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Research Tracks & Mentors

One of the greatest strengths of the UC San Diego site is the involvement of our highly successful research faculty who will serve as mentors for the LAUNCH program. UC San Diego is one of the nation's top research institutions , and our research faculty mentors have a variety of expertise in neuroscience research. 

Potential Research Mentors

A sample of potential research mentors, by research track, from a campus-wide pool for the UC San Diego LAUNCH program are found in the table and links below.​

If you have any questions, please email​

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Track

 First Name, Last Name, Degree Department Research Interest
Mark ​Bondi, PhD Psychiatry Neuroimaging techniques, foci on brainstem alterations related neurodegenerative disease and mild cognative impairment
James B. Brewer, MD, PhD Neurosciences Advanced imaging approaches to neurodegenerative diseases and disorders of memory
Mariana Cherner, PhD*,§ Psychiatry Neurobehavioral consequences of HIV and substance use
Ronald Ellis, MD, PhD,§ Neurosciences Neurological manifestation of HIV infection, neurocognitive disorders, HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy
Howard Feldman, MD Neurosciences Cognitive disorders associated with aging and in the neurodegenerative dementias
Douglas R Galasko, MD Neurosciences Risk factors and mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders, in particular Lewy Body Disease
Hector M Gonzalez, PhD Neurosciences Neurocognition and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias among divers Latinos
Robert Hevner, PhD Neurosciences Developmental neuroscience to clinical neuropathology- neocortex to entorhinal cortex
William Kremen, PhD Psychiatry Cognitive, psychosocial, psychiatric symptom, alcohol use, health/medical, sleep quality, neuroendocrine, genotyping, biomarker ,and multi-modal neuroimaging assessments
Andrea LaCroix, PhD Family Medicine and Public Health Health-related behaviors, common medications, biomarkers, new therapeutics, and genetic risk factors in aging men and women across a wide spectrum of disorders including Alzheimer's
Maria Marquine, PhD Psychiatry Neurocognitive decline among older Hispanics
​Linda McEvoy, PhD ​Radiology, Family Medicine and Public Health Understanding of cognitive changes in healthy and pathological aging, genetic risk factors, sex differences and biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer's disease
Anthony Molina, PhD Medicine Blood-Based Biomarkers of Aging, Bioenergetics and Cognitive Decline, Aging and Physical Function
David Salmon, PhD Neurosciences Cognitive deficits associated with Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Track Leader; §Executive Committee

Cellular, Developmental and Molecular Neuroscience Track

 First Name, Last Name, Degree Department Research Interest
Susan Ackerman, PhD Cellular and Molecular Medicine Molecular pathways controlling neuron homeostasis
Wendy Marie Campana, PhD ​Anesthesia Molecular and Cellular Response to Nerve Injury and Chronic Neuropathic Pain
Richard Daneman, PhD Pharmacology, Neuroscience Cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms of blood-brain barrier development / dysfunction in neurological diseases
Paula Desplats, PhD § ​Neurosciences & Pathology Neuroepigenetic mechanisms in disease
Joseph Gleeson, MD Neurosciences & Pediatrics Genetic and cell biological basis of brain development
Shelley Halpain, PhD*§ Ne​uro​biology Neural circuit development & degeneration​
Vivian Hook, PhD Neurosciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Mechanisms of Neurotransmitter Activity
Alysson Muotri, PhD Pharmacology, Neurosciences Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms in Autism and other Developmental Disorders
Robert Rissman, PhD Neurosciences Molecular Neuropathology and Biomarker Discovery
Michael Taffe, PhD Psychiatry Effects of recreational or abused drgus on the brain and the resulting changes in behavior
Chengbiao Wu, PhD Neurosciences Mechanisms of Axonopathy and Neurodegeneration

Track Leader; §Executive Committee

Computational and Systems Neuroscience Track

 First Name, Last Name, Degree Department Research Interest
Matthew Banghart, PhD Neurobiology, Biol Sci Neuromodulation; nociception in CNS
Brenda Bloodgood, PhD Neurobiology, 
Biol Sci
Synapse biology & gene regulation; circuit plasticity
Hollis Cline, PhD Neurosciences, TSRI Architecture, development, and plasticity of brain circuits
Timothy Genter, PhD Psychology, Social Sci Computational approaches in audiotry processing
Shelley Halpain, PhD*,§ Neurobiology, Biol Sci Neural circuit development & degeneration
David Kleinfeld, PhD Physics, Physical Sci Sensorimotor neuroscience; brain microcirculation; neurotechnology
Takaki Komiyama, PhD Neurobiology, Biol Sci Cellular resolution functional imaging of neuronal ensembles
Jill Leutgeb, PhD§ ​Neurobiology, Biol Sci Neural basis of memory formation and retrieval at the systems level
Padmini Rangamani, PhD School of Engineering Computational biology & biophysics related to synapse functiion
Kay Tye, PhD ​Salk Institute Brain circuits of emotion, motivation, social behaviors

Track Leader; §Executive Committee

Explore Faculty Research

For a comprehensive list of faculty and spec​ific res​earch, please visit the following programs and departments directly:​​​