Lab Members

Philip Starr MD, PhD





Joncarmen Mergenthaler


Sheila Rajagopalan


Philip Starr, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator

Dr. Starr's particular specialty interests lie in the area of movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, tremor, and dystonia. He has fellowship training in microelectrode-guided surgery of movement disorders, which he completed at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Starr's research interests include physiology of the basal ganglia, clinical trials of novel surgical therapeutics in movement disorders, and the use of interventional magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) for functional neurosurgery. His primary focus is on research related to the neurophysiology and therapy of movement disorders.


Coralie de Hemptinne, PhD

Coarlie de Hemptinne is an associate researcher in the Department of Neurological surgery at UCSF. She earned her PhD in neurophysiology from the Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium. The aim of her research is to understand the pathophysiology underlying motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease patients, and use these pathological signals to inform new therapies for the disease. To achieve these goals she uses electrocorticography and the Activa PC+S for chronic, multisite recordings and stimulation in Parkinson’s patients. Together with her colleagues in the Starr lab, she has helped to pioneer the development and implementation of the first closed-loop algorithms to trigger stimulation based on cortical biomarker detection in PD. Her ultimate goal is improve current therapies for Parkinson’s and develop new ones.


Ro’ee Gilron, PhD

Ro’ee Gilron is a postdoc in the Starr Lab at UCSF. He received his B.S degree in Neuroscience from Brandeis University and completed his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from Tel Aviv University (TAU). At TAU he was a member of the Mukamel lab and wrote his thesis on action representation using neuroimaging. He conducted research in the epilepsy monitoring unit with Itzhak Fried where he fell in love with clinical research. He is specifically interested in the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic benefits of deep brain stimulation for movement disorders. He is currently developing adaptive DBS for the control of tremor, studying the factors underlying the variability of chronic long term recordings from DBS and developing software for the next generation of DBS devices coming to the lab.


Witney Chen, BS

Witney received her BS in Neuroscience from Brown University in 2014. She is currently a PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF, and she joined the Starr Lab in 2015. Her research focuses on prefronto-basal ganglia circuits in Parkinson’s disease, and their roles in motor and non-motor symptoms.




Joncarmen Mergenthaler, BS

Joncarmen is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Starr Lab at UCSF. He received his bachelors degree in Neuroscience at UC Santa Cruz where he worked in the lab of Bruce Bridgeman studying human vision and perception. He has since gone on to do research in the Stanford Radiology department and worked as a research analyst at the UCSF Ethics Department. Joncarmen is interested in neurodegenerative disease, bioethics, and geriatric care. He is currently collaborating with the UCSF Decision Lab to investigate how investigators at different institutions are recruitment and consenting patients for invasive electrophysiology studies.


Sheila Rajagopalan, BA

Sheila is a research assistant for the Starr Lab at UCSF. She received her BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley, where she did undergraduate research in the lab of Stephen Palmer studying crossmodal perceptual associations. She joined the Starr lab in May 2017, where she assists researchers on various projects and studies brain circuits in movement disorders patients using scalp EEG.