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Clinical Coordinators

Daniel Szpak, joined the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) as a Clinical Research Nurse with over 15 years of experience managing clinical trials and research staff in oncology, psychology, and HIV at UC San Diego. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and worked as a Human Resources Manager prior to earning his A.D.N. with honors from Los Angeles County/USC School of Nursing in 2001. Fulfilling his long term career goal of offering hope to individuals and their families at the ADRC, Daniel is honored to be part of such a dedicated and compassionate team in search of new ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.


Asmaa Al Hamdani was born in Baghdad-Iraq and immigrated to the United States in 2009. She graduated from ALMustansria School of Medicine in Baghdad where she received her bachelor’s degree in medicine and general surgery. She practiced as an Internist in Jordan Hospital and Medical Center in Amman- Jordan. In the United States, she completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Research at UCSD. Her thesis focused on how subjective memory complaints predicted performance across the lifespan. Shortly after, she joined the ADRC as a research study coordinator for clinical trials and assists in overseeing the UCSD Adult Down Syndrome Program which provides, cutting-edge health care, resources and research opportunities for Adults with Downs. Asmaa feels privileged to be working with extraordinary people whom are a true inspiration.

Christopher Slowik recently obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego. Driven by his curiosity towards the neurosciences and the workings of the brain, Christopher started volunteering at the ADRC in June of 2017 and will continue working as a clinical coordinator and recruiter during his gap years between graduation and medical school. After watching the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his grandmother, Chris became interested in being involved in the research and advancements at the SMADRC. He ultimately intends to pursue a profession in the medical field.

Kimberly Lopez received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development at the University of California, San Diego and has been working at the ADRC as a student worker since June 2016 assisting with administrative, data entry, and recruitment related tasks. She became interested in the ADRC because of her desire to learn more about the brain and research. In the future, she is planning to apply to a master’s program with the eventual goal of applying to medical school. She has now joined the ADRC team as a full time staff member managing the ADRC lab, applying her bilingual skills at outreach events in the community and assisting in the recruitment of new participants for the many research studies underway.

Lillian O. Pacheco, BS was born in Juarez, Chihuahua and raised in Mesilla, NM, Lillian attended New Mexico State University and majored in nursing, then decided to join the US Navy, where she became a Boatswainsmate and was stationed in San Diego on the USS Boxer LHD-4, then transferred to Honolulu, HI where she started her family. Lilly began working at UCSD in 2001 as a lead technician in the Department of Anatomic Pathology. After 4 years she was recruited to work in the Department of Radiology as a Clinical Research Manager and focused in Magnetic Resonance Imaging as the golden standard to detect liver diseases and over 30 clinical trials and experimental medications, in brain (MS), bone (Osteopenia, Osteomalacia and Osteoporosis), nerve (Brachial plexus), uterine fibroids and today in the Department of Neuroscience Alzheimer’s and Dementia disease.
Mollie Paster graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in theatre. Prior to working at the ADRC, she volunteered at the UCSF Autism and Neurodevelopment Clinic, where she trained to administer neuropsychological tests on a longitudinal study of the efficacy of Applied Behavioral Analysis. She also performed clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments at the Autism Center of Northern California. She contributed to a research project studying stress and relationships in caregivers of children with autism. During her undergraduate career at UCSD, she worked in a cognitive neuroscience lab, where she studied prefrontal stopping mechanisms and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Mollie is currently working as a psychometrist and study coordinator at the ADRC and plans to attend graduate school in the future for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Helen Vanderswag, RN earned an Associate degree at Palomar College and B.A. from the University of Phoenix. She joined the ADRC in 2002. In her 22 years of nursing experience she has worked in psychiatric inpatient and home care, and clinical research. She comes to us from the Geropsychiatry Unit at the VA Medical Center.