People

Michael Wilson is an Associate Professor in Neurology in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Glial Biology and directs the UCSF Center for Encephalitis and Meningitis. After finishing med school at UCSF and neurology residency at Harvard, he did two years of postdoctoral training in neurovirology with WP Duprex at BU's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Labs before returning to UCSF to train in metagenomics and microbiology with Joe DeRisi in the Dept of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Camille Fouassier is the Lab Manager in the Wilson Lab since May 2021. She received her Master's in Immuonology and Molecular Biology from Polytech France in 2014 and worked for 4 years at the Institut Curie in Paris to develop and then manage the CRISPR-based genome-wide screening core facility. Her new hobbies are using single cell technologies to discover new biomarkers for multiple sclerosis and to annoy her colleagues to have a proper “entrée-plat-dessert-café” lunch together everyday (French style).

Isobel Hawes received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in 2017 and did several years of research at the NIH in the lab of Dr. Antonello Bonci investigating the role of microglia in the development of the basal ganglia. She is now a BMS graduate student in the Wilson lab using phage display and immune repertoire sequencing techniques to investigate CNS-specific antibody populations in HIV patients.

Christopher Bartley is a pyschiatrist and researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. He received his MD and PhD (neurobiology, Bordey Lab) from Yale University. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Wilson and Pleasure labs working to understand the molecular links between autoimmunity and mental illness.

Sasha Gupta is a postdoctoral fellow. After completing a BA in neurobiology from UC Berkeley, an MD from Yale, and neurology residency from UCSF, Sasha is completing a neuroimmunology fellowship under the mentorship of Drs. Michael Wilson and Scott Zamvil. She is studying CAR-T cell therapy in autoimmune and infectious conditions, starting with EAE mouse models with a hope to target meningeal ectopic B cell follicles as well as for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). 

Colin Zamecnik is a postdoctoral scientist working between the labs of Michael Wilson and Joe DeRisi. He received a BSc in Nanotechnology Engineering from University of Waterloo, MSc in Chemistry from University of Toronto and PhD in Bioengineering in Tejal Desai's lab at UCSF. His background is in immunoengineering and T cell biology. Colin's current research focuses on developing new molecular diagnostics for neurological autoimmune disorders as well as antigen-specific treatments for these rare diseases.

Myriam Briner is a postdoctoral research fellow from Switzerland who is joining the Wilson Laboratory thanks to her receiving a grant from Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). She received her Master of Medicine at University of Zurich and her MD at University of Bern. Myriam is working as junior physician in neurology at the University Hospital of Bern with a special interest in Multiple Sclerosis. She gained research experience in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew Chan under supervision of PD Dr. Robert Hoepner. In her fellowship at UCSF she focuses on antigenic targets of B cells in MS.

Debanjana Chakravarty is a postdoctoral fellow in the Wilson and Pleasure labs working on the humoral responses in SARS-CoV-2-induced neuroinflammation. She completed her Integrated Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, India, where she researched the nexus between adaptive and innate immune responses in murine coronavirus-induced neuroinflammation. 

Chloe received a BA in Immunology and Pathogenesis and a minor in Nutrition from UC Berkeley in 2020. She is a research associate who works with flow cytometry and cell sorting to research B cells in autoimmune disorders such as MS. Before joining the Wilson Lab she worked at Color and processed COVID tests from across the country. She is interested in learning how to use science to better serve her surrounding communities.

Kelsey Zorn coordinates the DeRisi and Wilson labs' pathogen detection and autoantibody projects, often interacting directly with patients and families. She has a BA in Sociology from Reed College and an MHS in Social Factors in Health from Johns Hopkins. Her favorite co-worker is a sample transportation cooler with dry ice and biohazard labels, nicknamed ‘The Boss’.

Ravi Dandekar earned his Master’s degree in Integrative Genetics and Genomics from the University of California, Davis in 2016. He is interested in utilizing his expertise in Neurobiology and Bioinformatics to explore functional methods to better understand complex diseases and developmental disorders. In 2017 he joined the Wilson lab as a Bioinformatics Programmer.

Jessa Alexander received a B.A. from Barnard College in 2016. Before joining Wilson lab as a research associate, she worked as a Lab Manager at Caltech, studying the neural mechanisms underlying face representation in the IT cortex. She has used flow cytometry and cell sorting to research B cells and immune responses in MS and patients with psychosis and is now a Clinical Research Coordinator in the lab. 

Jeanie Tran joined the Department of Neurology in 2017 as a financial analyst and manages portfolios for researchers in the Neuroimmunology and Movement & Neuromodulation Divisions. She graduated from UC Davis and loves boba milk tea!!! 

Bonny Alvarenga received a BA in Immunology and Pathogenesis from UC Berkeley in 2019 and previously did nutrition research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. She is a research associate for the Wilson lab using phage display to help identify viruses associated with downstream neuroinflammatory disorders. She is interested in translational research in infectious diseases and hopes to become a successful plant mom one day.

Rebecca Bair received her BA in Neurobiology and Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology from UC Berkeley in 2021. Prior to joining the Wilson and DeRisi labs as a research associate, she worked in Dr. Lee Riley’s lab investigating the molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in uropathogenic E. coli. Rebecca is working to develop novel molecular diagnostics for neurological autoimmune disorders such as MS.

Gavin Sowa is a UCSF medical student taking a yearlong research fellowship before completing his final year of clinical training. Gavin was previously a summer student in the Wilson Lab, where he worked on phage display. He is interested in antiviral immunity, particularly as it pertains to improving and developing diagnostic testing. He received an MS degree in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry from Southern Illinois University in 2016.

Maham Zia has been a Staff Research Associate in the Wilson lab since October 2021. She completed her Bachelors in Physics from Reed College in May 2020 and then worked for a year in Drs. Margaret Titus’ and David Odde’s labs at University of Minnesota where she investigated the role of filopodia in sensing substrate stiffness in primary cancer cell lines. In the Wilson lab she uses mNGS to improve diagnostics for patients with neuroinflammatory disorders.

Lab Alumni

Prashanth Ramachandran was a postdoc in the Wilson Lab and is now an Asst Professor of Neurology at UCSF. He completed his medical degree and residency in Melbourne, Australia and collborates on translational research projects focused on improving diagnostics for patients with neuroinflammatory disorders, especially in the developing world. 

Akshaya Ramesh received her PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Boston University (lab of Tom Kepler) and was a postdoctoral scholar in the Wilson lab studying metagenomic, host transcritpomic and immune repertoire datasets from patients with neuroinflammatory disorders including MS and TB meningitis. She is now a Senior Bioinformatics Scientist at Genentech. 

Rita Loudermilk received a BS in genetics and genomics from UC Davis and worked for 4 years as a research associate and lab manager for the Wilson Lab. She used flow cytometry and cell sorting to research B cells and immune responses, focusing on autoimmune diseases such as MS. She's now a PhD student in the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Program. 

Annie Wapniarski was a research associate for 2 years working on preparing sequencing libraries for neuroinflammatory diseases. She received degrees in Molecular & Cell Biology and Classical Civilizations from UC Berkeley. She is pursuing a Master's in Public Health at NYU.

Carson Quinn was a UCSF medical student and did a yearlong research fellowship with the Wilson Lab in conjunction with the Boulware group in Kampala, Uganda. He is now a Neurology resident at the Harvard-Partners Neurology (MGH/BWH) program.

Hannah Sample was the inaugural research coordinator for the neuroinflammatory pathogen detection and autoantibody discovery program and the Program Manager for the UCSF Center for Next-Gen Precision Diagnostics and then managed the TrackCOVID Study, a collaboration between UCSF, Stanford and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. She is now a medical student at UCLA. 

Kanishka Koshal coordinated clinical studies for the Wilson Lab and for the MS group and is now a Program Manager with the Bove Lab

Ryan Schubert completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Stephen Hauser and Michael Wilson in 2020 after completing his neurology residency at UCSF and MD at Stanford and was supported by the AAN-NMSS Clinician-Scientist Development Award. He is now Senior Director and Head of Translational Medicine at Asceneuron, a neurodegeneration therapeutics company.

 

Michelle Grunberg was a visiting student in the Summer Research Training Program focused on optimizing metagenomic next generation sequencing for use with CSF samples. She is an undergraduate studying biology at UC Santa Barbara, after graduation she’s interested in pursuing translational research in infectious disease.

 

Hugo Pontes was a visiting student in the Summer Research Training Program focusing on CAR-T cell therapy for autoimmune diseases. He was an undergraduate studying chemical engineering at the University of Washington and is now getting his PhD in Immunology through the NIH Oxford-Cambridge PhD Program.

Ariele Greenfield was a Clinical Instructor in Neurology and the NMSS Kathleen C. Moore Postdoctoral Fellow. After earning a BS in neuroscience from UCLA, an MD from UCSD and training in neurology at UCSF, Ariele completed a fellowship under the mentorship of Drs. Wilson and Hauser in 2019. She studied B cells in the CNS, their targets, and how these relate to the development and maintenance of CNS autoimmune disease. She is now a neurologist and clinical researcher at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Lillian Khan was a research associate who works on making metagenomic sequencing libraries for the neuroinflammatory disease and pathogen discovery projects in the DeRisi and Wilson labs. She has a passion for infectious diseases and is fascinated by all nerdy things. She is now studying to become a nurse practitioner at Samuel Merritt University.

Edwina Tran coordinated clinical studies for the Wilson Lab and the MS group. She joined us in May 2017 after graduating from UC Berkeley with majors in Molecular and Cell Biology and Public Health. In her free time, she goes to Cal football games and explores the city for the best burrito places. She started medical school at UCSF in the fall of 2019 and then came back to the lab for a summer research rotation on TB meningitis in 2020!

Matthew Koelzer was a summer student assisting with bioinformatics and RNA sequencing data analysis in the Wilson Lab. He is currently an undergraduate at UCLA studying applied math.

Kristoffer Leon is a UCSF MSTP student currently working on Zika virus in the Ott lab. Infectious diseases, especially viruses, are both his clinical and research interest. He hopes to work with patients afflicted by neglected tropical diseases as a career.

Will Harkin coordinated several clinical studies for the Wilson Lab and the MS Division after graduating from UC Berkeley with a major in Molecular and Cell Biology and a minor in Disability Studies. He then went to medical school at UC San Diego.

 

Hao Wu was a staff bioinformatician. He received his M.S. in Entomology from Auburn University in 2011. Prior to working in the Wilson and von Büdingen Labs, he worked as a Software Engineer at Intellisurvey. Hao is interested in both biology and computer systems and is now back working in industry.