Raman Sankar, MD, PhD, FAAN, FAES
Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurology
Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology
Raman Sankar is a graduate of the University of Bombay, India and obtained a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle. After several years as a faculty member, he decided to study Medicine and attended Tulane Medical School in New Orleans. Dr. Sankar founded the Developmental Research Laboratory in the Division of Pediatric Neurology, which is now directed by his collaborator, Dr. Andrey Mazarati. The laboratory pursues basic scientific research on topics ranging from seizure-associated brain injury, the process by which the brain may lead to the development of epilepsy, and in recent years, the mechanisms linking epilepsy with a number of neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, ADHD, and autism. Dr. Sankar also participates in a number of clinical trials with members of the faculty, has edited several text books on epilepsy and is the author of more than 200 research articles, invited reviews, book chapters, and editorials.
Rujuta B. Wilson, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
Dr. Rujuta B. Wilson is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism spectrum disorders and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Neurology and Psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). Dr. Wilson leads the motor phenotyping core at UCLA CART. Her research is focused on developing quantitative methods of motor phenotyping in order to improve the characterization of motor development, better understand how specific motor impairments can impact cognition and language, and develop more targeted interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Wilson is a recipient of the prestigious K12 Child Neurologist Career Development Program Award. Dr. Wilson’s work also extends to measuring the physical and behavioral benefits of organized physical activity for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Wilson is an invited member of the United States Tennis Association Sports Science Committee and the American Academy of Neurology Education Committee.
Dr. Wilson's NIH funded research is focused on understanding motor abnormalities in ASD, related genetic syndromes, defining the nature of, and sequelae of these motor deficits. Dr. Wilson utilizes quantitative measures of motor function to better evaluate specific and subtle motor impairments in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Meeryo Choe, MD, FAAN
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Program Director, Child Neurology Residency
Meeryo Choe grew up in the Los Angeles area, traveled east to attend Amherst College, and then returned to L.A. to attend medical school at USC. She came to UCLA in 2004 for her child neurology residency. After completing training, she decided to combine her personal interest in sports and professional interest in the developing brain together as a Neurotrauma/Sports Neurology Fellow with Dr. Christopher Giza. In clinic, Dr. Choe has sees patients with traumatic brain injury, with a focus on sports-related concussion. Her clinical and research interests include post-traumatic headache/migraine, gender differences in outcome after concussion, and dysautonomia. She also sees patients with autonomic dysfunction in the Pediatric Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) multidisciplinary clinic working alongside cardiology, rheumatology, and gastroenterology. An avid equestrian competing in show jumping and former swimmer, Dr. Choe also coaches at a local high school giving her a unique perspective on an athlete's desire to return to his/her sport and the outside pressures they might experience. She is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology and Child Neurology Society, and currently serves on the USA Swimming Concussion Task Force.
Christopher Giza, MD, FAAN
Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosurgery
Christopher Giza graduated from Dartmouth College, received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed his internship at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Giza then trained in Adult and Pediatric Neurology at UCLA, after which he worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team. In 1998, he returned to UCLA and joined the Brain Injury Research Center. His research interests include neuroplasticity, recovery from injury, sport-related concussions, post-traumatic epilepsy and brain development. Dr. Giza leads the Pediatric TBI/Sports Concussion program at UCLA. He served as Vice-Chair for the California State Athletic Commission, traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense and Co-Chaired the American Academy of Neurology's committee which developed an evidence-based Practice Guideline for Management of Sports Concussions in 2013. He serves on the Center for Disease Control's Pediatric mild TBI committee, the NCAA Concussion Task Force and the Major League Soccer Concussion Program Committee. He is currently a Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
Shaun Hussain, MD, MS
Assoicate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Shaun Hussain studied psychobiology as a UCLA undergraduate prior to attending medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. After completing his medical studies and graduate training in clinical research methods, he returned to UCLA to complete residency training in Pediatrics and Neurology, as well as fellowship training in pediatric epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology. As Director of the UCLA Infantile Spasms Program, the focus of his clinical and research endeavors is infantile spasms (West Syndrome) and other severe forms of childhood epilepsy. Dr. Hussain serves on the National Infantile Spasms Consortium and is the recipient of the Epilepsy Foundation Care and Cure Fellowship Award and the Epilepsy Therapy Project Young Investigator Award.
Shafali S. Jeste, MD
Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Neurology
Director, Care and Research in Neurogenetics Clinic (CARING Clinic)
Dr. Shafali Jeste is Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Jeste’s research is focused on the use of novel electrophysiological biomarkers to better define early predictors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to define more homogeneous, brain-based subgroups within the autism spectrum in order to inform treatment targets. She has designed innovative studies in early predictors of ASD to focus on the integration of biomarkers with behavior to define atypical development prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. Within this framework, she has been investigating and treating infants and children with neurogenetic syndromes associated with ASD. She is the principal investigator of several studies, including early development and intervention for infants with tuberous sclerosis complex and the UCLA Autism Center of Excellence study of high-risk infant siblings. Dr. Jeste serves as the UCLA site director for a multisite National Institutes of Health Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials research study. Clinically, she evaluates and treats patients with ASD and neurological comorbidities, and directs the UCLA Care and Research in Neurogenetics Clinic (CARING Clinic). Dr. Jeste has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and has been the recipient of the Child Neurology Foundation’s Researcher-in-Training Award and the American Academy of Neurology’s Clinical Researcher-in- Training Award. She serves on the board of directors for the Child Neurology Foundation and was elected to serve on the board of directors for the International Society for Autism Research.
Harley Kornblum, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology and Pediatrics
Harley Kornblum, MD, PhD, is currently a Professor of Psychiatry, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is a Pediatric Neurologist, and is the Founding Director of the UCLA Neural Stem Cell Research Center. He is a Principal Investigator in the UCLA Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center and a member of The Brain Research Institute, The Molecular Biology Institute, The Broad Stem Cell Research Center and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. His degrees include a BA in Biology from Washington University and a PhD, and MD from UC Irvine. His research interests include the biology and use of neural stem cells, brain development, brain tumors, neural repair and autism.
Jason T. Lerner, MD, FAES
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Chief of Clinical Pediatric Neurology
Director, Adolescent Epilepsy Center at UCLA
Jason Lerner graduated from Trenton State College and received his M.D. from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. His training included: a residency in pediatrics at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, a residency in child neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a fellowship in pediatric epilepsy at UCLA.
Dr. Lerner has been on faculty at UCLA since 2006 and held multiple leadership positions including Director of the Child Neurology Residency Program and Director of the Pediatric Neurophysiology Lab. Currently he is the Associate Chief of Clinical Pediatric Neurology and the Director of the Adolescent Epilepsy Center at UCLA. He splits his time between clinical work, research and administrative duties and is also actively teaching and mentoring fellows, residents, medical students and undergraduate students. His research interests include: adolescent epilepsy, comorbidities associated with epilepsy and epilepsy surgery. Dr. Lerner has over 50 publications and abstracts.
Hiroki Nariai, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Nariai is currently Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Neurology at UCLA. He specializes in pediatric epilepsy, with specific focus on drug-resistant epilepsy and epilepsy surgery evaluation. Dr. Nariai is board-certified in pediatric neurology and clinical neurophysiology.
Dr. Nariai is actively involved in the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program from both a clinical and research perspective. He has been funded by the American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, American Brain Foundation, and Epilepsy Foundation. Though his ongoing work, he is studying EEG (electroencephalogram) biomarker of drug-resistance in epilepsy, and human brain mapping utilizing computer EEG analysis.
Dr. Nariai is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and American Epilepsy Society (AES).
Joyce Matsumoto, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Joyce Matsumoto graduated from Pacific Union College in northern California, and received her MD from Loma Linda University School of Medicine, where she also completed her medical internship. She completed her Neurology residency at UCLA, then Epilepsy fellowship at UC San Francisco before returning to UCLA to work in the pediatric neurology division. She is board certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and in Epilepsy Monitoring from the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology. She has an active role with the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Program as a clinician and electroencephalographer, and serves as the Medical Director of the UCLA Ketogenic Diet program. Her research interests include continuous EEG monitoring in the critically ill children, and expanding the scope of ketogenic diet therapy to other neurologic and medical conditions.
Rajsekar Rajaraman, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
A native of New Jersey, Dr. Rajaraman completed his pediatrics residency at the Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in New Jersey. During his pediatric residency, his exposure to seizures and the effects that epilepsy has on the patient and family led to him pursuing a career in pediatric epileptology at UCLA. Currently, his clinical and research interests involve all aspects of infantile spasms, as well as its effects in Tuberous Sclerosis and CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder. Dr. Rajaraman is currently the Director of the UCLA Tuberous Sclerosis Center of Excellence as well as the UCLA CDKL5 Center of Excellence. He has presented research at multiple conferences, including the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, and the American Epilepsy Society, receiving achievements including the national 2014 American Epilepsy Society Young Investigator Award. Dr. Rajaraman has multiple publications on infantile spasms and cannabidiol (CBD). He is currently obtaining a Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCr) at UCLA, supported by the Pediatric Victory Foundation.
Lekha M. Rao, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Lekha Rao grew up in the Bay Area but left sunny California to study Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduation, she stayed at Johns Hopkins for a year working in pediatric movement disorder research. She then went on to attend medical school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, finally returning to California for pediatric residency, child neurology, and pediatric epilepsy fellowship at UCLA. Lekha's research interests include neonatal seizures and seizures following hypoxic-ischemic injury. She currently sees patients both in Westwood and Santa Monica and also runs a free neurology clinic monthly at the Venice Family Clinic.
Pantea Sharifi-Hannauer, MD
Pantea Sharifi-Hannauer was a former college student at UCLA and received a degree in Biology. She attended the Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School and also received a Master's degree in Physiology. She then returned to California for her residency training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at UCLA. During her training, she specialized in seeing and managing patients with autism and neuro-developmental disorders under the mentorship of Sarah Spence, MD, PhD. She was also an active participant in the AGRE (Autism Genetic Resource Exchange) project for several years as she travelled throughout the state visiting and evaluating families with multiple autistic children. She continued her interest in autism and neurodevelopment in private practice while still being an active member of the UCLA faculty. Currently, she heads the Autism Epilepsy Clinic at the UCLA Santa Monica offices. She is also the Medical Director at Pediatric Minds Medical Center/the Early Childhood Treatment Center in Torrance, California. This is a unique program where intensive early intervention services are provided to children ages 2-6 years in a multi-disciplinary setting who have autism and other neuro-developmental disorders. The services provided include speech therapy, behavioral therapies and neuro-psychological testing. She is also involved in multiple research projects about autism including Autism genetics, autism and epilepsy, and autism interventions.