About Us

Thomas Montine | Principal Investigator  

Stanford Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
Stanford Udall Center • Stanford Profile

Board Certifications, Neuropathology, American Board of Pathology (1997)
and Anatomic Pathology, American Board of Pathology (1997)
Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (1996), TN
Residency, Duke University Hospital (1994, 1995), NC
Internship, Duke University Medical Center (1992), NC
Medical Education, McGill University Faculty of Medicine (1991), Canada

Dr. Montine received his education at Columbia University (BA in Chemistry), the University of Rochester (PhD in Pharmacology), and McGill University (MD and CM). His postgraduate medical training was at Duke University, and he was junior faculty at Vanderbilt University where he was awarded the Thorne Professorship in Pathology. In 2002, Dr. Montine was appointed as the Alvord Endowed Professor in Neuropathology and Director of the Division of Neuropathology at the University of Washington. 

He was Director of the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, one of the original 10 Centers in the US, and passed that responsibility to able colleagues. In 2010, Dr. Montine was appointed Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington.

In 2016, Dr. Montine was appointed Chair of the Department of Pathology at Stanford University where he is the Stanford Medicine Endowed Professor in Pathology. Dr. Montine also serves as the Neuropathology and Biospecimens Core leader of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

Dr. Montine is the founding Director of the Pacific Udall Center, one of 9 NINDS-funded Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Our center performs basic, translational, and clinical research focused on cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. The Pacific Udall Center emphasizes a vision for precision health that comprises functional genomics, development of surveillance tools for pre-clinical detection, and discovery of molecularly tailored therapies.

Dr. Montine is among the top recipients of NIH funding for all Department of Pathology faculty in the United States. He was the 2015 President of the American Association of Neuropathologists, and led or co-led recent NIH initiatives to revise diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease (NIA), develop research priorities for the National Alzheimer’s Plan (NINDS and NIA), and develop research priorities for Parkinson’s Disease (NINDS).

Eloise Berson | Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD in Computer Animation from CentraleSupelec, Université Paris-Saclay
MSc in Computer Vision from Université Paris-Saclay
BSc in Applied Mathematics from Institut d’Optique Graduate School, Université Paris-Saclay

Eloise completed her PhD in Computer Graphics in both an industrial and academic context from the University of Paris-Saclay. Her doctoral research focused on leveraging deep learning algorithms to improve 3D facial animation editing.

Currently, she is a joint-appointed postdoctoral fellow, working with Dr. Montine and Dr. Nima Aghaeepour on developing a deep learning method to identify epigenetic, morphological and imaging alzheimer’s disease–resilient signatures. Her research also includes exploring new computational approaches to analyze high dimensional multi-omic and imaging data to understand mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases.

Syed Bukhari | Stanford Research Brain Autopsy Program Coordinator  

MS in Biology (concentration in Neuroscience) from Harvard University
BS in Molecular Cell Biology from University of California Berkeley

Syed’s background is in functional neuroanatomy and neuroscience. He received his training in brain dissection and neuroanatomy from Harvard Medical School, where he acted as Senior Human Brain Dissectionist at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center.

Currently, he is the primary brain dissectionist and coordinator for all research brains that arrive at Stanford School of Medicine. He is responsible for working with the neuropathologist in completing, analyzing, and presenting the data obtained from rapid brain autopsies. Syed is involved in several research projects, including the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) and The 90+ Study.

Alex Edwin | Life Science Research Professional

BA in neuroscience from Santa Clara University

Alex received his bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Santa Clara University. He also minored in Spanish and Biology. During his time there, he studied fMRI data to identify patterns of resting-state functional brain connectivity in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Currently, he utilizes hippocampal slice cultures, cell cultures, and biochemical assays to screen small molecule drug compounds. His research is conducted with hopes to identify novel therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and X-linked creatine deficiency.

Albert Garofalo | Senior Research Scientist

PhD in Chemistry from University of Virginia
BS in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University

Al is a medicinal chemist with over 25 years of experience. His research experience has spanned multiple therapeutic areas including diabetes, cancer, neuropathic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. He identified and developed the first series of highly G2019S-LRRK2 selective inhibitors as a precision medicine approach for the treatment of G2019S-LRRK2 PD.

Currently, he is working to develop next-generation therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. His areas of investigation include multiple, small molecule therapeutic approaches for the treatment of idiopathic and G2019S Parkinson’s disease and X-linked creatine deficiency.

Zhi Huang | Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University
BS in Automation from Xi'An Jiaotong University

With a background in computer science and electrical engineering, Zhi is enthusiastic about developing and applying cutting-edge machine learning algorithms to solve real-world problems, including high-dimensional multi-omic biomedical data analysis and applying computational pathology to gigasized microscopic images,

Currently, he is a joint-appointed postdoctoral fellow, working with Dr. Montine and Dr. James Zou on analyzing and interpreting multi-regional proteomics data of resilience to Alzheimer’s disease and on creating digital pathology software (nuclei.io) that allows pathologists to interact with heterogeneous images in order to improve and accelerate the diagnosis of a variety of cancers. Using digital pathology, he is also working on large Vision-Language foundation AI for pathology.

Amalia Perna | Postdoctoral Fellow   

PhD in Medical Sciences from University of Fribourg, Switzerland
MSc in Functional Genomics from University of Trieste, Italy
BSc in Biological Science from University of Urbino, Italy

Amalia obtained her PhD in Neuroscience/Medical Sciences in 2021 from the University of Fribourg in collaboration with the Swiss Integrative Center for Human Health (SICHH). She received a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Mobility fellowship in 2019, which allowed her to join the Montine Lab and extend her doctoral research work to single-cell technologies. She rejoined the lab in 2021 to complete her doctoral thesis work under Dr. Montine’s supervision, and in February 2022 she was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow.

Currently, she is leveraging single nuclei RNA sequencing (snRNA-Seq) in mouse models of neurodegeneration to elucidate modulation of signaling pathways in different cell types of brain after perturbation of its homeostasis. She also focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal regeneration/recovery after damage.

Matteo Santoro | Postdoctoral Fellow

Pharm. D. from University of Calabria, Italy
PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Matteo received his 5-year Pharmacy degree in Italy and his 4-year PhD in neuroscience in Scotland. Matteo’s area of expertise focuses on Parkinson’s disease, neuronal vulnerability, neuroinflammation, and animal models of Parkinson’s disease in relation to in-vivo drug screening. Previously, he held a postdoctoral position at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and at Stanford, where he characterized two neurotoxin-based mouse models of Parkinson’s disease.

Currently, he is working on the LRRK2 mouse model of PD and is in charge of screening next-generation LRRK2 selective inhibitors for the treatment of LRRK2 familial PD cases and sporadic PD.

Marcus Schonemann | Research Scientist  

PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University of California San Diego
BSc in Pharmacology from University of California Santa Barbara

Marcus completed his PhD in Biomedical Science at UCSD under HHMI Investigator Michael G Rosenfeld, where he identified the role of the POU domain transcription factor Brn2 in developing endocrine hypothalamus. As a postdoctoral fellow, he studied neurosteroidogenesis in Synthia Mellon’s lab at UCSF. He later worked in Dr. Robert J. Nichols’ LRRK2 Signal Transduction program at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center and subsequently moved to Stanford with Dr. Nichols and joined Dr. Montine’s lab.

Currently, he continues to focus on LRRK drug discovery with an emphasis on finding selective inhibitors for LRRK2 kinase to slow disease progression in Parkinson’s disease.

Sophie Siemsgluess | Life Science Research Professional  

BA in Neuroscience, Minor in Chemistry from University of Pennsylvania

Sophie's undergraduate research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia investigated neurodevelopmental dysregulation in an inborn error of metabolism. Post graduation, she worked at an oncology startup and designed cellular assays to assess therapeutics' effects on oncogenic signaling. At the Montine Lab, she is applying her experience in immunofluorescent imaging to study cell populations in the mouse brain. She is excited to fuse molecular assays with multi-omics techniques to characterize mechanisms of aging and neurodegeneration. 

Jing Zhao | Research Scientist

PhD in Biochemistry from Kent State University,
Bachelor of Clinical Medicine from Peking University Health Science Center

Jing obtained her PhD in the Chemistry Department at Kent State, focusing on protein interactome changes of the nuclear receptor NR5A2 (hLRH-1) by post-translational modification. She was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Robert J. Nichols’ LRRK2 Signal Transduction program at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. Her work there revealed relationships among LRRK2 post-translational modifications, identified new LRRK2 interactomes, and possible mechanisms of on-target pathology for LRRK2 PD treatments. She subsequently moved to Stanford with Dr. Nichols and joined Dr. Montine’s lab.

Currently, she is working on deciphering biochemical processes of neurodegenerative diseases, and testing preventions or cures of human diseases. Her work focuses on imbalances of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, energy homeostasis of neurons, and LRRK2 kinase biochemistry.