DISCOVeR Lab Alumni


Katie was formerly the lab's Program Manager, overseeing the Social Sciences research and administration. Katie graduated from Kalamazoo College with a dual BA degree in Biology and Spanish, and from University of Southern California with a Master's of Public Health, with a concentration in Global Health. She had started out at Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute with Dr. Palaniappan where she primarily worked as a study coordinator doing phlebotomy and Spanish medical interpretation on a multi-site international clinical trial. Katie is now a Research Manager for the division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Stanford University.

Jiaqi Hu, MPH, Biostatistician

Jiaqi Hu MPH, MBBS, is a biostatistician. She came from China and had a one-year full-time clinical clerkship there. She completed her MPH in University of Southern California in 2015. She likes programming, problem-solving and especially enjoys working in the clinical research setting.

Bethany Fay, BS, GenePool Research Coordinator

My name is Bethany Fay and I am a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  I obtained my B.S. in Human Biology and later plan on attending nursing school.  I hope to one day obtain my Masters degree and become a Nurse Practioner.  I help run both adult and child genetic research trials.  In these studies, we look for potentially hazardous biomarkers that could correlate to a genetic disease.

Khalil Walai, Clinical Research Coordinator

Khalil M. Walai is a Certified Phlebotomist Technician I, certified by the State of California with more than 8 years of experience.  He is an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator working in the DISCOVeR Lab, specifically on the IMPACT and STRONG-D Studies.  As a Diabetes Paraprofessional, Khalil wants to contribute to research that will improve the quality of life of diabetics.  Khalil desires to make a difference in the lives of diabetic patients by incorporating lifestyle changes in their daily routine.

Saniya Bonde, BS, Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

Saniya graduated cum laude from University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology & Neuroscience. Prior to working with the DISCOVeR team, she worked with cardiac imaging studies at Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, La Jolla and completed a pathology internship at VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She has enjoyed working with diverse groups of people such as veterans, Alzheimer’s patients, teens with disabilities, farmworkers and underprivileged children. Having lived in four countries, she has attended twelve different schools so far and hopes to add medical education to that list.


Chrystal is a Phlebotomist and a Medical Assistant, who worked with Dr. Palaniappan and Katie Hastings at Palo Alto Medical Foundation for two years. During her time with the DISCOVeR Lab, she acted as the lead Clinical Research Coordinator for the Strength Training Regimen fOr Normal weiGht Diabetics (STRONG-D) study. In September 2017, she accepted a spot in the Texas nursing program and left to pursue her higher education goals.

Maria Bregendahl, MS, Research Consultant

Maria consults on multiple DISCOVER Lab projects in the areas of Genomics and Diabetes. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sports Science (with honors) at the University of the Philippines and her Masters degree in Exercise Science at Texas Tech University. Her graduate research addressed the needs of older adults with respect to fall prevention. She investigated the effect of manipulated verbal feedback on the functional motor performance of older women. 

Chi Wai Wong, BS, Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Chi Wong received his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and minor in Nutritional Science from UC Berkeley. Prior to working at the DISCOVeR lab, he was involved in research at VA to further examine prognostic markers obtained from Cardio Pulmonary Exercise tests for chronic heart failure. Chi likes to exercise on his free time, and he is enthusiastic to do research on exercise to improve quality of life for diabetic patients.

Carla Coelho, MD/MBA, Clinical Trial Coordinator

Carla N. Coelho earned her medical degree from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil in 1998 and her MBA from IBMEC, Brazil in 2008.

Besides being a physician for many years in Brazil, she has previous experience at Stanford investigating the mechanisms of action of drugs and clinical research with a new medical device. She joined the DISCOVeR Lab in late April 2018, and she is very excited to be a member of the team in her new role as a Clinical Trial Coordinator, helping individuals living with diabetes.  

Saron Araya, BS, Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Saron Araya received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in Biomedical sciences and minor in Public Health from Santa Clara University. During her time at Santa Clara, Saron interned at DuPont Industrial Biosciences as a microbial physiology and biochemistry intern working on analyzing fluorescent proteins expressed in yeast under various conditions. In her free time, Saron enjoys music, singing, baking and exploring all that the Bay Area has to offer. She is excited to to be working in the DISCOVeR Lab as a clinical research coordinator and hoping to make an impact in the lives of those living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).