Meet the Team
James A. Mastrianni M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Mastrianni is an expert in memory disorders and other neurodegenerative conditions. He received his neurological training at the University of Pennsylvania and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at UCSF, where he studied the molecular genetics of prion disease in the laboratory of Stanley Prusiner during the time he won the Nobel Prize for his work on prions. He and his team of neurologists, neuropsychologists, geriatricians, nurses, psychiatrists, and social workers provide comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and long-term management of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, especially atypical dementia and younger-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. He also conducts clinical and basic science research aimed to better understand and treat neurodegenerative diseases. As Director of the Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship program at UChicago, he guides the training of neurologists who will be our future specialists in dementia.
Dr. Mastrianni’s special interests include early onset Alzheimer’s disease and atypical forms of dementia. His research is aimed at understanding neurodegenerative disease, in particular, the prion diseases. These unusual disorders have many similarities with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Another focus of Dr. Mastrianni is the use of specialized brain imaging techniques to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease far in advance of obvious clinical signs.
An accomplished author, Dr. Mastrianni has published more than 60 scientific articles, book chapters, and medical reviews related to dementia. He has served on a Scientific Advisory Panel of the FDA, the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association, the ECRI Institute of the U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and he is a consultant for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and CVS Caremark, among others. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Alzheimer’s Association, in addition to several foundations. He is also the recipient of many awards and honors such as the Frederic A. Gibbs Discovery Award for Scientific Achievement from the Brain Research Foundation.
KAITLIN SEIBERT, M.D.
Kaitlin Seibert is a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. She joined the faculty at the University of Chicago after completing her training as a resident and the inaugural fellow in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Prior to that, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science and Music Performance at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and her Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio. Her research interests include exploring the impact of creative arts therapies such as art and music in neurodegenerative disorders, exploring social cognition deficits across memory disorders and cultures and increasing access to care for patients with memory disorders and their caregivers.
Joseph Fink, Ph.D.
Joseph Fink, Ph.D., ABPP/CN is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who has been on faculty at the University of Chicago in the Adult Neuropsychology Program since 1997. He completed his Masters at Harvard University, his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, and his fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Northwestern University.
Tia Kostas, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Medicine Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Dr. Tia Kostas has an interest in caring for elderly patients with dementia and maximizing their independence and function. She has a special interest in reviewing complex medication lists — looking for drug interactions, side effects, and complexity — in order to keep cognitively-impaired patients on the safest medication regimen possible.
Maureen Lacy, Ph.D.
Neuropsychologist Department of Psychiatry Behavioral Neuroscience and Surgery
Dr. Lacy is interested in the assessment of Memory, Language, Reasoning, Spatial and Attention problems related to medical, neurologic and psychiatric conditions, including but limited to:
- Brian tumors and treatment effects (chemotherapy and radiation)
- Epilepsy (partial complex; pre/post surgical interventions)
- Traumatic head injury and concussion
- Autoimmune conditions (lupus and MS).
- Cardiac disease
- Movement disorders (Parkinson Disease)
Shellie Williams, M.D.
Geriatrician Department of Medicine Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Dr. Shellie Williams interest is in dementia and caregiver education/support, maintaining independent function of cognitively impaired, and palliative care. She has actively engaged in the education of medical students, residents and fellows in care of geriatric patient and palliative care needs of elderly with dementia. She is involved in patient and caregiver advocacy. She was a member of the National Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors.
Tessa Garcia McEwen, AM, LCSW, CDP
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Certified Dementia Practitioner Department of Neurology Quality of Life & Family Support Services
Tessa brings 20 years working with diverse populations in the nonprofit and medical sectors, from youth to older adults, doing her best to listen first before giving care. At UChicago Medicine, she is interested in providing patients, care partners, and families with personalized access to resources and exploring strategies together for increased quality of life. Tessa primarily supports all of those that come through The Memory Center, with Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias (ADRDs).
Executive Director GoldMind Arts & Aging 'Art Is...' Therapeutics Program
Fabiana is the Executive Director of the ‘Art Is…’ therapeutics program, a hands-on art making program for patients of The Memory Center of The University of Chicago Medicine and their caregivers. This innovative and essential program provides those living within the memory loss community countless benefits and has an enormous impaction quality of life. As the population of older adults rapidly increases and research proves the effects of the arts in patient care, this growing field provides a glimpse into the future of arts and healthcare, as well as the dementia community.
Currently, the featured program at The Memory Center is ‘Art Is…In’, an at-home pandemic relief initiative with handmade art kits delievered weekly to each participant’s door. For more information, visit: www.thememorycenter.uchicago.edu/artisin
Christina Podany, AM, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Caregiver Support Group Co-Facilitator University of Chicago Outpatient Senior Health Center at South Shore
Christina, a former clinical intern of the South Shore Senior Center, is a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She moved home to Pittsburgh after graduating, where she worked at The Alzheimer’s Association and in hospice care. Since her return to Chicago, she worked with the geriatric population at Oak Street Health, and is excited to be back ‘home’ at SSSC. Christina is part of the Memory Center team, as co-facilitator for the monthly Caregiver Support Group.
Todd Nader, MA
Neuropsychology Clinic Supervisor
Administrative Assistant Department of Neurology