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Mariella Lauriola

Visiting Scholar

Mariella Lauriola is a PhD degree candidate in Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences at the University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara (Italy). She got her bachelor degree in biological psychology at the University of Padova (Italy) and her Master of Science degree in Psychology (curriculum of Neuroscience) at the University of Trento (Italy). Her main research interests during the last years have been normal and pathological aging, sleep, neuroimaging and cognition. As a part of her PhD clinical and research training, she is now visiting at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, where she is actively involved in data collection and neuropsychological evaluation of research participants, working closely with both Dr. Gil Rabinovici and Dr. Joel Kramer. In addition to her work, Mariella loves sports, nature and animals.

Fanny Elahi, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Elahi is a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology.

Joanne Taylor, MS, LCGC

Genetic Counselor

Joanne Taylor received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and her master’s degree in genetic counseling from UC Berkeley. She worked at Stanford University for more than 20 years in a prenatal clinic advising patients about inherited diseases and testing options.

Joanne joined the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF in 2016 as part of the genetic counseling team. She helps families understand the genetic component of neurodegenerative diseases.

Lena Driscoll, MSN

Nurse

Lena is a full-time nurse in the Memory and Aging Center Clinic. She completed her master’s degree in nursing at UCSF School of Nursing. Prior to being a nurse, Lena worked for biotechnology companies doing research in skeletal and neurological diseases. In her free time she can be found gardening or hiking around San Francisco.

Cathy Wang, MSW

Social Worker

Cathy earned a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in New York. She has worked with adults and seniors in hospitals, patients’ homes, and clinics. She is also a consultant who trains and supports social workers in long-term care facilities to maintain state licensure and accreditation. Before joining UCSF, she was a social work discharge planner, ensuring that patients had services in place upon leaving the hospital. She is an advocate for patients, families and caregivers through supportive education and linking them to appropriate resources to meet their needs.

Family Advisory Council

To promote ideal family and patient-centered care in dementia, the UCSF Memory and Aging Center has created a Family Advisory Council that provides family caregiver input regarding the delivery of clinical care services.

To promote ideal family and patient-centered care in dementia, the UCSF Memory and Aging Center has created a Family Advisory Council that provides family caregiver input regarding the delivery of clinical care services. Topics may include feedback regarding the existing services as well as ideas regarding new innovative programs under development or raising awareness regarding the priorities or unmet needs of families and patients at the MAC. The council is comprised of family caregivers who care, or have cared, for persons with dementia.

Peter A. Ljubenkov, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Ljubenkov received his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from University of California, Santa Cruz and his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. During his training he took part in the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program at University of California, Los Angeles, where he investigated midbrain and basal ganglia pathology in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. He went on to complete his internship in internal medicine at University of California, Irvine, and his residency in neurology at University of California, San Diego. In 2015 he became a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology at the Memory and Aging Center at University of California, San Francisco, where he currently evaluates patients for the Frontotemporal Dementia Program Project Grant and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).

Kelsey Drivinski

Autopsy Coordinator

Kelsey Drivinski works with patients and families to coordinate brain donation at the time of passing. The Neurodegenerative Disease Brain Bank (NDBB) was established in 2008 by Dr. William Seeley and serves as a repository for nervous system tissue donated for research purposes.

Kelsey recently moved to the Bay Area from Michigan where she was working with a non-profit to improve children's health and well-being by eliminating environmental hazards in the home. She received a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies from Grand Valley State University. In her free time, she enjoys petting as many dogs as possible and finding out what California has to offer.

Sara Dunlop

Staff Research Associate

Sara received a bachelor's degree in physiology from San Francisco State University in 2013. As an undergraduate, Sara worked as a lab assistant in the university’s human anatomy lab, assisting in curriculum development and developing a standard protocol for rehydrating embalmed specimens in order to preserve dissections for future teaching.

Sara joined the Grinberg Lab in 2013 with a passion to pursue neurodegenerative research. Her work investigates the susceptibility of specific brainstem nuclei affected in Alzheimer's disease using a combination of immunohistochemistry, histology and unbiased stereological techniques. She plans to pursue a medical career with a focus in neuropathology.

Maryana Alegro, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alegro joined the Grinberg Lab in 2015, aiming to research and develop advanced image processing techniques to improve the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases. She received her master of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of São Paulo Polytechnic School in 2009, where she focused on MRI brain tumor segmentation using machine learning. In 2014, she completed her doctorate degree at the University of São Paulo Polytechnic School, where her research focused on MRI and histology image registration. Dr. Alegro's research interests include color representation, for better segmentation and registration, and the use of advanced machine learning for image analysis.

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