Matthew received his undergraduate degree Summa Cum Laude from UCLA in march 2020. After receiving the highest departmental honor, he remained at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and conducted full-time clinical and basic sciences research into the molecular foundations of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions. Matthew went onto pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Oxford as The Queen's College Herbruck Scholar, awarded to only one American student per year. His graduate thesis focused on the paraneoplastic autoimmune manifestations across neurodegenerative diseases as well as genotypic and phenotypic features of Meningiomas. Matthew is currently pursuing clinical and basic science research opportunities in Neurosurgical oncology domain as a current medical student at Stanford University.

Honors & Awards

  • Highest Departmental Distinction on Hillary term Dissertation Project on Thymic Malignancies, University of Oxford Nuffield Dept of Clinical Neurosciences (2023)
  • Internationally awarded the Hebruck Scholar of the Queen's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (2022)
  • Inductee of the UCLA Honors Collegium for completion of two independent honors contract thesis, University of California, Los Angeles (2020)
  • Recipient of the Robert W. Clement and Joseph L. Klein Jr. Endowed Scholarship, University of California, Los Angeles (2019)
  • Recipient of Roman Colbert Medical Research Scholarship, Undergraduate Research Proposal (2018)
  • American Chemical Society Outstanding Chapter Award, American Chemical Society (2018)

Membership Organizations

  • AMSA: American Medical Student Association
  • The Queen's College, University of Oxford, lifetime member
  • American Chemical Society, Student Member

All Publications

  • Inflammatory Markers of Geriatric Depression Response to Tai Chi or Health Education Adjunct Interventions. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Siddarth, P., Abikenari, M., Grzenda, A., Cappelletti, M., Oughli, H., Liu, C., Millillo, M. M., Lavretsky, H. 2023; 31 (1): 22-32


    Underlying inflammation is associated with an increased risk of depression in older adults. In this study, we examined the role of inflammatory biomarkers in antidepressant response in depressed older adults undergoing adjunct Tai Chi Chih (TCC) or Health education interventions.Older adults aged 60 years and above with a diagnosis of major depression were randomized to 12 weeks of TCC versus Health and Wellness Education (HEW) as an adjunct therapy to their stable antidepressant treatment regimen. A panel of 19 cytokine/chemokines was measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Five factors were derived using factor analysis. General linear models were estimated to examine the change in factor scores and the association of these changes on depression remission rates, controlling for age, sex, and body mass index.Of the 170 randomized participants (TCC: n = 85 and HEW: n = 85), 55 TCC and 58 HEW completed the 3-month assessment. The groups did not differ at baseline in any measure. At follow-up, neither the changes in cytokine/chemokines scores nor the depression remission rate differed significantly between TCC and HEW. However, remitters and non-remitters differed significantly in changes in a factor composed of growth-regulated oncogene protein-alpha (GRO-alpha), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L). GRO-alpha and EGF levels (in both groups) were significantly increased in remitters compared to non-remitters.Changes in certain cytokines/chemokines may accompany improvement in depressive symptoms in older adults. Future studies will need to explore the role of these molecules in remission of late-life depression.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jagp.2022.08.004

    View details for PubMedID 36175271

  • Minimizing the COVID-19 spread in hospitals through optimization of ventilation systems. Physics of fluids (Woodbury, N.Y. : 1994) Arjmandi, H., Amini, R., Kashfi, M., Abikenari, M. A., Davani, A. 2022; 34 (3): 037103


    The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus has overwhelmed hospitals with patients in need of intensive care, which is often limited in capacity and is generally reserved for patients with critical conditions. This has led to higher chances of infection being spread to non-COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers and an overall increased probability of cross contamination. The effects of design parameters on the performance of ventilation systems to control the spread of airborne particles in intensive care units are studied numerically. Four different cases are considered, and the spread of particles is studied. Two new criteria for the ventilation system-viz., dimensionless timescale and extraction timescale-are introduced and their performances are compared. Furthermore, an optimization process is performed to understand the effects of design variables (inlet width, velocity, and temperature) on the thermal comfort conditions (predicted mean vote, percentage of people dissatisfied, and air change effectiveness) according to suggested standard values and the relations for calculating these parameters based on the design variables are proposed. Desirability functions that are comprised of all three thermal condition parameters are used to determine the range of variables that result in thermally comfortable conditions and a maximum desirability of 0.865 is obtained. The results show that a poorly designed ventilation system acts like a perfectly stirred reactor-which enormously increases the possibilities of contamination-and that when air is injected from the ceiling and extracted from behind the patient beds, the infection spread is least probable since the particles exit the room orders of magnitude faster.

    View details for DOI 10.1063/5.0081291

    View details for PubMedID 35342279

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8939549

  • The values work of restorative ventures: The role of founders’ embodied embeddedness with at-risk social groups Journal of Business Venturing Insights Awad, M., Sanchez, M., Abikenari, M. A. 2022; 18 (e00337)