsored FDA Phase I-III Alzheimer’s disease trials. Dr. Koestler is credentialed by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

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