Postdoc, Academic and Staff Spotlights


Tom Dunn
Tom Dunn

Hometown: Born and raised in San Jose, CA, but have lived in San Francisco for the last 17 years.
Years at UCSF: 3.75
Years in Cardiology Division: 3.75
Role: Research Finance Analyst; basically, I manage the post award budgets for all Cardiology awards.

What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?: Knowing that in some small way, I am helping the research being done in Cardiology. And although I do miss going to the office and actually seeing people, it is nice to have a role that is well suited for Work From Home.

What’s one ‘fun fact’ about you that not many people know?: Just adopted a rescue puppy. We named him Remy.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?: Exploring all aspects and areas of the City. Checking out all the restaurants, bars, parklets, parks, and beaches. Giants baseball. Traveling whenever possible. Not working.

If you could learn anything, what would that be?: Guitar… I have tried a couple of times, but I seem to be someone better at appreciating music than playing/making it.


Ashley Cristal
Ashley Cristal, MD

As a college student at New York University, Ashley Cristal, MD, volunteered to organize art projects and parties for hospitalized children. “That cemented my decision to go to med school, and I wanted to become a pediatrician,” he said.

As a medical student at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, Dr. Cristal found himself drawn to many different areas of medicine, including internal medicine, radiology, ophthalmology, and in particular, neurology. “I think for most medical students, there is a process of discovering what one is interested in and enjoys doing, as well as the realities of each specialty,” he said. In his case, he found that in addition to caring for patients, he was drawn to the rigor of academic medicine as well as teaching patients and helping them become more engaged in their health care.

READ FULL spotlight HERE


Helena Eitel
Helena Eitel

Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Years at UCSF: 4
Years in Cardiology Division: 4
Role: User Experience Designer at Eureka

What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?: I love working towards our mission of accelerating medical research.

What’s one ‘fun fact’ about you that not many people know?: I've loved to scuba dive since I was 11 years old!

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?: I like to explore new coffee shops, paint, and hike in the mountains.

If you could learn anything, what would that be?: I would love to learn to speak Spanish.


Elisa Fannuchi
Elisa Fanucchi, RN

Elisa Fanucchi is a Registered Nurse in the UCSF Interventional Cardiology clinic. She is a Bay Area native and has lived here for most of her life. Elisa has worked at UCSF since 2019, where she started as an RN on 10 CVT and transitioned into her current role in the Cardiology clinic in early 2022.

READ FULL spotlight HERE


Natasha Goyal
Natasha Goyal, MBBS

As a child, Natasha Goyal, MBBS, loved science and always knew she wanted to become a doctor. After earning her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health sciences at York University in her hometown of Toronto, she moved to northern India and earned her medical degree from the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh.

Dr. Goyal then returned to Toronto and spent several years working as a clinical assistant in a busy family medicine practice. She also studied for her medical licensing exams in preparation for eventually applying to emergency medicine residency programs in the U.S. “I didn’t have any prior research experience and wanted to see what it was all about, so I applied for various research positions,” she said.

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Ruth imru
Ruth Imru, NP

Ruth Imru is a Nurse Practitioner in the UCSF Electrophysiology clinic. She grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and came to the Bay Area for college, making it her home since then. Eleven years ago, Ruth started her career at UCSF Medical Center as an inpatient nurse on the kidney/liver/pancreas unit.  She is an alumnus of the UCSF School of Nursing, where she obtained her master’s degree and Nurse Practitioner training.

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Heather Miyashiro, NP

Heather Miyashiro is a Nurse Practitioner in the UCSF Cardiology clinic at Daniel Burnham Court. She grew up in Yuba City, California. Prior to joining the UCSF cardiology team in 2016, Heather worked in a private cardiology practice.

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Mina Navabzadeh
Mina Navabzadeh, PharmD

“It can be really scary, but it’s never too late to start learning something new,” said Mina Navabzadeh, PharmD, assistant specialist in the lab of Matthew Springer, PhD, professor in the UCSF Division of Cardiology.

Dr. Navabzadeh speaks from experience: she grew up in Iran, where many of her extended family members were pharmacists. She earned her doctor of pharmacy degree from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, then worked in retail and hospital settings. However, as a woman in Iran, she found her educational and work opportunities limited.

READ FULL spotlight HERE


Hongmei Ruan
Hongmei Ruan, MD, PhD

Hongmei Ruan, MD, PhD, wanted to become a doctor to help people with cardiovascular disease, but her career path led her in a slightly different direction.

Born in China, she earned her medical degree from North China Institute of Science and Technology. “We had one year of clinical rotations in the hospital, and I realized that it was really hard to get a good outcome from [existing] treatments for some diseases,” said Dr. Ruan. “That was kind of disappointing, and made me want to focus on research so maybe I could help improve those outcomes.”

READ FULL spotlight HERE


Raquel photo
Raquel Strauss

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Years at UCSF: 2 years
Years in Cardiology Division: 10 months
Role: Personnel Operations Manager

What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?: One of the things I love about HR is the gratification of helping out my colleagues and creating an inclusive workplace.

What’s one ‘fun fact’ about you that not many people know?: I moved to the West Coast two years ago and I am born and raised in New York/New Jersey area where my family resides.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?: Reading, hiking, exploring new restaurants. I am a big foodie and love to try different cuisines.

If you could learn anything, what would that be?: Real Estate Investing


Juan Qin
Juan Qin, PhD

Juan Qin, PhD grew up in Anhui Province, China in a small mountain village that was so remote that neighboring villages each spoke their own dialect. “We had very limited access to information, and people around me got cancer without receiving access to any treatment,” she said. “That inspired me to want to become a scientist who would develop new drugs to conquer cancer.”

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Xiaoyin Wang
Xiaoyin Wang, MD

Xiaoyin Wang, MD, MSc, brings an unusual breadth of experience to her position as a research specialist in the lab of Matthew Springer, PhD, professor of medicine in the UCSF Division of Cardiology. In addition to spending more than 30 years as a lab scientist studying cardiovascular pathophysiology – including working in Dr. Springer’s lab since 2007 – she cared for heart attack survivors for over a decade as a cardiologist in a Beijing hospital.

“I always use my knowledge in cardiology to design a research proposal and make it more relevant to the clinic,” said Dr. Wang. “Having that background helps my research, and allows me to troubleshoot problems and find better approaches.”

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