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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.

Christa Watson, PsyD

Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Watson graduated from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology-Stanford PsyD Consortium in 2014. She has a background in psychology, developmental biology, neuroimaging and neuropsychology. Her research interests include brain development across the lifespan. She is currently working on a pediatric HIV brain imaging study with Dr. Victor Valcour.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors, watching movies, playing soccer, and listening to jazz. She strongly believes the Golden State Warriors will be the 2015 NBA Champions.

Jordan Stiver

Research Coordinator

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Francisco State University in 2013. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. Sarah Holley on a study investigating the relationships between executive functioning, emotion regulation and aggressive behaviors among the general population. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Center, Jordan worked under the supervision of Drs. Sophia Vinogradov and Rachel Loewy on a randomized controlled trial examining the effects of tablet-based cognitive training on functioning in young adults with schizophrenia.

Jordan joined the Memory and Aging Center in April 2015 as the study coordinator for the EVO Study, a project investigating the impact of a tablet-based video game on cognition in older adults with cerebrovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease. He also coordinates the Aging and Cognitive Decline project, a longitudinal study aiming to identify the early cognitive and neurological underpinnings of the functional decline observed in normal aging.

During his free time, Jordan enjoys playing sports, listening to a variety of music and spending time with friends and family.

Sarah Dulaney, RN, MS, CNS

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Sarah Dulaney earned a master of science degree in gerontological nursing at UCSF and is certified as a Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Over the past ten years, Sarah has worked with adults with cognitive impairment in community, long term care and hospital settings. As an AmeriCorps volunteer for L’Arche USA in Portland, Oregon, Sarah lived and worked with adults with developmental disabilities and gained insight into the important role of the family caregiver. As a nursing assistant at Chaparral House in Berkeley, California, Sarah continued to develop her ability to connect with and care for confused patients. As a registered nurse on the stroke unit at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco, Sarah continues to practice her hands-on skills and offer a supportive presence to patients and families experiencing the devastation of acute brain loss.

Before joining the Care Ecosystem team at the Memory and Aging Center in 2014, Sarah worked as a Dementia Clinical Nurse Specialist and Rural Dementia Care Coordinator for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. In addition to providing telephone-based care coordination for veterans and their caregivers living in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, Sarah provided staff training and consultation to help prevent and reduce dementia-related behaviors in the Community Living Centers in Menlo Park, California.

Julia Heunis

Care Team Navigator

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Julia graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2014 with a bachelor of arts degree in integrative biology, with a special focus on human biology and health sciences. As an undergraduate, Julia volunteered as a research assistant in Alison Gopnik’s Cognitive Development Lab, where she investigated the acquisition of infants’ ability to understand others’ preferences, as well as other childhood cognitive developmental processes. During her time at Cal, she also choreographed hip hop dances and was a member of a competitive hip hop team.

Julia joined the Memory and Aging Center in November 2014 as a clinical research coordinator and Care Team Navigator for the CMS-funded Dementia Care Ecosystem. By providing a personalized and innovative model of dementia care, this study aims to keep patients healthy and safe and reduce the physical, emotional and financial burden placed on caregivers, thereby attempting to improve the quality of life of patients and their caregivers.

In her free time, you can find Julia spending time with friends, exploring beautiful San Francisco, and continuing to pursue her passion for dance.

Tacie Moskowitz

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Tacie grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in cognitive psychology and Science in Society. As an undergraduate, she became interested in the study of memory and participated in episodic memory research that tested the usefulness of SenseCam technology developed by Microsoft Research.

Tacie's love of the outdoors and interest in UCSF's Memory and Aging Center inspired her to move to the Bay Area in August 2014. She is an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator for the Quest Diagnostics Neurobehavioral Screen.

Rowan Saloner

Research Coordinator

Rowan Saloner graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. During his undergraduate career, Rowan conducted Alzheimer’s Disease research at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Dr. Dale Bredesen’s laboratory, developing neurobehavioral testing protocols in a mouse model. Rowan also spent time at UCSF in the laboratory of Dr. Jialing Liu, researching neural plasticity following stroke. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Center, Rowan led user research efforts for the educational technology company Kizoom.

Rowan joined the Memory and Aging Center in February 2014 as the study coordinator for the Hillblom Aging Network, a longitudinal study of what constitutes normal aging and what early cognitive declines are associated with neurodegenerative disease.

In addition to his career interests in becoming a clinical neuropsychologist, Rowan is an avid Bay Area sports fan and loves exploring the hiking trails of Marin County with his dog.

Averill Cantwell

Clinical Research Coordinator

Averill Cantwell graduated from Harvard University in May 2013 with a concentration in government and secondary field in neurobiology. She joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in May 2014 as a research coordinator for Dr. Gil Rabinovici's study of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

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. Valcour’s HAND symptom management through Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction study. Shireen loves sports, baking and playing cards with her family.

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