Ausaf Bari, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, UCLA Neurosurgery Dr. Bari specializes in the neurosurgical repair and restoration of brain and nerve function. Following his neurosurgery residency training at UCLA, Dr. Bari was awarded the prestigious William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship to train at the world-renowned functional neurosurgery program at the University of Toronto. He has extensive clinical and research experience in the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of both movement and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Bari's clinical practice includes DBS surgery for Parkinson's disease, tremor, dystonia, depression and OCD. In addition, his clinical practice includes neurosurgery for brain tumors, pain, and peripheral nerve disorders. More >
Jasmine DiCesare, MD Dr. Jasmine Dicesare is a UCLA Neurosurgery resident. Dr. Dicesare attended the University of Southern California where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and then went on to Harvard Medical School where she attained her MD She has received numerous awards for her merit and fellowships. More >
Bayard Wilson, MD Bayard Wilson is a current resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA. He graduated from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2017. Since arriving at UCLA, he has developed an interest in treating pain and addiction through neurosurgical approaches. He is also invested in refining resident education, and in expanding medical student interest and involvement in the department at UCLA. More >
Srinivas Chivukula, MD Dr Srinivas Chivukula graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is a currently a resident at UCLA Neurosurgery. He has received numerous awards for his collegiate excellence and research. Dr. Chivukula received his Bachelor’s degree in biomedical/medical engineering in Columbia University and is on track to receive his PhD from Caltech in Neurobiology and Neurosciences.
Josue Moises Avecillas-Chasin MD, PhD Dr Avecillas-Chasin received his neurosurgical training in Madrid-Spain under the mentorship of Prof Juan Barcia. Then, he was trained in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery in Vancouver-Canada under the mentorship of Prof Christopher Honey. Dr Avecillas-Chasin is focused in the study of the white matter anatomy through the use of tractography and cadaveric dissection. Also, he has experience analyzing the volume of activated tissue of DBS electrodes for movement and psychiatric disorders and this analysis have been coupled with anatomical concepts of white matter anatomy in order to explain the effects of DBS. Currently, Dr Avecillas-Chasin is involved in several research projects to correlate the clinical effects of DBS with the modulation of the main pathways of the basal ganglia, thalamus, and amygdala.
Rhideeta Jalal Rhideeta Jalal graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge and received her M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. She started at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience at UCLA with a research focus on identifying early biomarkers of neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically in autism spectrum disorders. She currently works as a Staff Research Associate at UCLA for the Human Connectome Project Development collecting multimodal MRI and neurobehavioral data on typically developing children and studying the effects on brain structure, function, and connectivity. In Dr. Bari’s lab, her research is focused on studying the relationship between the motor and reward systems of the brain. She is excited to be a part of the lab and studying the neurobiology underlying movement disorders.
Mahmoud Omidbeigi, MD Mahmoud Omidbeigi received his MD degree from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Prior to joining Dr. Bari's lab, Mahmoud worked as a research assistant at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and performed research in neuroimaging and clinical neurosurgery. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA, Department of neurosurgery, and is involved in several areas of research, including diffusion imaging and electrophysiological data analysis, to studying neurobiology underlying psychiatric disorders.
Daniel Arriola, MD Candidate Daniel Arriola is currently a 2nd year medical student in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He received his B.S. in Neuroscience from UCLA. His research is focused on elucidating the structural connectivity of the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of the reward system. The anatomical information generated from this research can be used to complement data from functional MRI (fMRI) to further understand the brain’s reward circuitry and help advance research to augment preoperative neurosurgical planning and therapeutic options for disorders of the reward system.
Vincent Arriola, MD Candidate Vincent Arriola is currently a 2nd year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He received his B.A. in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California. His research is focused on investigating brain connectivity. Currently, he is studying the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT) using diffusion tensor imaging to elucidate the various fiber tracts that are stimulated in patients receiving deep brain stimulation for epilepsy. The information gathered from this research could provide clinical value for more precise contact placement in the ANT that can be used to improve clinical outcomes in DBS for epilepsy.
Ehsan Izadmehr, MD Candidate Ehsan Izadmehr is a student at David Geffen School of Medicine in UCLA. He is currently working on the data analysis of labs researching tractography in epilepsy.
Monica Justo, MD Candidate Monica Justo graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. While an undergraduate student she was on the President’s Honor Roll for 5 semesters. She is currently a 2021 candidate for an MD from UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She has been a medical scribe, an undergraduate student observer in cardiology, and has volunteered at multiple health institutions. She is currently working on two projects; one in which they are masking the brain stem and another that focuses on Parkinson’s disease imaging. She is also studying the structural correlations for patients with DBS- PTSD.
Seung James Lee, MD Candidate Seung Jin Lee (James) is a 4th year medical student at UCLA. He graduated from UCSD with a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience, and worked as a Staff Research Associate under Dr. Nicholas Spitzer studying the mechanisms of neurotransmitter plasticity before starting medical school. He is currently investigating the behavioral effects of vagus nerve stimulation.
Simon Levinson, MD Candidate Simon is a third year medical student at UCLA. He graduated in 2017 from UCLA with a degree in Political Theory and Neuroscience. He is interested in how we can use a deeper understanding of fundamental neuroanatomy and physiology to understand human behavior and ultimately reduce the global burden of neuro and psychiatric related disease. He plans to apply to neurosurgical residency after medical school. Currently he is working on several projects to understand how differences in connectivity between brain nuclei affect and modulate behavior with a focus on the Locus Coeruleus, Ventra Tegmental Area, Nucleus Accumbens and Substantia Nigra and generate a unique set of subcortical atlases for these structures. He also works to scale up scale process by utilizing cloud computing through Amazon Web Service.
Michelle Miller, MD Candidate Michelle Miller is a 3rd year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She graduated from Princeton University in 2016 with a BA in chemistry, where she was also an academic all-American as a member of the women's basketball team. She is currently working on a project looking at the acute effects of VNS and DBS on impulsivity and reward behaviors in epilepsy patients.
Andrew O'Rourke, MD Candidate Andrew is a second-year medical student at DGSOM with an undergraduate degree in biomechanical engineering and industry experience in surgical robotics. He is interested in understanding the brain's addiction and reward pathways through behavioral tasks performed in patients with neuromodulation devices and EEG recording devices such as vagal nerve stimulators (placed for epilepsy treatment) and depth electrodes (placed for epilepsy treatment planning).
John P. Sheppard, MD Candidate John Sheppard received his B.S. in biomedical engineering at Northwestern University and M.S. in molecular biology from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory before matriculating at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (MD expected 2020). His research background includes published work in neuro-imaging, network science, decision-making, behavioral economics, electrophysiology and optogenetics, in addition to clinical research in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology. He is currently helping to analyze human electrophysiological (single-unit and LFP) recordings from mesial temporal and limbic cortices during choice task performance.
Hiro Sparks, MD Candidate Hiro Sparks graduated with highest honors from UCSB in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is now a second-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Currently, Hiro is involved in studying the effects of anesthesia on the nuclei of the basal ganglia. He is also working on a retrospective study investigating the effects of stereotactic radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations.
Emmanuel Villalpando, MD Candidate Emmanuel Villalpando is a first-year medical student attending the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In 2016 he graduated from UCSD with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology before completing an M.S. in Biology from UCSD while working under Dr. Chitra Mandyam PhD in the UCSD Anesthesiology Dept. Prior to joining the Bari Lab, he worked on project to assess the potential clinically translational value of diffusion tensor imaging metrics in characterizing changes in white matter integrity of the rodent medial prefrontal cortex during protracted abstinence from chronic intermittent ethanol exposure. He is currently working on a project to investigate the potential therapeutic applications of Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) on decreasing impulsive, reward-seeking behavior in tobacco use disorders.
Mikaela Gareeb Mikaela Gareeb is a fourth-year undergraduate at UCLA studying psychobiology. Mikaela is interested in the relationship between behavior and neural networks in regards to psychiatric conditions. As such, she is currently working on identifying the boundaries of the nucleus accumbens via MRI imaging software.
Ahmed Iftekhar Ahmed Iftekhar is a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA. He is studying Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Computing and is interested in pursuing medical school post- graduation. He has worked as an intern involved with database programming at Infinera Corporation in the past. Ahmed is very interested in the intersection of the fields of medicine and computer science and how programming can be used to improve treatment of neurological disorders. Ahmed works with virtual machines on AWS to help with brain mapping and the processing of MRI data. Ahmed Iftekhar.
Nader Pouratian, MD, PhD, Professor, UCLA Neurosurgery
Saman Hazany, MD, Keck Medicine of USC
Wenxin (Mary) Wei Wenxin (Mary) Wei is a lab coordinator for the lab. She graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from UCLA. Before joining the lab, she worked as a clinical data specialist in the neuroscience department for pharmaceutical companies. During her undergrad, she worked as a research assistant in Zili’s lab and focused on perceptual organization, depth perception and visual motion processing.