Our research team is part of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Medical Center. The center focuses on research on diseases of the brain and nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. GH Sergievsky Center is home to over thirty world-class researchers and physicians in the fields of epidemiology, genetics, and neurology.
Ruth Ottman, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology (in Neurology and the Sergievsky Center); Deputy Director for Research, Sergievsky Center, Columbia University; Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute
She received an AB in zoology in 1975 and a PhD in genetics in 1980 at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a post-doc in cancer epidemiology at the same institution in 1981. She joined the faculty in epidemiology at Columbia University in 1981.
Dr. Ottman's primary area of expertise is genetic epidemiology. Her research addresses the role of inherited factors in susceptibility to neurologic disorders, primarily focusing on seizure disorders. She is also interested in methodologic issues in genetic epidemiology, including research designs for testing gene-environment interaction, methods for collection of valid family history data, and approaches to assessing familial aggregation.
John Wetmore, MPH
John Wetmore is a Project Coordinator at the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He earned a master’s of public health in epidemiology & biostatistics from the CUNY School of Public Health as well as a bachelor of art’s degree in psychology and classical studies from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. John’s research interests include the psychosocial impacts of disease, genetic and behavioral interventions, and health disparities. John also works as a Teaching Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College, where he teaches classes related to methodology and statistics for research in psychology. He plans on earning a doctoral degree in public health.
Sophia Rodriguez, MS, CGC
Sophia completed her genetic counseling graduate education at Sarah Lawrence College. She is an ABGC board-certified genetic counselor for the Información de la Enfermedad de Alzheimer de Latinos (IDEAL) study, investigating the impact of APOE genetic testing in Latinx communities of Northern Manhattan. Sophia has a passion for healthcare advocacy and volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association to support policy changes that help individuals with dementia and their caregivers. She is proficient in Spanish.
Itzel Camarillo, BA
Itzel A. Camarillo is a Research Assistant at the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Medical Center. She graduated in 2019 with B.A in psychology and linguistics from Barnard College of Columbia University. A first-generation Mexican immigrant, Itzel is particularly interested in researching intergenerational trauma that stems from migration to the United States. She plans to earn a masters degree in counseling.
Jonathan Godinez, MA, EdM
Jonathan Godinez recently graduated in 2021 from Columbia University with a dual Master’s in Psychological Counseling and Bilingual Latinx Mental Health. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jonathan has been involved in psychological research since 2016 in a variety of fields, including group processes, international mental health perspectives in Latin America, intergroup relations, social and career cognition, and character and virtue development. He is interested in research topics related to areas of philosophy, culture, morality, and the psychosocial experiences of Latinx and immigrant populations in the United States and globally. He plans to attain his PhD in social psychology and continue to advocate for Latinos and marginalized populations.
Sylwia Misiwicz, MA, EdM
Project Coordinator; Mental Health Counselor
Sylwia is a research project coordinator and a mental health counselor. Sylwia received a B.A. in Psychology from Baruch College, City University of New York in 2001, M.A. in Psychology from City College, City University of New York in 2004, and Ed. M. in Mental Health Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2008. Her interests include psychological and social factors in health, stress, aging and genetics.
Daniela Diaz Caro, BS
Daniela Diaz Caro is a research assistant with the Información de la Enfermedad de Alzheimer para Latinos (IDEAL) study which is focused on investigating the psychosocial impact of APOE genetic testing in Latinx community of Northern Manhattan. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and is currently a graduate student in Genetic Counseling at Stanford University. Daniela’s research interests include the impact of genomics for neurodegenerative disease, translational research, and community engagement in Latinx communities. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.