Stanford Neurosciences Clinical Trials Team

Maria Coburn
Clinical Research Manager

Maria has been in research operations at Stanford since 2006 and manages the Neurology and Neurosurgery Clinical Trials Team consisting of 25 coordinators running over 70 investigational drug, device and biologic clinical trials.  Maria serves as liaison to both internal/external agencies and works closely with senior management in both departments to oversee trial group finance, compliance, and resources.  Maria also works closely with faculty PIs for staffing, study start up and protocol development and with the trials team to facilitate efficient and safe implementation of clinical research projects with the goal of providing our patients with early access to cutting edge therapies.

Sharon Sha, MD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Sharon Sha is the medical director of the Clinical Trials group and Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research for the Neurology Department. She serves as the primary faculty liaison and is available to provide feedback to new investigators about how to approach Industry Sponsored Clinical Trials. Dr. Sha works closely with Maria to develop strategic mission & goals for the trials team as well as oversee administrative operations related to the group including trial feasibility. Dr. Sha has extensive experience as Principal Investigator and is currently spearheading several Alzheimer’s Disorders trials. 

Anthony Bet

Anthony Bet joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurosurgery Research Group in 2015 with a degree in medical biology. He currently coordinates several Neuroendocrine and Neurosurgery clinical trials. He also supports the Neuroscience and Neurosurgery group with IRB/ regulatory submissions and maintaining the laboratory spaces.

Viktoriya Bourakova

Viktoriya Bourakova joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurosurgery Research Group in 2019 with a degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Classical Studies. Prior to joining Stanford, Viktoriya has been involved with neuroimaging research in war veterans exposed to traumatic brain injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as explored the utility of PET imaging as a clinical biomarker in patients with atypical forms of Alzheimer’s Disease and other various neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, she is primarily coordinating for clinical trials in both the Neuroimmunology and Memory Disorders Clinic. She plans to pursue Physician Assistant programs in Neurology or Neurosurgery.

Santi Decunto

Originally from Cordoba, Argentina, Santi lived in Los Angeles for 14 years before moving to the Bay Area. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a BA in Psychology in 2016, where he focused his independent studies on behavioral neuropsychopharmacology as a research assistant working with animal models. After graduating, Santi began his clinical research journey in the Multiple Sclerosis field at Keck Medicine of USC, working as a CRC directly with the research chair and MS division chief. After 4 years at Keck, he's now working with the Alzheimer’s Disease team as a senior CRC at Stanford’s Neuroscience Clinical Research Group. In parallel, he's also an aspiring musician –and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in the years to come and he intends on performing professionally in the future.

Yamuna Joseph

Yamuna Joseph joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurosurgery Research Group in 2016 as a clinical research coordinator.  She holds an MD degree in General Medicine from Vinnitsa National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Ukraine.  Currently, she is the Senior CRC and the Supervisor for the Neuroimmunology clinical trials team and managing several ongoing Multiple Sclerosis clinical trials. She has previously worked on clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, migraine and cluster headache.

Kathy McDonald

Kathy returned to the Neurology/Neurosurgery Clinical Research Department in 2021 where she worked as CRC in 2016-2018 managing Dr. Gary Steinberg’s SanBio Phase 2b Stem Cell Study as well as A Study to Evaluate the Effectiveness and Safety of ExAblate Transcranial MRgFUS Thalamotomy Trial for Essential Tremors with Dr. Casey Halpern.  In 2014-2016 she worked for Dr. Ronald Levy’s Lymphoma team implementing and managing Immunotherapy Clinical trials, including support and inclusion on two ASCO abstracts. Kathy came to Stanford from NYC in 2014S. She previously worked at ICAHN School of Medicine in Cardiology as Clinical Trial Manager (2012-2014),  NY Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical (2004-2012) in the Cardiac Cath Lab & Cardiothoracic Surgery. Kathy holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Stony Brook University, Early Music Performance at Mannes College of Music and has taken pre-med courses at CUNY Hunter College.  She splits her time between Clinical Research Coordinator and performing on baroque and modern flute, her other passion.

Guiping Qin

Guiping Qin joined the Stanford Neurosurgery Research Group as clinical research coordinator in 2017. She is responsible for three neurosurgery projects.

Bharati Sanjanwala

Bharati Sanjanwala is a Clinical Research Coordinator, coordinating clinical trials for Neurology and Neurosurgery protocols. She is an SOCRA certified clinical research coordinator. She has been doing research work at Stanford since 2003.  She has a M.Sc. in Immunology. Prior to Clinical Research, she worked as a scientist doing basic research in immunology.

Jordan Seliger

Jordan Seliger is a clinical research coordinator in the Neurology Department working with Dr. Kimford Meador, conducting epilepsy studies. Before joining the Neurology Department in 2017, Jordan received his BA and MA in psychology at San Francisco State University, focusing on cognitive neuroscience.

Ruba Shaik

Ruba Shaik joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurosurgery research group in 2019 as a clinical research coordinator. She received a B.A in Cognitive Science with a focus in neuroscience and computer science from U.C Berkeley. She primarily works in data analytics with Dr. Safwan Jaradeh and also helps coordinate epilepsy and autonomic studies. She eventually plans to pursue graduate studies. She has a passion for thrifting, live music and free food.

Gavriella Silverman

Gavriella joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurosurgery Research Group in 2022 with a B.A. degree in Neuroscience and Psychology from Scripps College. While at Scripps College, she created and performed experiments to test early life stress on the development of African Cichlid fish using hormone extraction from waterborne samples. Currently, she is coordinating Stanford’s Brain Bank study, collecting samples from patients with various neurovascular conditions to be used in research. Her future plans include pursing a PhD in Clinical Psychology & applying her neuropathology research background to improve psychological care of patients.

Julia Sumera

Julia Sumera joined the Stanford Neuroscience Clinical Research Group as a clinical research coordinator in 2020. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2020, receiving a B.A. in Public Health. Prior to joining Stanford, Julia has been involved with clinical research in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at UCSF. Currently, she is primarily coordinating for Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Trials in the Neuroimmunology Clinic. She plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on epidemiology in the future.

Anna Tomczak

Anna Tomczak obtained her Master of Science in Health: Science, Technology and Policy at Carleton University before joining Stanford in March 2017. Throughout her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton, performing research on various health related issues, including aging, and air pollution. She is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Stanford Neurology Department working on several studies on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD).

Stephanie Tran

Stephanie Tran joined the Stanford Neuroscience and Neurology Research Group as a clinical research coordinator in 2019. She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in human biology in 2018. She conducted research throughout her undergraduate career in the department of dermatology in the Khavari Lab, and shortly after graduation, she joined the Andreasson Lab in the department of neurology. There she conducted wet lab experiments to understand the relationship between cell metabolism and its role in producing Alzheimer Disease. Currently, she is involved in clinical trials at the Stanford Headache Clinic overseeing cluster headache and migraine studies as well as conducting clinical research in the fields of Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis. Stephanie plans to eventually pursue a career in medicine.

Jessica Yankulova, MA

Jessica obtained her Bachelors and Masters in Psychology from San Francisco State University where she specialized in understanding action selection and decision making on a mechanistic level.  Jessica is currently a clinical research coordinator associate working on non-invasive neuromodulation and neurofeedback for patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Jessica hopes to further her studies and one day pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience.