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Lab Members

Taub Research Group

  • Michael J. Wilkinson, MD FACC

    Michael J. Wilkinson, MD FACC


    Michael Wilkinson, MD, is a cardiologist who leads the advanced lipid treatment program at UC San Diego Health. This includes diagnosis and management of inherited forms of dyslipidemia (i.e. an abnormal amount of cholesterol or fats [lipids] in the blood), as well as primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease through risk factor management and use of lipid-modifying therapies.

    Dr. Wilkinson’s research interests include the development of treatments with lifestyle change and novel drug-therapies for patients who are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Dr. Wilkinson completed a cardiovascular disease fellowship at UC San Diego School of Medicine, where he served as chief fellow. He did his residency in internal medicine at The University of Chicago. He earned his medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Dr. Wilkinson is board certified in internal medicine and clinical lipidology.

    He is a member of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, National Lipid Association, American College of Physicians, and The Obesity Society.

  • Iwona Świątkiewicz, MD, PhD, FESC

    Iwona Świątkiewicz, MD, PhD, FESC

    Dr.  Świątkiewicz is a Professor of Medicine in Nicolaus Copernicus University, Collegium Medicum, Bydgoszcz, Poland. Her medical training and specialization include internal medicine and cardiology. She has been involved in research, teaching, and clinical activities, and participated in numerous professional events, teaching courses, workshops, and scientific meetings. She published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters. Her research interests are focused on the diagnostic and prognostic value of echocardiography and biomarkers in cardiac diseases, efficacy and safety of transcatheter structural cardiac interventions, circadian clock disruption in cardiometabolic diseases, impact of pharmacologic intervention and lifestyle changes on cardiometabolic risk, and clinical and translational research in cardiovascular diseases. Her clinical areas of activities include non-invasive cardiology, echocardiography, prevention of heart disease, management of heart defects, coronary disease and heart failure, transcatheter structural cardiac interventions, as well as evidence-based tailored approach to care of individual patients.

  • Jia Shen, MD

    Jia Shen, MD


    Jia Shen, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist who specializes in the treatment and prevention of heart disease.

    As an assistant professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Shen's research interests include cardiac rehabilitation, global burden of cardiovascular disease and risk factors, distribution of cardiovascular health services in low-resource settings, and biomarkers in cardiovascular disease.

    Dr. Shen was named outstanding fellow during her fellowship training in cardiovascular disease at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she also completed her residency training in internal medicine. She earned her medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri. She also holds a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.

    In addition to English, Dr. Shen is fluent in Mandarin.

  • Erika Padilla

    Erika Padilla

    Clinical Research Coordinator

    Erika Padilla graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience in 2020 and has been working in Dr. Taub's research group ever since! During her time at UCSD, she worked as a student research assistant for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, where she was able to learn about neurological diseases that affect movement and cognition. Now as a clinical researcher for cardiovascular medicine, she is excited to explore a different avenue of medicine with an emphasis on behavioral intervention for cardiovascular disease prevention. She considers herself very fortunate to help people gain optimal cardio-metabolic health!

    In her free time she enjoys hiking, rollerblading along the beach and yoga!

  • David Van

    David Van

    Clinical Research Coordinator

    David Van graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neuroscience and a minor in Education Studies. During his time at UC San Diego, David conducted research on how perceptual scaling and signal detection analysis can be used to improve the effectiveness of eyewitness testimony and human memory with Dr. Thomas Albright at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He is excited to transition into clinical trials research and is interested in learning more about the effects of time restricted eating on patients with metabolic syndrome.

    Prior to joining the Taub Research Group, David was a student teacher for a Spanish Immersion class where he taught different STEM subjects in Spanish to elementary school students. He is inspired to educate future generations about the field of medicine and clinical research. David's medical interests lie in surgery, and he aspires to be a cardiothoracic surgeon or orthopedic surgeon in the future. During his free time, David enjoys volunteering in the community, playing the piano, mentoring K-12 students, and playing beach volleyball.

  • Neeja Patel

    Neeja Patel

    Summer Scholarship Recipient

    Neeja is a rising second year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She graduated from UC San Diego in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Humanities. During undergrad, she worked in the Patel lab doing research on mice tissue to analyze cell membrane fluidity. She is excited to transition to clinical research about the prevalence of diabetic cardiomyopathy and to learn more about the field of preventative cardiology.

    Before starting med school, Neeja taught 9th grade in an under served community and hopes to continue bringing education and patient awareness to the forefront of medicine. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of San Diego.

  • Rajiv Vasudevan

    Rajiv Vasudevan

    Summer Scholarship Recipient

    Rajiv is a current medical student at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he completed his undergraduate studies at UC San Diego (Revelle College) in 2018. He conducted research in clinical neuropsychology before transitioning to the cardiac biomarker lab of Dr. Alan Maisel, who worked closely with Dr. Taub prior to his retirement in 2018. Now a medical student, he enjoys exploring different avenues of research in the field of cardiology and is currently working on the Amgen FFR study pertaining to the management and outcomes of non-obstructive coronary artery disease.

    In addition, Rajiv is interested in infectious diseases and nosocomial infection prevention research, and hopes to find a way to integrate infectious disease and cardiology in his future career. In his free time, Rajiv enjoys playing guitar, riding his bike, and reading books on religion and philosophy.

  • Irvin Xu

    Irvin Xu

    Summer Scholarship Recipient

    Irvin Xu is a second year medical student at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. During his time at UCLA, Irvin conducted research in toxicology involving liver microtissues before transitioning over to type 1 diabetes research under Dr. Jide Tian. He is excited to continue his research endeavors, now in the field of cardiology, and work with the rest of the team on the Amgen FFR study.

    During his free time, Irvin enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and exploring the San Diego food scene.

  • Sneha Panda

    Sneha Panda

    Volunteer Clinical Research Assistant

    Sneha Panda is an incoming first-year student at UC Riverside majoring in data science. She started volunteering in the Taub Research Group shortly after graduating from high school in June 2021 to gain exposure to the medical field and human clinical trials. Her interests include data science, computer science, and clinical research. In high school, she was an intern in Dr. Mark Ellisman's lab at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, where she studied intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells and their axonal connections to different brain regions. She hopes to apply computer science and data science principles into clinical research studies in the future. 

    In her free time, she enjoys reading science fiction novels, singing, dancing, swimming, nature walks, and practicing karate. 

  • Christopher Van

    Christopher Van

    Volunteer Clinical Research Assistant

    Christopher Van is a current second-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology under a pre-med track. His current interests lie in cardiology and oncology where he hopes to find a cure to leukemia in the future. Shortly after graduating high school, Chris began to volunteer with the Taub Research Group to gain knowledge within the field of cardiology and human clinical trials. With a passion to help others, Chris is very excited to conduct research and overall help patients with metabolic syndrome experience the benefits of time-restricted eating!

    During his free time, Chris enjoys playing the piano, volleyball, longboarding, going to the gym, and spending time with family and friends.