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Rady Children's Specialists

Neurology

Team

Our t​eam includes physicians who are board certified in neurology — many of whom have additional training in neurological subspecialties — along with residents and fellows, nurse practitioners and nurses.

Physicians

Jong Rho, M.D., Division Chief; Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

John Crawford, M.D., M.S., Director, Neuro-Oncology Program, Rady Children’s; Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Pediatrics; Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program; and Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Clinical Research, UC San Diego

Michael Zimbric, M.D., Clinical Director; Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Jonathan D. Bui, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Dillon Chen, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Jennifer Friedman, M.D., Director, Movement Disorders Clinic; Director, Tic/Tourette Center; Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Jeffrey Gold, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Neonatal Neurology; Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, Epilepsy and Neurophysiology, UC San Diego

Jennifer Graves, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.S., Director, Rady Children’s Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center; Director, UC San Diego Neuroimmunology Research Program; Associate Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, UC San Diego

Natalie Guido-Estrada, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Richard Haas, M.D., Director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center; Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Anuja Jindal, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics

Olivia Kim McManus, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics

Chamindra Konersman, M.D., Clinical Director of Muscle Disease; Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

James Nelson, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Mark P. Nespeca, M.D., Assistant Medical Director, EEG laboratory; Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, Epilepsy and Neurophysiology, UC San Diego

Neggy Rismanchi, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Michelle Sahagian, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Shifteh Sattar, M.D., Medical Director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center; Medical Director, EEG Laboratory; Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, Epilepsy and Neurophysiology, UC San Diego

Clare Skora, M.D.

Doris Trauner, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Regina Troxell, M.D., Associate Physician, Neurosciences, UC San Diego


Nurse Practitioners

Ana Carrion-Gelabert, M.S.N., FNP-C
Ana Marie Gelabert is a certified neuroscience nurse practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University and earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Marymount University. Ana began her career as a clinical nurse at George Washington University in the Neuroscience/Neurology department then became a pediatric clinical nurse at Kaiser Permanente and Inova Health System. Also at Kaiser Permanente, Ana worked as a triage/advice nurse before transferring to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to undertake the role of a family nurse practitioner. Continuing her career as a family nurse practitioner, she worked at Children’s National Medical Center in Child Neurology before coming to Rady’s Children’s. In patients with neonatal onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), she has provided Anakinra therapy. Ana is fluent in three languages — English, Spanish, and Tagalog (Filipino) — and has numerous publications and awards, such as the INOVA NP Mission in Action 2000 scholarship, NIH Merit award (6/2005) and CNMC Magnet award (2009). Her professional affiliations include the American College of Advanced Practice Nursing and American College of Neurology Nursing, among many others. Ana’s main goal is to deliver quality care and improve healthcare outcomes in the community.

Amber Contillo, M.S.N., FNP-C
Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami and her Master of Science in Nursing from Florida International University. She is nationally certified as an advanced registered nurse practitioner through American Association of Nurse Practitioners.Amber has always had a special interest in neurology, with a subspecialty in epilepsy. She began her career as a registered nurse working on the Neurology/Neurosurgery unit at Miami Children’s Hospital and developed a keen interest in helping children with epilepsy. She went on to work as a neurology nurse practitioner, where she was able to expand her role to include the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit neuro-neonatal intensive care and neuro-pediatric intensive care units. She joined the Rady Comprehensive Epilepsy Center team in 2017 as the epilepsy nurse practitioner.Amber is currently focusing on quality improvement in patient care and education in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. She is a part of the nursing Neuro Council and heads the epilepsy education days to provide education on seizure safety and management. She is also involved in community outreach to provide education on epilepsy to patients and families. She looks forward to training other nurse practitioners in epilepsy patient care and management as the Rady Comprehensive Epilepsy Center continues to expand.

Gail Reiner, D.N.P., FNP-C
Gail Reiner’s focus throughout her more than four-decade-long career has been on health promotion and quality of life for patients and families. In working with patients with tic disorders and Tourette syndrome, she monitors their development and medical outcomes. Gail provides comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT). She coordinates behavioral and/or medical therapy with strategies for management of life issues pertaining to school, work, social relationships and the patient and family’s goals. Her research focuses on mitochondrial disease, Smith-Magenis syndrome, mitochondrial disorders, autism and CBIT. Gail, who has a doctorate in nursing, is the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder, Smith-Magenis syndrome, which has enhanced her compassion for all patients affected by neurologic conditions. She also leads a Smith-Magenis clinic on a quarterly basis. She is a co-author on Frequency and complexity of de novo structural mutation in autism” and “A clinical trial of safety and tolerability for the selective dopamine D1 receptor antagonist ecopipam in patients with Lesch-Nyhan disease.”

 

Nurses

Marsha Harp, R.N.

Sherry Thompson, , R.N.

Fellows

Aliya Frederick, M.D., Ph.D.
Fellow, Clinical Neurophysiology
Hometown: Cheltenham, Pa.
Undergraduate education: Biochemistry and molecular biology at University of Maryland Baltimore County
Medical school: MSTP at Vanderbilt University
Residency: Child Neurology at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego
Academic interests: Child neurology, headache medicine, TMS
Hobbies: Traveling/weekend getaways, community service, dance and choreography

Andrew Hannawi, M.D., M.S.
Fellow, Autism and Neurodevelopment
Hometown: Corona, Calif.
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency: UC San Diego
Academic Interests: Autism and neurodevelopment, hospital neurology and neuroinfectious disease
Hobbies: Jazz, history, tennis, backpacking

Residents

Danielle Whalen, M.D., Chief Resident
Hometown: Glendora, Calif.
Undergraduate education: UCLA
Medical school: Albany Medical College
Academic interests: General neurology, neurogenomics, multidisciplinary care
Hobbies: fine dining, international travel, reading, cardio dance, water activities

Jennifer Yang, M.D., Chief Resident
Hometown: San Diego
Undergraduate education: UC Berkeley
Medical school: University of Alabama, Birmingham
Academic interests: Neuroimmunology, neurometabolic, neurocritical care
Hobbies: Going to concerts, mixing music, yoga, running, gardening, attempting various water sports, eating my way through San Diego’s finest culinary delights

Michael Castello, M.D., Ph.D.
Hometown: Maryland
Undergraduate education: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Medical school: Loma Linda University: graduate thesis involving neurodegeneration in Niemann-Pick type C and Alzheimer’s disease
Academic interests: Clinical and research neurology with a particular interest in computational neuroscience and bioengineering
Hobbies: Exploring the San Diego area, attempting to surf, writing

Adam Kalawi, M.D.
Hometown: Anaheim Hills, Calif.
Undergraduate education: Chapman University
Medical school: UC Irvine
Academic interests: Still open to considerations, but epilepsy is certainly fascinating. I would also love to work on applications of artificial intelligence in the medical community.
Hobbies: Exploring national parks, camping, hiking throughout San Diego, kayaking on Mission Bay, building computers/tinkering with electronics, wrestling/Brazilian jiu-jitsu, spending time with my sister and her family here in San Diego, and taking trips up to Orange County to see the rest of my family!

 Linda NguyenLinda Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D.
Hometown: Orange County, Calif.
Undergraduate education: UCLA
Medical school: West Virginia University
Academic interests: Clinical and research neurology
Hobbies: Traveling (always with a DSLR in hand), hiking, cooking

 Marie SweatMarie Sweat, M.D.
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Undergraduate education: University of San Diego
Medical school: St. Louis University School of Medicine
Academic interests: Undecided
Hobbies: Yoga, running