Main Site "Silo"

CJD, a personal story

See video

Steve, a California physician, whose wife spontaneously developed CJD, shares his experiences with the public. CJD is a rapidly progressive dementia whose study may yield important insights about other, more prevalent dementias. We thank Steve and his children for sharing their stories. Their contribution has contributed to a growing awareness about CJD.

What is a prion?

See video

Pardis Esmaeili

Research Coordinator

Pardis Esmaeili graduated from San Francisco State with a bachelor of science degree in physiology and minor in sexuality studies. She has worked on a variety of research projects including looking at neurogenesis in tobacco hornworms in the lab of Dr. Christopher Moffitt, impact of lifestyle and life stress on telomere length in the labs of Dr. Elissa Epel and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, and intervention programs for patients with diabetes under Principal Investigator Dr. Lawrence Fisher. In 2012, she joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center as a research coordinator for Dr. Valcour's HIV Over 60 Cohort study, looking at HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in older HIV-positive individuals. Pardis is interested in pursuing an academic career in neurocognition, conducting research on the impact of long term estrogen therapy on cognition and memory in male to female transgender individuals. Pardis looks forward to mentoring aspiring queer/LGBT scientists and researchers in the future.

Valcour Lab website

Alice Hua

Clinical Research Coordinator

Alice graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012 with a BA degree in psychology. While at Cal, she volunteered at the Matthew Walker Sleep & Neuroimaging Lab and Gopnik Cognitive Development Lab, exploring the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive tasks as well as testing three-year-old's spatial cognition strategies. Alice later joined the Greater Good Science Center where she investigated and published digests on gratitude, mindfulness and empathy. Between classes and lab, she also choreographed hip hop dances, taught free workshops and organized sets to be showcased at the end of each semester.

As a clinical research coordinator to Drs. Bill Seeley and Virginia Sturm, Alice joined the Memory and Aging Center in August 2012 to examine the social and emotional behavior and network organization of patients of neurodegenerative disease.

In her free time, Alice loves exploring the city and hopes to continue pursuing her passion for dance.

Kristie Wood

Research Coordinator

Kristie Wood graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in cognitive neuroscience. While studying at UC Berkeley, Kristie volunteered as a research associate in the D’Esposito Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, was president of the Cognitive Science Student Association and co-facilitated a course called “Adventures in Neuroscience.” Post-graduation, Kristie worked as a research associate at the Northern California Institute of Research and Education, developing cognitive training tools for veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Kristie joined the Memory and Aging Center in 2011 and currently coordinates both Cognitive and Behavioral Control in Frontotemporal Dementia as well as Domain Specific Tasks of Executive Function.

In her free time, Kristie likes to write fiction and poetry, meditate, paint and run outside.

Raquel C. Gardner, MD

Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Gardner completed her BA degree in Neuroscience and Behavior at Columbia University in New York. She received her medical degree from Harvard University. She completed her internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology at UCSF. She then joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2012 where she is a Clinical Instructor and a Behavioral Neurology Fellow. As a neurologist, Dr. Gardner evaluates and treats patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and provides them with follow-up care. Her current research focuses on understanding cognitive, motor, and psychiatric sequelae of traumatic brain injury in older adults.

Joy Lee

Clinic Coordinator

Joy Lee is a clinic coordinator for the Memory and Aging Center. She is a certified Phlebotomy Technician (2008), studied medical terminology and is a certified medical biller and coder (2009). She has five years of dental background at the UCSF School of Dentistry and over seven years of experience in administrative and clerical support. She would like to pursue her career in the Memory and Aging Center. And she loves to bake!

Carrie Cheung

Clinic Coordinator

Carrie, a San Francisco native, comes from a sales and public service background with over 10 years of management. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a creative writing degree and a minor in holistic health. She enjoys helping the public, learning new cultures and challenges, and writing about her experiences.

Kendra Bechtel

Staff Research Associate

Kendra Bechtel graduated from Hampshire College in 2011 with a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience, bioethics and health policy. She wrote her senior thesis on Huntington's disease and presymptomatic genetic testing and completed internships with Joshua Greene's Moral Cognition lab at Harvard University and in Gender and Genomics through the 5-college consortium in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Kendra joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center CJD Team in June 2012. Kendra is the research coordinator for Dr. Michael Geschwind’s clinical research on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other rapidly progressive dementias. The research aims to collect clinical information to better characterize CJD and the conditions often mistaken for CJD, leading to more accurate and faster diagnosis of this rare fatal disease. Her position entails coordinating patient visits, conducting neuropsychological testing, overseeing clinical specimen collection and data analysis.

Syndicate content