Dr. Ranmal Samarasinghe received his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. He completed his residency in adult neurology at UCLA in 2017 and then completed an NIH funded post-doctoral research and clinical fellowship at UCLA from 2017-2020. During this period, Dr. Samarasinghe obtained clinical training in epilepsy and neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring. He also performed research developing stem cell-based models of epilepsy and autism, which is the foundation of his own laboratory.
Dr. Samarasinghe’s laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms of neural network formation and dysfunction in epilepsy and autism. His efforts are focused on 3D brain-like structures called human brain organoids that are grown in a laboratory dish and that are derived from stem cells. Brain organoids can be generated from the stem cells of individual patients and may provide unique insights into the causes of human neurological diseases such as epilepsy and autism. His laboratory is developing and utilizing multiple methodologies including whole-organoid multiphoton based calcium indicator imaging, voltage sensors, traditional extracellular recordings, high throughput genomic screens, and super-resolution synaptic imaging to interrogate the developmental trajectory of nascent neural networks in organoid models. Dr. Samarasinghe will also continue to manage patients with epilepsy and autism in his clinic and perform neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring for surgical cases performed at UCLA and affiliated hospitals.
Professor and Interim Chair, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Interim Director, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Interim Physician-in-Chief, Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital
760 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Dr. Alexander S. Young is a psychiatrist and health services researcher. He is Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Interim Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is Interim Physician-in-Chief of the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital. He is Associate Director of the Veterans Desert Pacific MIRECC Health Services Unit at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Healthcare System. He is board certified in Psychiatry and Clinical Informatics. Dr. Young focuses on community psychiatry, serious mental illness, studying and improving the quality and value of healthcare, implementation science, patient-reported outcomes, and health informatics. He has led research grants studying implementation of effective practices, informatics systems to support improved care, and implementation of interventions to improve care. Recent grants from VA, NIMH and other funders include studying an internet-based, peer-supported system that provides tailored education regarding diet and exercise to people with mental illness; studying computerized elicitation of preferences of mental health patients; and evaluating a housing first program. He is currently studying the implementation and effectiveness of a Patient-Centered Medical Home model with integrated mental health care to improve the primary care of people with serious mental illness; and use of smart phone data to predict behaviors and symptoms in patients with mental illness.
A selected list of publications:
Dr. Peng received her PhD in neurobiology from the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China in 2011. Her doctoral research examined the role of functional interactions between inhibitory and excitatory synapses that maintain the stability of neural networks. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. Joshua Sanes at Harvard University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow until 2019. In her postdoctoral work, she leveraged high throughput single-cell transcriptomic methods to uncover key transcriptional factors that control the specification of retinal cell types.
At the Stein Eye Institute she will continue to develop state-of-the-art transcriptomic and genomic tools to uncover the molecular underpinnings of the formation of retinal circuits and the pathogenesis of retinal diseases.