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Our Team 

Principal Investigator 

  • Jennifer Graves, M.D., Ph.D., MAS

    Jennifer Graves, M.D., Ph.D., MAS

    Dr. Jennifer Graves is a neurologist with fellowship training in multiple sclerosis and neuro-ophthalmology. She earned a PhD in Molecular Biophysics from the University of Texas Southwestern and Master's Degree in Clinical Research Methods and Biostatistics from the University of California San Francisco. Prior to joining faculty at UC San Diego, she was as Assistant Professor in Neurology and Ophthalmology at UCSF and Co-Director of the UCSF Pediatric MS Center. She has served as a Director for an international course of clinical research design and has mentored undergraduate and medical students, residents and fellows. She has received grants from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NIH, and Race to Erase MS and has served as investigator for several industry and investigator-initiated trials.

    Her most recent work has focused on the influence of biological aging on multiple sclerosis phenotype and leveraging biosensor technology from the computer control industry to better assess MS progression. She has also made contributions to the field of MS risk factor research, studying the role of genes and the environment on pediatric-onset disease. Through studies of puberty and menopause, she has described the influence of these reproductive transitions on disease course in girls and women. As a neuro-ophthalmologist she has studied both afferent and efferent outcome measures in adult and pediatric MS. Lastly, she has reported on important biological effects of disease modifying therapies including rebound effects following withdrawal of fingolimod and non-B cell effects of rituximab.

Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Fellows

  • Jennifer Yang, M.D.

    Jennifer Yang, M.D.

    Dr. Jennifer Yang started her joint fellowship in Neuroimmunology and Neurometabolics in July 2021. She completed her medical degree at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and her residency in Child Neurology at UCSD/RCHSD where she served as Chief Resident. Her future career goals involve the clinical management and research of pediatric white matter diseases. Prior basic science experiences  include a phase II clinical trial study and pre-clinical animal models for Alzheimer’s disease, and the cellular and physiological mechanism behind the glial response to gliomas. Her clinical research includes autoimmune encephalitis, pediatric multiple sclerosis, and mitochondrial disease. Her work has led to several peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. In her free time, Dr. Yang enjoys cooking/baking, mixing music, yoga, and spending time with family.   

Research Project Manager

  • Janelle Celso

    Janelle Celso

    Janelle Celso, CCRC is our Pediatric Clinical Research Project Manager. She obtained her Public Health Sciences degree from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She began her career in Neurology research focusing on Parkinson's and Movement disorders and became a Clinical Research coordinator for UCSD/Rady's Dept. of Respiratory Medicine.  In her free time, she loves spending time with family, hiking, and traveling to different countries. 

Clinical Research Coordinators

  • Ashley Fair

    Ashley Fair

    Ashley is a clinical research coordinator with our Neuroimmunology lab, and is currently running our BioAging and MS research program. Ashley was born in Southern California and grew up in Laguna Beach.  She attended Vassar College, NY where she completed her undergrad with a B.A in Neuroscience and Behavior. After graduation, she worked as a Senior Research Technician for a neurobiology lab at Boston University School of Medicine. During her time in Boston she explored oligodendrocyte dysfunction/epigenetic changes with normal aging and cognitive decline in a monkey model of aging. She recently transitioned to UCSD Health to work in the research field that was within her academic interests of neurological sciences and clinical research. When she's not working at UCSD, you can find her spending time with friends, playing tennis, or beach hopping! 

  • Sophie Zacharek

    Sophie Zacharek

    Sophie is a clinical research coordinator primarily working on pediatric Multiple Sclerosis drug trials. She is originally from Syracuse, New York and attended Xavier University, in Ohio where she completed her undergraduate degree with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in Spanish. After graduating Sophie stated working in clinical research at Cleveland Clinic, primarily focusing on adult multiple sclerosis patients. In her free time, Sophie enjoys spending time with her dog, Ace, hiking, eating good food, and being outdoors. 

  • Tamara Shabi

    Tamara Shabi

    Tamara is a Study Research Coordinator within our Neuroimmunology lab. Tamara was born and raised in Houston, Texas and moved to San Diego to obtain her B.S. in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at UC San Diego. During her time in university, Tamara worked as a Research Assistant at Gremel Lab where she studied substance abuse in rodent behavior. After this, Tamara worked at The Center for Scientific Computation in Imaging where she studied brain pathways in Alzheimer's Disease. Her academic interests include researching neurodegenerative diseases and studying human behavior and physiology. In her free time, Tamara's hobbies include competitive dance, cooking, playing tennis, and spending time with close friends and family!

Affiliated Clinic Staff 

  • Carolyn Wilder, R.N.

    Carolyn Wilder, R.N.

    Carolyn Wilder, BSN RN is a Ph.D. student at Loma Linda University and the registered nurse supporting Dr. Graves' clinics at UCSD. Carolyn's recent article, Palliative Care for Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: Recommendations Emerging From a Case Study was published in the  Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. Carolyn has been a guest speaker at nursing conferences, completed Palliative education and wound specialist training at the Mayo Clinic, and received the Transformational Leader Award from the Mayo Clinic and the Florence Nightingale Leadership Award from Grand Canyon University where she obtained her baccalaureate degree. She runs a nurse mentorship and support group via Facebook with over 5K members and her own website, developed a Service Recognition Program at her alma mater that is still in use to date and is the student representative to the Ph.D. Council and Student Affairs committees at LLU. She also serves as Secretary for the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society chapter at Loma Linda. While at GCU, Carolyn served as President of the Student Nurses Association. 

Current Medical Student Interns

  • Emilie Liu

    Emilie Liu

    Emilie is a 2nd year medical student at UCSD. She was born and raised in Orange County and attended UCLA where she earned a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Art History. She worked as a lab manager and clinical research coordinator in her gap year, investigating the use of spinal stimulation for recovery of motor and autonomic function after spinal cord injury. She is interested in adult and pediatric neurology. In her free time, Emilie enjoys traveling, cooking/baking, and exploring the San Diego area with friends. 

  • Marcos Real

    Marcos Real

    Marcos Real is a 1st year medical student at UCSD. He was born in San Diego, raised in Tijuana B.C, and returned to San Diego to finish school. He attended UCSD where he earned both his B.S in Microbiology and M.S in Biology. For his master’s thesis, he studied how androgens impact the neurocircuitry within the hypothalamus that leads to the fertility complications in polycystic ovarian syndrome in women. He enjoys playing the guitar, surfing and climbing on his free time.

  • Jasmine Arora

    Jasmine Arora

    Jasmine is a 1st year medical student at University of California, San Diego. She was born and raised in Orange County and earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied Public Health. During her time at Berkeley, she taught her own public health course and interned at the San Francisco Department of Public Health to understand health inequities. Her research interests have included developmental psychology, the degradation of the extracellular matrix throughout aging, and pediatric migraines - among others. During her gap year, she worked as a medical assistant at a dermatology clinic. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys reading, dancing, and cooking.

Current Trainees

  • Soha Fardad - Research Assistant

    Soha Fardad - Research Assistant

    Soha was born in Oklahoma and lived there until she moved to California in 2020. She is attending the University of California, San Diego as a second year undergraduate. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with a minor in Psychology, and is interested in focusing on pediatric neurology. In her free time, Soha enjoys traveling, baking, going to the beach and listening to Podcasts.
  • Jacob Santiago

    Jacob Santiago

    Jacob is a 3rd year undergraduate attending the University of California, San Diego. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and is interested in focusing on adult neurology and neuroimmunology. Born and raised in San Diego County, he enjoys surfing and bodybuilding in his free time.


These wonderful people were previously a part of our lab but have since moved on: 


Torge Rempe, M.D. - Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Fellow 

  • Completed his fellowship at UCSD in 2021, and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida

Dr. Kristen Krysko - UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research Fellow

  • Previously was an MS Clinical Research Fellow at UCSF and a recipient of the National MS Society Sylvia Lawry physician training fellowship, which funded her 3 year fellowship which included patient care, clinical trials training and clinical research. She is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto 

Research Staff

Annalise Miner, BS - Clinical Research Coordinator 

  • Annalise was a Clinical Research Coordinator from September 2019 to June 2022. She is responsible for setting up many of our studies exploring biotechnology in MS care. Annalise has since moved to Boston University, where she is getting her PhD in Behavioral Neurosciences.

Miryam Palomino, BS - Clinical Research Coordinator 

  • Miryam Palomino was a Clinical Research Coordinator from June 2019 to July 2021, and has since moved to a new position in clinical trials platform management. 


Andrew Valenciano, MD - UCSD Medical Student 

  •  Andrew's work with our lab included running our NeuCovid research project. This has resulted in an AAN oral presentation by Andrew and several papers. Andrew is now a Neurology Resident at Oregon Health & Science University.

Ryan Diggs, BS - UCSD Medical Student 

  • Ryan is a 3rd year medical student who interned with us for several months on our NeuCovid research study. Ryan saw subjects impacted by long COVID over a few months-long period, and helped support the NeuCOVID research effort.

Neda Dastgheyb, MD - UCSD Medical Student 

  • Neda Dastgheyb's research block with our lab included investigating ocularmotor dysfunction in MS patients through eye-tracking technologies, and culminated in a poster presentation and a paper. 

Garrett Timmons, MD - UCSD Medical Student

  • Garrett Timmon's work with our lab included developing a study that investigated the impacts of COVID-19 on patients with pre-existing neurological conditions. This has culminated in a longitudinal study and multiple papers. Dr. Timmons is now a neurology resident at Stanford University. 

Abdulaziz Alsulami, MD - UCSD Visiting Scholar 

  • Dr. Abdulaziz Alsulami was a visiting scholar and a medical graduate from King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia who worked with our clinical research program. He has since returned to Saudi Arabia to pursue neurology. 

 Visesha Kakarla, BS - UCSD Medical Student

  • Visesha Kakarla's work with our lab included interning with our NeuCOVID research cohort. Visesha saw subjects impacted by long COVID over a few months-long period, and helped support the NeuCOVID research effort.