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Neuropsychology Team

Faculty

David Salmon Photo David P. Salmon, PhD Professor in Residence in the Department of Neurosciences and Co-Director of the Clinical Core of the ADRC. Dr. Salmon received his PhD in Biopsychology from Rutgers University in 1984 and completed post-doctoral training in Animal and Human Neuropsychology at UCSD in 1986. He has been affiliated with the ADRC since 1985. His research focuses on the neural basis of memory and cognition examined through the psychological and neurological analysis of the cognitive deficits associated with diverse dementing disorders. He was awarded the prestigious Helen A. Jarrett Chair Award in Alzheimer's Research in 2000.
Guerry Peavy photo Guerry M. Peavy, PhD is a licensed neuropsychologist and faculty member of the UCSD Department of Neurosciences. She obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Connecticut and has worked at the ADRC since 1990. Her research has focused on cognitive functioning in patients with Alzheimer's disease. She initially studied patients in severe stages of dementia, and is currently examining the effects of chronic psychological stress on the development of Alzheimer's disease. Of particular interest are those subjects who are already experiencing some memory loss but are otherwise functioning normally (MCI). Dr. Peavy is the director of the Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core at the SMADRC.
Diane M. Jacobs, PhD photo

Diane M. Jacobs, PhD is a licensed neuropsychologist and clinical researcher in the Department of Neurosciences at UCSD. Dr. Jacobs received her PhD from the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, and she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins. Her research focuses on assessment of cognition in aging and dementia, with an emphasis on early detection and differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Hector Gonzalez

Hector M. González is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosciences and Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist with clinical research training and experiences in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dr. González was a clinical research fellow and later co-investigator of the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA), which is a landmark dementia study among Mexican-origin Latinos. He served as Principle Investigator of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (SOL), Neurocognitive Reading Center, which is the largest study of Latino neurocognitive health and aging to-date. Dr. González is PI of the Study of Latinos-Investigation of neurocognitive aging (SOL-INCA), which is a SOL ancillary study examining sociocultural, cardiometabolic and genomic risks of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and ADRD among diverse Latinos.

Tamar Gollan Photo Tamar H. Gollan, PhD Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. Dr. Gollan investigates how bilingualism affects cognitive functioning by working primarily with the Hispanic Cohort at the ADRC. Dr. Gollan is a life-long Hebrew-English bilingual and is also fluent in Spanish. Dr. Gollan received her PhD in clinical and cognitive neuropsychology from the University of Arizona. She is a faculty member of the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, and also mentors undergraduate research as part of the Faculty Mentor Program and the McNair Program for students who are underrepresented in graduate education. Dr. Gollan’s research is funded by a Career Development Award (K23) from NIDCD/NIH.

Staff

Cynthia Avalos is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology with a minor in Psychology at UCSD and has been working at the SMADRC as a volunteer assisting with administrative, data entry, and recruitment related tasks. She became interested in the SMADRC because she desired to learn more about neurodegenerative diseases and help be a bridge between the Hispanic community and the SMADRC by increasing awareness about Alzheimer’s. She joined the SMADRC team as a student employee in June 2017, and will be working as a bilingual psychometrist and contributing to recruitment efforts for the longitudinal study and quality of life programs in the Hispanic/non-Hispanic communities during her gap years between graduation and acceptance to medical school. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and has lived in South bay San Diego all her life.
Mayra Murillo Beltran is a San Diego Native & a graduate from UC San Diego with a BA in Psychology. She is currently working as a part time bilingual spanish/english psychometrist for the ADRC. In addition to her work at the ADRC, Mayra works as a Research Assistant for the UCSD Bilingual Lab under Dr. Tamar Gollan. In her spare time, Mayra enjoys spending time with friends, singing and baking. She is currently enjoying being a new mom to her first born in December of 2017.
Cecilia Salcedo Borrego grew up in Mexico and returned to the US at the age of nine. She attended the University of California San Diego, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and double minor in Spanish Literature and Business. She aspires to obtain a PhD in Psychology and conduct her own research in the future. She became passionate about research when she became interested in language acquisition and retention, as she had to learn English when she moved from Mexico. Her interest in language flourished as an undergraduate after participating first as a subject in a study, and later as an undergraduate research assistant. The enjoyment of these experiences influenced her decision to pursue a career in neuropsychology and she is now a bilingual psychometrist at the SMADRC.
Alex Figueroa recently graduated from UCSD with a major in Physiology & Neuroscience. His interest in neurodegenerative diseases began when his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He volunteered at the ADRC during his sophomore year to gain a sense of the clinical aspects of AD research, then spent this past year working at the Desplats Lab under a project that involved working with cultured neurons to investigate the insulin resistance that is found in many AD cases. He recently graduated and joined the ADRC this year to work as a bilingual psychometrist and recruiter during his gap year before medical school. He is dedicted to doing everything in his power to recruit, educate, and spread awareness of neurodegenerative diseases within the Hispanic population of San Diego.
Sandy jerkins photo Sandra Jerkins, BS received her BS in Psychology from UCSD in 1998.  She has since worked as part-time psychometrist for our longitudinal study and many clinical trials. She is currently working as a rater and recruiter for the trials unit.
Chi Kim photo Chi Kim, BS received his degree from the University of California, San Diego in Cognitive Science. He provides training and oversight to the neuropsychology team as a psychometrist supervisor. He administers neuropsychological testing for a wide array of studies at the ADRC. Additionally, he provides technical and computer expertise for the ADRC and Trials Unit staff.

Brandon Pulido received a degree in Psychology with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015. After graduating, he worked at the Semel Neuroscience Institute at UCLA as a Bilingual Research Assessor conducting assessments designed to measure intelligence and impulsiveness in young children. Additionally, as his interests revolve around neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, he worked as a research assistant, and later an author, on a study focusing on Traumatic Brain Injuries. These studies, at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute enabled him to acquire research experience in the field he is passionate about. After two years at UCLA, he wanted to focus his experience directly on his interest in neurodegenerative diseases, so he moved to the San Diego area and began working at the UCSD SMADRC as a bilingual psychometrist.

Amanda Rodriguez photo Amanda Rodriguez, BA was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, but moved to California at 11 years old, where she has lived ever since. She later moved to La Jolla, California to attend the University of California, San Diego and obtain a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience/Physiology with a minor in Psychology. In pursuits of finding my true passion, she has involved herself with both hospital and lab work, including the Infectious Diseases Center in Hillcrest Hospital, a research lab assistant at the Orthopaedic Surgery Research Center and the Memory, Aging and Resilience Clinic. She is currently working at the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center as a bilingual psychometrist and coordinator for the Peavy Caregiver Stress Study.