Renuka Nayak, MD, PhD

Asst Professor in Residence

Dr. Renuka Nayak, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist dedicated to advancing the care and treatment of patients with rheumatologic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. She uses her unique backgrounds in Biology, Computer Science, and Clinical Rheumatology to investigate the role of the human gut microbiome in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Elena Nedelcu, MD

Clinical Professor in Medicine
Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Elena Nedelcu brings two decades of experience in clinical pathology, transfusion medicine, hematology diagnostics and cellular therapies. Her main interests are medical and post-graduate education, patient safety and quality in transfusion service, and cellular therapies.

Alexandra Nelson, MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Alexandra Nelson is a neurologist who cares for patients with disorders that affect both movement and cognition, such as Huntington's disease, spinocerebellar ataxia and atypical parkinsonism. She also works closely with her patients' families. She is a member of the clinical and research team at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center and Huntington's Disease Clinic, designated a center of excellence by the Huntington's Disease Society of America.

Hailyn Nielsen, MD, PhD

Asst. Professor

I am a physician-scientist in the UCSF Division of Rheumatology. I keep a general rheumatology clinic at the Parnassus campus where I treat patients with autoimmune diseases. Additionally, I carry out post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Zikherman also in the Division of Rheumatology. Broadly, my research involves using mouse models of autoimmunity to dissect molecular mechanisms of immune tolerance.

Susana Ortiz-Urda, MD

Asst Professor in Residence

Dr. Susana Ortiz-Urda is a dermatologist and melanoma specialist who serves as co-director of the UCSF Melanoma Center. She cares for patients with early and advanced melanoma.

Ortiz-Urda’s lab works with human models of epithelial neoplasia and melanoma. She studies cancer signaling at a genetic sequencing level to identify novel transcripts, their functions and the factors that promote resistance to drugs or cancer progression. She hopes her findings may point to key biomarkers or new targets for treating melanoma.

Melanie Ott, MD, PhD


My laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis. We focus on a variety of viruses including HIV-1, Hepatitis B and C Virus (HBV and HCV), Zika and SARS-CoV-2. We believe that identifying common host pathways involved in different viruses can lead to the discovery of panviral therapeutics. All are important public health problems and with HCV and HIV sharing common traits including high propensities to establish chronic infections and a lack of efficient vaccines, and Zika and SARS-CoV-2 causing global pandemics leading to death and disability.

Yvonne Ou, MD

Professor in Residence

Our laboratory studies the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of glaucomatous neurodegeneration. We are particularly interested in understanding the earliest steps of inner retina circuit disassembly in response to injury.

Mercedes Paredes, MD, PhD

Assoc Professor in Residence

Joanna Phillips, MD, PhD

Professor In Residence
Neurological Surgery

Dr. Joanna Phillips is a neuropathologist, specializing in the examination of central nervous system tissue to help diagnose neurological diseases. Her particular goal is to improve brain tumor treatment through both patient care and research.

Phillips' research focuses on understanding how invading tumor cells interact with the components of the brain tumor microenvironment (the biological components immediately surrounding the tumor), and how these key interactions influence the development of a glioma (a type of brain tumor) and its response to therapy.

Xianhua Piao, MD, PhD

Professor in Residence

Dr. Piao is a physician-scientist with a focus in both neonatology and developmental neuroscience. She received her PhD with Alan Bernstein from University of Toronto, before completing her Pediatric residency at NYU and Neonatology fellowship as well as a post-doctoral fellowship with Chris Walsh at Harvard Medical School. Working in neonatal intensive care unit and laboratory, Dr. Piao’s career follows the bedside-to-bench-to-bedside paradigm.

Mary Prahl, MD

Assoc Prof of Clin Pediatrics

Dr. Prahl is a clinician-scientist engaged in translational research evaluating human immune responses to infectious diseases during pregnancy and early childhood to facilitate the development of novel strategies for disease prevention.