STAHR Scholars


María J. Marquine, PhDAnna Rubtsova, PhD, MA, MSc

Dr. Rubtsova is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She received both her PhD and MA in Sociology from Emory University. Her MSc in Social and Organizational Psychology from the London School of Economics (LSE) was funded by a competitive scholarship from the LSE, International Renaissance Foundation and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Dr Rubtsova is passionate about women’s health and HIV treatment and prevention and serves as Data Manager for Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Dr. Rubtsova’s published research focuses on various psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS among women, including sexual risk behaviors and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence. Her current research interests include successful aging with HIV and she has recently been awarded CFAR-03 grant to investigate psychosocial correlates of successful aging among older women living with HIV.


María J. Marquine, PhD Annie Nguyen, PhD, MPH

Dr. Nguyen obtained her PhD in Public and Community Health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, her Master’s in Public Health from Dartmouth College, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, San Diego.  She was a participant of the 2015 National Institutes on Aging Butler-Williams Scholars Program and the 2015 RAND Summer Institute.  She currently holds several elected and appointed leadership positions in the Aging and Public Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB).  Dr. Nguyen is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).  Her research focuses on quality of life outcomes among older adults and particularly, older adults living with HIV.  She is interested in exploring the factors that modify the relationship between life stressors and quality of life, conceptualizations of successful aging, and the ways in which health behaviors fit into individual successful aging paradigms.  She is also interested in end-of-life and advance care planning for older adults living with HIV.  Dr. Nguyen’s research has been supported by various funding sources including the NIH and private foundations.


María J. Marquine, PhDErin Sundermann, PhD

Dr. Sundermann is a cognitive neuroscientist in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. Her graduate training started at UCSD in a Psychology Master's program where she conducted research focused on olfactory function as an early indicator of incipient dementia.  She then went on to the University of Illinois at Chicago for her doctoral degree in cognitive neuroscience and a postdoctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC.  During her doctoral training, her research program with Dr. Pauline Maki focused on estrogen-related genetic polymorphisms and their association with cognition and brain function in healthy populations and women with HIV. She was fortunate enough to have her doctoral work funded by a Scholar's Grant from the Mount Sinai Institute of NeuroAIDS Disparities (MSINAID) which also involved six weeks of didactic training in NeuroAIDS disparities in NYC.  In her postdoc position, Dr. Sundermann worked with the Einstein Aging Study in the investigation of biomarkers and risk factors for cognitive aging and dementia, particularly sex-specific and genetic risk factors.

Dr. Sundermann returned to UCSD as an Assistant Project Scientist in October of 2016. She currently works with Dr. Mark Bondi in cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) research and with Dr. David Moore in NeuroAIDS research at the HIV Neurocognitive Research Center.  Her current research focus with Dr. Bondi is the application of empirical, neuropsychological methods to more accurately diagnose mild cognitive impairment and "preclinical" AD in nondemented older adults.  Dr. Sundermann aims to extend some of these empirical, neuropsychological methods to HIV populations in order to tease apart HIV-infected individuals that are in the AD trajectory from those with HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment.


María J. Marquine, PhD Samir Sabbag, MD

Dr. Sabbag is a geriatric psychiatrist working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Behavioral Sciences of the University of Miami – Leonard Miller School of Medicine, who is board certified in both adult and geriatric psychiatry. He received his medical degree from Universidad del Norte in Colombia and did his psychiatry residency and geriatric psychiatry fellowship at the University of Miami.  Dr. Sabbag is currently involved in clinical, research, and educational endeavors. His clinical duties encompass the evaluation and management of older adults in the outpatient and inpatient settings, treating patients of various ethnicities, socioeconomic status, gender diversity, and with diverse mental and medical illnesses, including HIV. Dr. Sabbag performs comprehensive memory disorder evaluations and participates in multidisciplinary staffing conferences to determine patient diagnoses and treatments in neurodegenerative diseases.

His research interest involves the geriatric population, specifically in the area of functionality, and in the development of strategies that will enable older adults, especially those at risk such as ethnic minorities, cognitively impaired and HIV positive populations, to live independently in the community. He has worked in research involving older ethnically diverse LGBT adults, and in assessments of cognitive and functional capacity of adult patients with severe mental illness, HIV and cognitive impairments, through the use of technology. The main focus of his research has been on Hispanic geriatric populations, the LGBT community, HIV populations, and the effect that these may have in functional and cognitive impairment.  He has published various papers and book chapters, and presented findings from his research at important national and international meetings. He participates as Co-PI in dementia trials, both conducted by pharmaceutical industries and sponsored by the NIMH. He is also involved in education at the psychiatry residency training program and the University of Miami Medical School, where he dedicates part of his time as the Associate Program Director for the psychiatry residency program, Clerkship Director of third year medical students rotating through psychiatry, director of the Gender, Sexual Health and Orientation medical student special interest pathway, and faculty advisor for the medical student psychiatry interest group and academic societies.