Current Lab Members

Keith Vossel

Kwaku Addo-Osafo, MSc 
Staff Research Associate, Lab Manager

Kwaku is a MSc graduate in neuroscience from the University of Calgary. His past research has focused on epilepsy and hippocampal function and he is excited to contribute to the research on Alzheimer's and related disorders at the UCLA Easton Center. Outside of research he enjoys outdoor activities and has an interest in sports as a former track and field hurdler.

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Stephanie Jones
Executive Assistant

Stephanie received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film and Television Business from Azusa Pacific University in 2016. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at a post-production studio in Culver City where she began working full time after graduating as the front desk manager. Before joining the Easton team, Stephanie was the Executive Assistant to the CEO and COO of UrgentPoint Wellness, a multi-specialty medical group focused on providing psychiatric services to patients in need.

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Thao Rodriguez, NP
Research Nurse Practitioner

Thao Rodriguez earned a bachelor of science in biology at UC Davis, followed by a bachelor and master of science in nursing from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON). While studying at JHUSON, she worked as a registered nurse on a surgical floor. 

Her first position as a nurse practitioner was at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C., working as an interventional cardiology nurse practitioner for over a year before working as a geriatric nurse practitioner for over 2 years with Yale New Haven Hospital – Northeast Medical Group. More recently, Thao has been working as a research nurse practitioner and is responsible for all aspect of patient and research-related care, including acting as a sub-investigator and/or research nurse for multiple research studies including studies related to pre-clinical dementia, mild cognitive impairment, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and solid tumors. Outside of work, Thao enjoys activities such as eating, hiking, and the great outdoors with family, friends, and three dogs. 

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Mariane Vicente, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Vicente is a graduate in Biological Science from Sao Paulo State University, Brazil (UNESP) (2013), and earned a Master's (2016) and PhD (2021) degree in Animal Physiology from Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), Brazil. She completed a PhD sandwich at A.T. Still University, Kirksville, MO (2018). Before joining the lab, she was focused on respiratory dysfunction during sleep and awake in a model of Alzheimer's Disease. She is excited to contribute to the Alzheimer’s research in the Vossel Lab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys movies, shows and the gym.

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Vishnu Shandilya, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Vishnu Shandilya is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Keith Vossel's lab. He did his Ph.D. at University of Hyderabad, where his behavioral and molecular neuroscience work was on the synaptic plasticity gene Arc and memory. He is excited to contribute to the Alzheimer’s disease research in the Vossel lab and Easton Center. During his free time, Dr. Shandilya enjoys music, movies, and sports.

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Kaylin Hwang
Staff Research Associate

Kaylin is a B.A. graduate in Neuroscience from Amherst College. Her past research has been on the maternal and developmental outcomes of anti-seizure drugs as well as the anti-depressant effects of caffeine. She is thrilled to be a part of the meaningful research being conducted at the UCLA Easton Center. In her free time, she enjoys cooking with her family, going on road trips, and playing word games.

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Rahil Vaknalli
Staff Research Associate

Rahil is a B.S. graduate in Neuroscience at UCLA. He is interested in exploring the mechanisms of neural circuit assembly related to higher cognitive function and neurocognitive disorders. He plans to apply to PhD programs to use basic scientific discoveries to optimize clinical interventions for patients with these disorders. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, hiking and searching for new restaurants in Los Angeles.

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Aisha Mohammed
Clinical Research Coordinator

Aisha is a B.A. graduate in Psychology from the University of San Francisco with minors in Neuroscience, Health Studies, and Business Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Her past research focused on projects surrounding cognitive training and assessments for adolescents. Before joining the lab, she also focused on research topics related to social interaction and neruoeconomices. Outisde work she enjoys going to the movies, hiking, and scoping out the LA food scene.

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Gema Ortiz
Clinical Research Coordinator

Gema Ortiz graduated from UCLA in 2020 with a major in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she volunteered for The Human Connectome Project Aging under the mentorship of Dr. Mirella Diaz-Santos and worked as a clinic coordinator at the Center for Pediatric Neuropsychology under the mentorship of Dr. Vindia Fernandez. After graduation, she started working as a staff research associate for The Human Connectome Project Development under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Bookheimer. When the grant ended, she was hired as a research coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego, and worked at an Alzheimer's lab studying diabetes and its impact on aging and cognition. Some of her past research experience includes working on behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia data, social cognition, functional connectivity, plasma biomarkers and dementia with Lewy bodies. Gema is excited to work at the Easton Center and collaborate in projects that target the Latinx community.

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Melanie Morales Aquino
Undergraduate Researcher

Melanie Morales Aquino is an undergraduate at Brown University concentrating in Health and Human Biology and on the pre med track. Her project at the Vossel Lab focuses on proximity ligation assay, primary neuronal culture, cell imaging and image anaylsis, and assisting with mouse surgeries. She is very excited to contribute to research at the Vossel Lab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys, hiking, dancing, and learning guitar.

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Ryan Hoang
Undergraduate Researcher

Ryan Hoang is an undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, with an interest in Neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases. He's excited to work on the interplay between hyperexcitability/seizures and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's Disease. In his free time, he likes to go on hikes or boba runs with friends, watch anime, and explore new and cool places in LA.

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Vincent Musser
Undergraduate Researcher

Vincent is an undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Neuroscience. He is currently on the pre-med track and has plans to become a neurosurgeon. He is fascinated by the molecular pathologies of many diseases, and has past experience with protein misfolding in the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. He is excited to apply this knowledge to help divert the neurodegeneration found in Alzheimer's Disease. During his free time, Vincent enjoys long walks, going to the gym, and drawing.

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Joshua Stepter
Undergraduate Researcher

Joshua Stepter is an undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Neuroscience, his ultimate goal being to attend medical school and become a clinical neurologist. He has long been interested in the causes and mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, so during his time in the lab he hopes to gain a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s interacts with epilepsy in addition to gaining firsthand experience of the laboratory research process. In his free time, Joshua enjoys writing songs, producing music, and spending time with his friends and family.

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Nane Onanyan
Undergraduate Researcher

Nane Onanyan is an undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Biochemistry with an interest in Neurology. Her past efforts in Alzheimer's Disease research lead to her curiosity in tau and its relatedness to neurodegenerative diseases. During her time in the lab, she hopes to gain a better understanding of epilepsy and its role in cognitive decline. Outside of the lab, she likes to sew, hang out with friends, and dance.

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Chloe Stacks
Undergraduate Researcher

Chloe is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology on the pre-dental track. She is passionate about healthcare inequity and is excited to learn more about neurodegenerative diseases and the impacts they have on patients.  Outside of school, Chloe likes to go hiking, try out new restaurants, sing, and spend time with her family and friends.

Past Lab Members

Nisha Venkateswaranl

Nisha Venkateswaran
Staff Research Associate

Nisha is a B.A. graduate in neuroscience from Colorado College. She worked in the Vossel Lab for two years focusing on the anti-seizure drug trial and an FTD case study.  She is currently pursuing a career in medicine.