Ann Chang, Senior Project Director

Ann Chang is the Senior Project Director of the MASALA Study Coordinating Center and the Associate Directory of the Women’s Health Clinical Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Ann received her B.S. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA and has worked in clinical research since 2003. Ann first started working with Dr. Kanaya on the MASALA Pilot Study in 2006 and continues to support all ongoing programmatic needs for the MASALA Study Coordinating Center.


Eric Vittinghoff, Ph.D, Biostatistician

Eric Vittinghoff is an applied statistician who provides consulting and analysis for the MASALA study.  He got his PhD in biostatistics from UC Berkeley in 1993, is the first author of a well-regarded textbook, Regression Methods in Biostatistics, and co-author of more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, many of them concerning cardiovascular health and disparities, including several by the MASALA investigators.

Michael Schembri, Programmer Analyst

Michael Schembri is the data systems analyst for the Women’s Health Clinical Research Center where for 8 years he has developed data systems in support of clinical trials.  He has over 20 years of experience programming in health care research, with a list of publications that include areas of health policy research, longitudinal studies, cost effectiveness, as well as clinical trials.  In addition to developing the participant tracking database for the MASALA study, Mr. Schembri manages and develops the data integration processes for the project.  He currently leads the SAS Users Group at UCSF. 

Zubaida Qamar, PhD, Clinical Research Project Manager

Zubaida Qamar received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Nutrition from Texas A&M University, and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from State University of New York at Oneonta. She has several years of research experience investigating the behavioral aspects of nutrition, and cultural and socioeconomic determinants of health in various communities. Furthermore, she is interested in utilizing technology and community based participatory research towards the development of health and nutrition programs for the prevention of diseases in South Asians.
Zubaida enjoys teaching, and has served in various instructional roles in academia. In addition, she has undertaken responsibilities for several community nutrition projects during her involvement at Alameda County Public Health Department and Nutrition Policy Institute, which exposed her to the translation of research into public health practice and policy. Being involved with the MASALA Study provides Zubaida a professionally and personally rewarding opportunity to interact with the South Asian community while contributing towards South Asian health research.

Shweta Srivastava, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

Shweta Srivastava is a trained Obstetrics/Gynecology physician from Delhi University, India, with a broad background in teaching and research. Her teaching career started at Bryman College in Hayward, where she was a Medical Assistant Instructor. Shweta has also worked on a Clinical Trial Study of H1N1 vaccine at the Stanford-LPCH Vaccine Program. Shweta has been a part of the MASALA Study Team since Sept 2010. She has been actively involved with recruitment, data collection and data management. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with the participants during clinic visits. She loves being a part of the MASALA study which alligns with her interest of prevention of diseases in the South Asian community.


Fareeha Qureshi, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

Fareeha Qureshi is a physician from Pakistan with a passion for clinical research. She joined MASALA team in March 2012.She has been involved in participant recruitment, conducting clinical visits and data collection in community based study visits. Fareeha is very excited to be part of the study that will provide us information for future treatments to prevent or cure heart disease in South Asians.

Evangeline Nithya Vijayakumar, MS, Clinical Research Coordinator

I am Evangeline Nithya from India. I completed my BS and MS in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Madras University, Chennai, India. Prior to joining the MASALA Team, I was an Instructional Designer, involved in writing training videos and manuals for various Biotechnology companies and Clinical Research laboratories.

I have a profound interest in clinical research studies, which drove me to be a part of the MASALA Study. Initially, I joined the MASALA Study as a Research Intern. The internship gave me new insights as to why South Asians have been more prone to cardiovascular disease at a very early age and how this study will provide new perspective to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease in South Asians.

In June 2016, I started working as an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator for the MASALA Study. I am very much delighted to affiliate myself with such a dynamic team and look forward to making my own contribution in preventing cardiovascular disease in South Asians living in America.

Juned Siddique, Dr.PH, Biostatistician

Juned Siddique is an Associate Professor and Biostatistician in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. His research efforts focus on developing statistical methods for handling incomplete or missing data. He applies these methods to a range of problems including rater bias, participant dropout, data harmonization in individual participant data analysis, and measurement error. He collaborates closely with lifestyle intervention researchers and has particular interests in the analysis of diet and physical activity data.

Beenish Najam, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a physician from Pakistan with a lot of passion for clinic research. I joined MASALA Study in 2014.I enjoy interacting with participants and following up with them via eMASALA to help identify etiology and risk factors that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases in South Asians living in North America. I work closely with participants to track any event that might have occurred in the past few days. I also enjoy data collection directly from participants to learn about social influences and what their diet and exercise patterns have on cardiovascular health. I am very excited to be a part of MASALA Study that targets South Asian population and provides an opportunity to work on preventing cardiovascular diseases in south Asians.

Swapna Dave, MPH, PMP, MBBS, Research Project Manager

Swapna Dave has a medical degree from India with a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has extensive experience working on qualitative and quantitative as well as Community Based Research in the field of public health for about 10 years. She has been managing multiple NIH funded research projects focused on cardiovascular health in minorities including the MASALA study. She is the project manager on the MASALA study for Northwestern site and finds working on the MASALA study personally as well as professionally fulfilling and is happy to make a difference in her community. Swapna also serves on the Skokie Board of Health and actively works towards a goal of improving health for the community.


Matthew J. Budoff, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Program Director and Director of Cardiac CT, Division of Cardiology, Harbor-UCLA Medical CenterEndowed Chair of Preventive Cardiology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute

Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Program Director and Director of Cardiac CT, Division of Cardiology, Harbor-UCLA Medical CenterEndowed Chair of Preventive Cardiology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute

Dr. Matthew Budoff is at the forefront of the medical community’s efforts to develop early detection methods for cardiac disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. Given that approximately 50 percent of U.S. heart disease victims learn of their illness by experiencing a sometimes fatal heart attack, Dr. Budoff has devoted much of his time over the past 20 years to advancing procedures that can help doctors identify cardiac patients early, and place them on a therapeutic path to prevent a heart attack.

Dr. Budoff works on at least 20 active medical research trials at any given time, and is a frequent lecturer on topics of cardiology at symposia, congresses and annual conferences on every continent. He has authored or co-authored over 750 research papers, six books, and 40 book chapters.

 Dr. Budoff has been listed among America's and Los Angeles' Top Doctors every year since 2005.  In the past two years alone, Dr. Budoff has been honored with multiple awards recognizing his professional skills and accomplishments. Of particular note is his receipt of the Einstein Award for Scientific Achievement from the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, U.K.; being named to the US News list of Top Doctors for 2011; and, most recently, named to “Worlds Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014. In 2015, he was named the Endowed Chair of Preventive Cardiology at his institution and was awarded the Arthur S. Agatston Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Award.

Dr. Budoff graduated cum laude from the University of California, Riverside, with a major in biochemistry. He went on to graduate with distinction and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha from the George Washington University School of Medicine, in Washington, DC, before returning to his native California to complete an internship and residency in internal medicine, and a fellowship in cardiology, at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where he currently acts as Program Director for the Cardiology Fellowship and Director of Cardiac Computed Tomography.



Meghana Gadgil, MD

I am an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCSF, and have worked with the MASALA cohort since 2012.  My research focus is on the role of nutrition in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, especially in minority women. To date, my work with MASALA has  characterized the prevalent dietary patterns in this population, and examined their associations with risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. These investigations inform my ultimate goal: to design nutritional interventions to enhance the prevention of these chronic diseases in women throughout the life course.



Neil A. Zakai, M.D., M.Sc.


Dr. Zakai is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology, and a practicing hematologist at the University of Vermont. He supervises the MASALA lab repository. His expertise is in evaluation and management of premature arterial vascular disease and hyper-coagulable syndromes. Dr. Zakai is also an investigator for the The REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study (REGARDS).

J. Jeffrey Carr, M.D., M.Sc.


Dr. Carr is a Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Informatics and Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Carr specializes in non-invasive cardiovascular imaging and studies ways to predict disease before it is clinically evident. He is a co-investigator for the MASALA study and his lab has conducted the readings for ectopic pericardial fat and liver fat for the MASALA study. His lab is also making novel measurements of coronary artery cross-sectional area from MASALA cardiac CT scans currently.

Sarah Nadimpalli, RN, MA, PhD

My primary research interests are in health inequities, the social determinants of health, and psychosocial factors that may lead to poorer health behaviors and outcomes among ethnic minority groups. Specifically, I evaluate how psychosocial and acculturative factors mediate cardiovascular health pathways among South Asian Americans. My work with the MASALA Study has primary focused on how discrimination may relate to multiple health outcomes among Asian Indians.