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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.

Esther Rah

Care Team Navigator

Esther graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Sociology in 2013. During her undergraduate career, Esther volunteered as a research assistant for the Ron Dahl Youth Development lab studying adolescent risk taking behavior and as a crisis hotline counselor for Bay Area Women Against Rape. Before joining the MAC, Esther worked at the San Francisco VA Medical Center as the IRB coordinator for the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases. She was also a study coordinator for the Department of Defense Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative under Dr. Michael Weiner.

At the Memory and Aging Center, Esther is a research coordinator for the UCSF Dyslexia Center.

Outside of work, Esther enjoys biking, reading and finding the best coffee and baked goods in the Bay Area.

Marite Carrasco

Recruitment Coordinator

Marite graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in psychology and ethnic studies. While studying at San Jose State, Marite was involved with the Mental Health Ambassador program, where she worked alongside the Counseling and Psychological Center to help increase mental health literacy, provide multiculturally responsive services and reduce mental health stigma. Marite completed her honors thesis under Dr. Wei-Chien Lee investigating the alarmingly low college retention rates of first generation minority students.

Continuing to follow her passion to help underserved populations, Marite worked as a Health Educator at Stanford University in an effort to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy behaviors for low-income Latino families with overweight children. Marite joined the Memory and Aging Center in May 2015 as a recruitment coordinator where she is leading enrollment efforts for the Care Ecosystem study. The study aims to learn more about the needs of both patients with dementia and their family, while improving the care of these patients and reducing costs in the future.

In her free time, Marite enjoys cooking, riding her bike and exploring what the Bay Area has to offer.

Hilary Heuer, PhD


Dr. Heuer studies eye movements in aging and neurodegenerative disease as part of Dr. Adam Boxer's laboratory.

Stacy Metcalf

Research Coordinator

Stacy joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2015. She is the research coordinator for Dr. Michael Geschwind’s clinical research on prion diseases.

Divya Krishnakumar

Research Coordinator

Divya joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2015. She is the research coordinator for Dr. Michael Geschwind’s clinical research on Huntington's disease and spinocerebellar ataxias. She also coordinates Dr. Geschwind’s projects investigating familial progressive supranuclear palsy and Guam PDC-ALS.

Marita Meyer

Dyslexia Center coordinator

Marita graduated from UCLA in June 2015 with a bachelor's degree in psychobiology. During her time as an undergraduate, she volunteered in the Tiwari-Woodruff lab investigating the relationship between gestational testosterone and myelination during development and disease. Additionally, she spent time in James Waschek’s lab studying the role of neuropeptides in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Marita joined the team as the Dyslexia Center coordinator in July 2015.

Isabel Sible

Clinical Research Coordinator

Isabel Sible graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 with a degree in cognitive science. At Berkeley, she contributed to research on social and emotional changes that can occur in neurodegenerative diseases under the guidance of Dr. Robert Levenson. Additionally, she worked on a project in Dr. Robert Knight’s lab that focused on reconstructing music from intra-cranial recordings of the human brain.

Isabel joined the Memory and Aging Center in May of 2015. She is a clinical research coordinator to Drs. Bill Seeley and Virginia Sturm, examining how neurodegeneration of neural systems gives rise to changes in emotion and social functioning.

Join a Supportive Care Trial

Quality of Life Trials or Supportive Care Trials are research studies to evaluate improving the health, care or quality of life for people, typically without using study drugs or devices. UCSF's Memory and Aging Center (MAC) runs selected supportive trials for people with neurodegenerative disease. Your participation helps us evaluate these interventions. If one of our trials looks interesting to you, please talk with your doctor or contact the study team to see if it is appropriate for you.

Benedetta Milanini, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Milanini recently received her PhD degree from the Catholic University of Rome. Prior to that, she graduated from La Sapienza University of Rome in July 2010 with a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychological Rehabilitation. Her PhD research focused on the identification of a cognitive screening test that is sensitive to the characteristics of neurocognitive impairment. Benedetta has published a manuscript on the usefulness of the MoCA screening test within the UCSF HIV Over 60 Cohort study in the Journal of AIDS. Benedetta's research continues to focus on cognition in HIV, particularly the issue of cognitive reserve.

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