School of Medicine


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  • Mirko Uljarevic

    Mirko Uljarevic

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    BioI am a medically trained researcher focused academic with a background in developmental psychopathology, psychometrics and big data science. My research takes a life-span perspective and is driven by the urgent need to improve outcomes for people with autism and other neuropsychiatric (NPD) disorders and neurodevelopmental conditions (NDD). My primary research interest has focused on combining cutting-edge psychometric procedures and a big data approach to better understand structure of clinical phenotypes across autism and other NPD and NDD and on using this knowledge to improve existing and develop new clinical assessments that are more effective for screening and diagnosis, tracking the natural and treatment-related symptom progression and for use in genetic and neurobiological studies. In addition to my focus on the development of outcome measures, I have collaborated with leading psychopathology researchers and groups in the United States, Europe and Australia on numerous projects spanning a range of topics including genetics, treatment and employment, with a particular focus on understanding risk and resilience factors underpinning poor mental health outcomes in adolescents and adults. Most recently, through several competitively funded projects, I have led the statistical analyses to uncover the latent structure of social and communication and restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRB) clinical phenotypes across NPD and NDD. These findings have enabled us to (i) start capturing and characterizing a highly variable social functioning phenotype across a range of disorders and understanding mechanisms underpinning this variability, (ii) combine phenotypic and genetic units of analyses to advance our understanding of the genetic architecture of RRB, and (iii) focus on identification and characterization of subgroups of individuals that share distinct symptom profiles and demonstrate clinical utility and neurobiological validity. Importantly, this work has provided key information for developing a programmatic line of research aimed at developing novel, comprehensive assessment protocols that combine parent and clinician reports, objective functioning indicators and incorporate state-of-the-art psychometric, mobile and connected technologies and procedures.

  • Maxine Umeh Garcia

    Maxine Umeh Garcia

    Instructor, Neurosurgery

    BioMaxine was born and raised in Sacramento, CA and transferred to UC Merced in 2007 after attending a community college for 2 years. She received her B.S. in Developmental Biology with a minor in Psychology in 2010. During the last year of her undergrad, Maxine was invited to do research in the lab of Dr. Michael Cleary, studying nervous system development. Because of this research experience, Maxine decided to stay at UC Merced to pursue her Master’s in Quantitative and Systems Biology, graduating in 2013. Immediately after graduating, she started her Ph.D. at UC Davis, where her research centered on triple negative breast cancer – a type of breast cancer that has a high incidence in Black and African women.

    After completing her PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with an emphasis in Translational Research in 2019, Maxine became a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in the department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Umeh Garcia’s research focuses on breast cancers that metastasize (or travel) to the brain. Maxine was recently promoted to an instructor position in her department after receiving a major career development award from the National Cancer Institute (K99/R00), which will fund the remainder of her postdoctoral research and provide 3 years of funding for Maxine to establish her own independent research lab. Using her background in bench research, informatics, and translational research, Dr. Umeh Garcia hopes to bring together biologists, data scientists, and clinicians to make important advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, as a women and underrepresented minority, Dr. Umeh Garcia is keenly interested in mentoring women and underrepresented students, and in developing novel strategic approaches to increasing diversity in biomedical sciences and academic research.

  • Alexander Eckehart Urban

    Alexander Eckehart Urban

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator) and of Genetics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsComplex behavioral and neuropsychiatric phenotypes often have a strong genetic component. This genetic component is often extremely complex and difficult to dissect. The current revolution in genome technology means that we can avail ourselves to tools that make it possible for the first time to begin understanding the complex genetic and epigenetic interactions at the basis of the human mind.