Marlene Tataro

Columbia University

Marlene is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Biology. After getting recruited to golf for the Columbia Women’s Golf team, she jumped right into premedical studies and participated in two neuro-based research labs. She has been personally affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, and knows its effects outside of a solely clinical setting. With her interests specifically in neurobiology, Marlene found that working with Alzheimers patients was the perfect way to give back to the community and satisfy her passion for neuroscience. As Columbia’s Chapter President, she hopes to integrate her experience with her science background to make a difference in the quality of life of those affected by Alzheimer’s.

Hector Saul Medrano

New York University

Hector is a third-year undergraduate student at New York University in pursuit of a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies, while on the pre-health track. Hector hopes to attend medical school post-graduation, with the goal of pursuing a career as a Pediatric Neurosurgeon. Outside of the classroom, Hector works as a research assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center investigating Sonic Hedgehog Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Hector is incredibly passionate about tackling healthcare inequities in his community, and hopes to take the first steps toward doing so with the establishment of a BEI Chapter at NYU.

Brandon Axelrod 

Cornell University

Brandon is a third year undergraduate at Cornell University studying Biology and Society, with minors in Nutritional Sciences and Business. Brandon hopes to attend dental school following his senior year, and much of his involvement outside the classroom has prepared him for such an undertaking. Researching taste bud physiology and shadowing various specialties within dentistry has exposed him to dental medicine, while the operation of his own performance company for nine years has given him formal business exposure. Brandon is passionate about understanding the urgent needs of people seeking help and healthcare deliverance, and BEI has given him a chance to work with the local community in mutually beneficial way.

Anthony Thibeault

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS)

Anthony is a second year pre-medical and health sciences major at MCPHS. After serving in the U.S. Army he found his passion for medicine and aims to be a primary care physician. Working with people that have been diagnosed with PTSD and other mental health issues has been something that has interested him after seeing how much they can affect the person and family. 

Dina Youssef

Hunter College in New York City

Dina is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Hunter College, double majoring in Biochemistry and Human Biology. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in geriatric medicine. While
Dina understands from personal experience that Alzheimer’s is a complex disease, through the Brain Exercise Initiative, she intends to partner the Hunter College student body with the
available nursing homes in NYC to provide comfort, care and memory exercises to the city’s community!


Sami Johnson

Carnegie Mellon University

Sami Johnson is a sophomore undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying Computational Neuroscience with a minor in Computational Biology. Sami’s passion for Alzheimer’s research and prevention began her junior year of high school, where she conducted a year-long, award-winning research project focusing on the pathology of the tau protein, which is directly involved in the development of the disease; the research report was published in the American Journal of International Biology.  She currently holds a research position in a Biochemistry lab at Carnegie Mellon, using kinetics to determine the importance of protein structure in specific regions of the thymidylate kinase in Candida albicans. 

Christopher Cho

Vassar College

Christopher is a junior at Vassar College studying Neuroscience and Behavior. He is a member of the varsity men’s soccer team and conducts research at Vassar’s memory neuroscience lab on the topics of alcohol and aversive learning. He also serves as the senior scientific editor of Grey Matters Journal Vassar College, an undergraduate brain sciences publication. Christopher’s experience with his Grandfather’s dementia instilled in him a deep desire to improve the lives of all those in his community affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. He hopes that his work with the BEI will allow him to inform others about Alzheimer’s disease and create a system where no person suffers from it alone. 

Kayla Keane

Bethesda, Maryland

Kayla Keane is a postbaccalaureate research trainee in a lab at the National Institutes of Health that studies fatigue symptomology. Having moved to Bethesda at the onset of COVID-19, she sought an experience to get involved with her new community in a meaningful way. Since starting Bethesda’s BEI, she has formed meaningful relationships with volunteers and seniors and the impact of the volunteer sessions on the residents' happiness has been noticeable.

Amane Matsuoka

Tufts University


Amane Matsuoka is currently a rising sophomore at Tufts University. His major is undeclared but he is thinking about pursuing a biochemistry major. He is currently on the pre-health track and plans to go to medical school in hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He has been personally affected by Alzheimer's as his grandmother had it. Amane joined BEI to try and help out those suffering from the disease, and ensure that their family gets the full support that they need! 

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Yashas Basavarajappa

Tufts University

Yashas Basavarajappa is currently a rising sophomore at Tufts University majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He sought to help his new community in a meaningful way and co-founding the BEI chapter at Tufts has helped to form lasting relationships with residents. Yashas hopes to improve the livelihoods of residents in the Tufts area as well as bring awareness to Alzheimer's.


Shriya Singh

University of Maryland

Shriya Singh is a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park double-majoring in Psychology and Biology, with an emphasis in Neurobiology and Physiology. Shriya has explored her interest in this field through three years of research experience at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville and the Georgetown School of Medicine. She also enjoys helping her community by volunteering at the Pregnancy Aid Center near campus. 


Jonathan Gagnon

Washington and Lee University

Jonathan is a junior undergraduate at Washington and Lee University majoring in Biochemistry. At W&L, Jonathan plays defensive end on the football team. On his breaks from school, Jonathan volunteers with the American Red Cross as a Blood Donor Ambassador. This summer, Jonathan will be studying the effects of proton radiation therapy using atomic force microscopy at Georgetown University Hospital. As a student on the pre-med track, Jonathan is very excited to help his community with the establishment of a BEI chapter.

Kate Jensen

University of Virginia     

Kate Jensen is a rising fourth year from Phoenix, Arizona studying neuroscience at the University of Virginia. She wanted to be a part of the Brain Exercise Initiative to make a larger impact on her community in an area in which she is very passionate about. At school, Kate holds a research position studying the effect of microDNA on the onset of Alzheimer’s and the role of long noncoding RNA in skeletal muscle development.