photo of Winston Chiong

Winston Chiong, MD PhD

Principal Investigator
winston.chiong (at) ucsf.edu
@WinstonChiong
https://profiles.ucsf.edu/winston.chiong
Scholar Citations

I see myself as having three main jobs, which (I hope) inform one another. I am a behavioral neurologist, and my clinical practice focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and other cognitive disorders of aging. I am also a cognitive neuroscientist, applying observations from clinic to investigate why patients like mine are vulnerable to making bad decisions. Third, I am a neuroethicist, working alongside other clinicians, researchers, and policymakers to address the ethical and social implications of changes in decision-making due to altered brain function.

I studied philosophy as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. During medical school here at UCSF, I took a leave to pursue a PhD in philosophy at NYU, where I studied with Thomas Nagel and Derek Parfit. After residency training in neurology back at UCSF, I did a combined fellowship in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging with Mark D’Esposito at UC Berkeley and in behavioral neurology here at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

Alongside my clinical and research work, I am Co-Chair of the UCSF Department of Neurology Diversity Committee and a member of the UCSF Medical Center Ethics Committee. Nationally, I serve on the Neuroethics Working Group of the National Institutes of Health BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Multi-Council Working Group, and the American Academy of Neurology’s Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee.


photo of Tobias Haeusermann

Tobias Haeusermann, PhD

Postdoc
tobias.haeusermann (at) ucsf.edu
https://profiles.ucsf.edu/tobias.haeusermann

I am a Sociologist and Postdoctoral Fellow in the UCSF Department of Neurology Memory and Aging Center, where my research aims to elucidate the ethical concerns in existing clinical applications of closed-loop neuromodulation in epilepsy as well as movement and mood disorders. I am also part of UCSF’s Institute for Health Policy Studies and its newly established Medical Cultures Lab, a collaborative of social scientists working on methods innovations and the culture of medicine.

I received my PhD and Master of Philosophy degrees in sociology from the University of Cambridge, where I remain an Affiliated Researcher. During my doctoral studies I held a Research Fellowship at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research and was a member of its Long-term Care and Dementia group. I then conducted postdoctoral research at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute of the University of Zurich and for the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich. Thereafter, I taught as student supervisor at the University of Cambridge for the “Introduction to Sociology:Modern Societies I” and the paper “Social Context of Health and Illness” and was a visiting fellow at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford.

I am particularly interested in how medical knowledge and care practices are interpreted differently in distinct cultural settings. Beyond these specific research domains, I am also interested in aging studies, the sociology of health and illness, comparative ethnographic research, and qualitative research methodologies.


photo of Cailin Lechner

Cailin Lechner

Research Coordinator
cailin.lechner (at) ucsf.edu

As an undergraduate at UCLA, I studied human biology and society, a unique major dedicated to understanding how human health functions in both biological systems and larger societal contexts. Through this interdisciplinary curriculum, I developed a deep interest in bioethics, specifically as it relates to promoting justice among vulnerable health populations. Whether executing my senior research project on toxic exposure within a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood in south Los Angeles, or volunteering as executive director for a nonprofit that tutors and mentors students in under-resourced public schools, I dedicated my college career to examining health and educational disparities.

My enthusiasm for assisting those whose health outcomes are unfairly hindered by biological, environmental and systemic factors led me to my current work as an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator in the UCSF Decision Lab. In my role, I conduct patient recruitment and data management for the Neuroethics in Novel Neurotechnologies project, which aims to integrate ethics and neuroscience by investigating patient, family and clinician experiences with closed-loop brain devices. I also organize the Neuroethics Seminar, an informal twice-monthly meeting where participants from diverse disciplines deliberate ethical questions facing neurological research and clinical practice. I am motivated by the opportunity this position presents to advance knowledge of neuroethics with the hope of improving patient care.

Outside of work, I enjoy camping in national parks, listening to podcasts, and attending concerts, especially at intimate venues.


photo of Heather Romero-Kornblum

Heather Romero-Kornblum

Research Coordinator
heather.romero-kornblum (at) ucsf.edu

I have a deep fascination with the cognitive, attentional, and perceptual processes that impact how we pursue goals and make choices. As a Haas Scholar and senior in UC Berkeley’s psychology department honors program, I conducted research on the effect of income inequality on regulatory focus – a psychological mechanism that seeks to explain how we pursue goals. For this work, I was the recipient of my department’s Warner Brown Memorial Prize. Prior to completing my B.A. in psychology at UC Berkeley, I completed an A.A. in psychology at Foothill College where I undertook an independent research project examining the role of empathy in promoting safer sex in the hookup culture, considering whether partner-focused language in sexual health information led to greater intent to practice safe sex in future encounters.

I am beyond thrilled to be part of UCSF’s Decision Lab, where I hope to deepen my knowledge regarding the way we make decisions throughout our lifespans. In the lab, I am responsible for recruitment, task distribution, and data collection for the Genes, Brains and Decisions and Online Studies of Decision-Making in Healthy Aging projects. I am excited about the possibilities these projects present for gaining greater insight into the relationship between behavioral economics and neurologically-driven individual variance.

When not at work, I am a mom, a poet, and enjoy participating in improv comedy.


photo of Madhu Manivannan

Madhu Manivannan

Research Coordinator
madhumitha.manivannan (at) ucsf.edu

Having recently graduated from NYU with a BA in Psychology and Public Health, I am especially intrigued by the importance of approaching healthcare issues from both macro and micro-level perspectives. From a public health perspective, I am interested in utilizing a top-down approach to mitigate systemic inequalities in healthcare and support healthy populations. From a psychological perspective, I am equally interested in considering an individual’s motivations, interests, and goals when making large-scale policy changes and health initiatives.

In college, I worked as an EMT caring for elderly patients with chronic diseases and as an intake counselor helping at-risk youth get access to social, educational, and health-related services. These experiences deepened my fascination for the convergence of population and individual-centric health perspectives. I completed my senior Honors thesis further exploring these themes by studying the effects of health message framing on individuals’ intentions to exercise.

I am excited to apply both perspectives in my work as a research coordinator in the Decision Lab. In this position, I am responsible for patient recruitment and data management for the Decision Making in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias and Online Studies of Decision-Making in Healthy Aging studies. I hope to learn from and contribute to the wealth of research being conducted at the Memory and Aging Center for the improvement of future patient populations while addressing the individualized needs and concerns of current patients.

In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at Samaritan House Free Clinic, attending boxing lessons, and hiking/camping in the Bay area!


photo of Clayton Young

Clayton Young

Research Coordinator
Clayton.young (at) ucsf.edu

My introduction to research began during my time at UC Davis, where I obtained my B.S. in psychology (biology emphasis). As an undergraduate, I assisted in investigating attention, visual working memory, and language processing using EEG/ERPs and eye-tracking. Upon graduating, I obtained clinical experience as a psychometrist in a private neuropsychology practice, which led to my interest in working with aging populations. After my short stint away from research, I excitedly joined the UCSF Decision Lab to examine Decision-Making in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias, as well as Genes, Brains and Decisions where I hope to aid in understanding the decision making processes in clinical populations.

While away from the lab, I enjoy cooking, listening to Afrobeat music, and anything that involves soccer, especially Liverpool FC.


photo of Celeste Fong

Celeste Fong

Research Coordinator
celeste.fong (at) ucsf.edu

The Decision Lab is the perfect home for my interdisciplinary interests. I received my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I conducted research on Alzheimer’s disease. While there I also took several philosophy courses, which introduced me to the field of bioethics. I became so enamored with the subject that I went to study for a Master’s in Bioethics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I had the opportunity to conduct work with a lab studying deep brain stimulation as a potential therapy for treatment resistant depression. My thesis project analyzed patient perspectives to respond to the ethical concerns and implications of DBS for depression, particularly as it relates to themes of identity.

My experience in neuroethics and neurotechnology led me to San Francisco and UCSF, where I work as a research coordinator in the Decision Lab for the Neuroethics in Novel Neurotechnologies study. The project involves observing and interviewing patients, caregivers, and providers in order to identify and respond to concerns regarding the ethics of closed-loop deep brain stimulation. I see value in the perspectives that these narratives can provide as we develop best practices for novel neurotechnologies. More broadly, however, I am also curious as to how such advancements in therapeutic technologies can challenge our society’s perception of itself and its values. Beyond this project, I also organize the Neuroethics Seminar, a twice-monthly interdisciplinary discussion on ethics-related questions that arise from neuroscience research and clinical neurology practice.

In my free time, I enjoy keeping up to date with the newest films and shows, trying to find the best bites in San Francisco, and pretending that I am half as good at rock climbing as the rest of the SF population.


photo of Sang Ngo

Sang Ngo

Research Coordinator
sang.ngo (at) ucsf.edu

Research was an integral part of my undergraduate experience at Stanford University, where I spent four years studying dynamic stem cell behaviors and tumor development. Working at the bench ignited my curiosity to explore and solve difficult questions about the natural world.

Though bench research consumed much of my time in these four years, I also dedicated time for community engagement work with vulnerable low-income and migrant communities. One experience I deeply cherish is my years spent volunteering at the university’s pediatric hospital, where I got the opportunity to connect with migrant children living with a host of conditions and diseases. Their spirit was a grounding and reassuring force for me all throughout college.

For a long time, these two parts of my life remained separate. It gradually became apparent to me, however, the disconnect between my research and the patients I interfaced with in the hospital and the wider community. My efforts to find an intersection between these two led me to the Decision Lab, where I manage the Decision-Making in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias study. I am excited to extend my love for research to a clinical field that centers on the individual and the human experience.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking comfort food, volunteering with migrant communities, and watching YouTube videos.


photo of Rea Antoniou

Rea Antoniou

Associate Specialist
Rea.Antoniou (at) ucsf.edu

I first obtained my BA in psychology (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). As a bachelor thesis student, I was introduced to the fascinating world of research by undertaking a behavioral study probing the association between cheating, creativity and moral reasoning. The question which psychological mechanisms tilt our moral compass sparked my interest. However, pieces were definitely missing from understanding such a perplex topic in depth.

My MS in Neural and Behavioural Sciences (University of Tubingen, Germany) provided a bigger piece to the puzzle by giving me the opportunity to work out interdisciplinary questions such as how cognitive enhancers affect cheating upon monetary payoff (Oxford University, UK) and how arousal mediates different contexts of lying (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Germany).

Now, being part of the Decision Lab at the Memory and Aging Center, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to add another, major piece, dementia. In other words, investigating conditions characterized notably by impairment of memory and judgment. In the lab, I am responsible for fMRI task design, data collection and analysis for the Decision-Making in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias and the Online Studies of Decision-Making in Healthy Aging projects. Some questions I am eager to examine is how moral reasoning, dishonest behavior and overall value based decision making processes are altered in different types of dementia, including corresponding brain areas.

In my free time I enjoy dancing, hiking and camping. When I experience a rush of adrenaline I am most likely trying to surf.


affiliate members

photo of Cutter Lindbergh

Cutter Lindbergh, PhD

Neuropsychology Fellow
cutter.lindbergh (at) ucsf.edu
https://memory.ucsf.edu/people/cutter-lindbergh-phd
Scholar Citations

I received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Gonzaga University and then completed a master’s degree program in experimental psychology at the College of William and Mary. I went on to earn a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia, with emphases in the neuropsychology and neuroscience of aging. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in neuropsychology within the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) under the mentorship of Dr. Joel Kramer.

My program of research is broadly focused on brain aging, with specific interests in (1) identifying early detection strategies for unhealthy cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases and (2) better understanding factors that contribute to resilience against age-related cognitive decline and dementia. I also have a background in studying changes in decision-making that occur in typical aging and early stages of age-related neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. I am excited to have the opportunity to extend this work in Dr. Winston Chiong’s Decision Lab at UCSF.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, and more generally enjoying the outdoors. Playing basketball and reading novels are also high on my list of favorite pastimes.


students

Alex Beagle
Medical Student
alexander.beagle (at) ucsf.edu
Information insensitivity in delay discounting in Alzheimer’s and related dementias reflects dorsomedial prefrontal atrophy
Julia Heunis
Medical Student
julia.heunis (at) ucsf.edu
Real-world financial activities and financial mismanagement in patients with dementia: Preliminary findings from the Care Ecosystem study
Carson Quinn
Medical Student
carson.quinn (at) ucsf.edu
COMT Val158Met polymorphism associated with greater susceptibility to framing effects in healthy older adults
Neil Vaishnav, JD LLM
Medical Student
neil.vaishnav (at) ucsf.edu
Informed consent for the human research subject with a neurologic disorder

alumni

Ivy Huang, MD
previously: Undergraduate Research Assistant
now: Resident Physician, UCLA Department of Surgery
Chiong W, Kim AS, Huang IA, Farahany NA, Josephson SA. Inability to consent does not diminish the desirability of stroke thrombolysis. Annals of Neurology. 2014; 76(2):296-304.
Chiong W, Kim AS, Huang IA, Farahany NA, Josephson SA. Testing the presumption of consent to emergency treatment for acute ischemic stroke. JAMA. 2014; 311(16):1689-91.
William Feldman, MD DPhil
previously: Medical Student
now: Fellow, Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care
https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/139292
Feldman WB, Kim AS, Chiong W. Trends in recruitment rates for acute stroke trials, 1990-2014. Stroke. 2017; 48(3):799-801.
Feldman WB, Kim AS, Josephson SA, Lowenstein DH, Chiong W. Effect of waivers of consent on recruitment in acute stroke trials: A systematic review. Neurology. 2016; 86(16):1543-51.
Mia Borzello
previously: Research Coordinator
now: Graduate Student, UCSD Department of Cognitive Science
Ali Zahir
previously: Research Coordinator
now: Medical Student, UCSF School of Medicine

collaborators