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Rady Children's Specialists

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

Shifteh Sattar, M.D., Clinical Director; Medical Director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center; Medical Director, EEG Laboratory; 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

Aliya Frederick, M.D.,Ph.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, 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., Associate 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

Andrew Hannawi, M.D., Assistant Clinical 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

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

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

Ching Wang, M.D., Clinical Professor, Neurosciences and Pediatrics

Sarah Wiegand, D.O., Assistant Clinical Professor, Neurosciences, UC San Diego

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


Nurse Practitioners

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.”

 

Jira Aguilar, MSN, FNP- BC
Jira earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing from California State University San Marcos. She is nationally certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Jira’s nursing career began on the Medical Unit at Rady Children’s Hospital, where her interest in epilepsy peaked as she consistently cared for patients in the epilepsy monitoring unit. As a nurse practitioner, her focus is now at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), caring for infants in the inpatient and outpatient setting. Her goal is to help families better understand their child’s diagnoses and be able to support the patient and family moving forward.

Michelle Huang, FNP- BC
Michelle Huang is a nationally certified nurse practitioner through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Stony Brook University and her Master of Science in Nursing from Pace University. She started her career in 2015 as a registered nurse on the pediatric floor which included an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at NYU Langone Health. There she cared for many pediatric epilepsy patients which prompted her interest and transition into the role of a neurology nurse practitioner at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. She joined the Rady Children’s Neurology team in 2022 and her focus will be primarily caring for children with epilepsy and headaches.

Nurses

Allison Folker, R.N.

Marsha Harp, R.N.

Sherry Thompson, , R.N.

Fellows

Brittany Sprigg, M.D.
Fellow: Epilepsy
Hometown: San Diego
Undergraduate education: UC Los Angeles
Medical school: UC San Francisco
Residency: Pediatric Neurology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington
Academic interests: ICU and NICU EEG, quality improvement
Hobbies: Reading fantasy novels, caring for plants, crafting, hiking and backpacking, camping, running, paddleboarding and floating down rivers

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

Jennfer Yang, M.D.
Fellow, Neuroimmunology and Neurometabolics
Hometown: San Diego
Undergraduate education: UC Berkeley
Medical school: University of Alabama, Birmingham
Residency: Child Neurology at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego
Academic interests: Pediatric neuroinflammatory diseases including autoimmune encephalitis; multiple sclerosis; ADEM, among others; metabolic white matter diseases including mitochondrial conditions; clinical research and trials
Hobbies: Going to concerts, mixing music, yoga, running, attempting various water sports, cooking and exploring all the best eats in San Diego

Residents

Michaela Castello, M.D., Ph.D.
Hometown: Balitmore, 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!

Austin Layton, D.O., M.Sc.
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Undergraduate education: Azusa Pacific University
Medical school: Western University of Health Sciences
Academic interests: Clinical informatics, communication in the medical setting, education
Hobbies: Sports, board games, all things food

Hannah Oppenheim, M.D.
Hometown: St. Louis
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley
Medical school: UC San Diego
Academic interests: Neurodevelopment, neuropsychiatry, informatics
Hobbies: Rock climbing, kayaking, yoga, camping, hiking, learning to surf and movies

Aditi Trivedi, M.D.
Hometown: San Diego
Undergraduate education: UC Santa Barbara
Medical school: UC Davis School of Medicine
Academic interests: Neonatal neurology, infantile spasms, medical education
Hobbies: Beach walks/runs, music, yoga, playing with dogs

Maayan Yakir, M.D.
Hometown: Cupertino, Calif.
Undergraduate education: UC San Diego
Medical school: Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Academic interests: Neuroimmunology, clinical research, public health, medical education
Hobbies: Running, hiking, trying new recipes, plants, traveling, exploring San Diego with family and friends!