Meet the Brain Donation Team
Meet the Clinical Team for Brain Donation
For urgent brain donation matters, please call the BU CTE Center's
24/7 voicemail/pager: 617-992-0615
For general brain donation inquiries, please call during normal working hours, 9 am - 5 pm EST M-F, or email.
Evan Nair: 617-358-5996 or
Madeline Uretsky: 617-358-6027 or
Senior Research Program Manager
As a former student-athlete at Milwaukee School of Engineering serving as captain of the women's soccer team, I learned the importance of advocating for my teammates from athletic and academic perspectives. This experience led me to clinical research in the field of neuroscience with a focus on CTE to preserve athletic involvement while promoting safety in sports for players of all ages. Based on my background in Biomolecular Engineering I am interested in understanding disease progression to explore molecular therapies for CTE and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Research Study Coordinator
Sports has been a passion of mine, both as a spectator, and individual participant, for as long as I can remember. I attended the University of Michigan, where sports, especially Football, is king. Being part of 115,000 people watching a game is electric. An entire culture is built around it; it's fascinating from psychological, sociological, economic, and health perspectives. But at what long and short term physiological cost to the players on field? I became interested in CTE, and its research when my dearest friend, who was an offensive lineman in the NFL, said out of the blue, "Sorry if I repeat myself, or forget something we did. My brain doesn't work like it used to." My 15-years in health services and clinical research kicked in, and I began searching for as much information as possible to answer: 1) what's going on? and 2) what can we about it? It lead me to CTE, and the CTE Center. I feel truly fortunate to be a research coordinator for the UNITE Study. Contributing with purpose to world, and leaving it better, and more informed than when we entered is vital to making things better. My goal is to aid in adding more information for the answers to the questions which lead me to the CTE Center originally, and help other families find resources like those which helped my friend.
Ray received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, in 2011. Ray joined the CTE Center in 2016 after receiving his MS in Neuroscience from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Ray works at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank where he assists neuropathologists in studying postmortem brain donations for signs of CTE and other neurodegenerative diseases. He coordinates and manages various internal lab projects and external collaborations, including the collection and distribution of brain samples for approved tissue requests. He also conducts database management as well as inventorying fixed and frozen neurobiological specimens received, such as brain, spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid, and eyes.
Ray’s interested in the molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases particularly the long term sequale that leads to clinical presentation and pathology. He is also interested in the clinicopathological correlations in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a way to identify potential risk factors for CTE, as well as better determining the clinical and neuropathological progression of the disease.
Senior Research Assistant
As a former gymnast, soccer, and ice hockey player, I understand the incredible role that sports play in society. My interest in neuroscience, specifically sports-related brain trauma, came as a result of a life-altering concussion that I sustained while playing high school soccer. I enjoyed learning about my own brain and brain injury rehabilitation, and as a result, I studied neurobiology, biostatistics, and nutrition at Simmons College, and found a passion for clinical research. I joined the McKee Lab in 2015 as an undergraduate research intern for the UNITE study, and then became a full-time research assistant and brain donation coordinator in 2018. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and my research interests include investigating the clinical and neuropathological effects of repetitive head trauma in female athletes and victims of domestic violence. Additionally, I am also interested in the intersection of neuroscience and criminology, including the effects of head trauma on law enforcement and incarcerated individuals. I truly enjoy working with our donor families, and feel fortunate to be surrounded by such a dedicated team.
Before joining the CTE Center in April 2019, I completed my bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and spent three years assisting with pre-clinical neuroscience research focused on the effects of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. As a research assistant on the neuropathology and clinical teams, I enjoy studying the neuropathological features associated with repetitive head injuries and am grateful to get to know our brain donors through interactions with their families. Working at the CTE Center, I hope to contribute to the development of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative measures that will benefit those suffering with the long-term effects of brain injury. I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical neuropsychology and continue studying the relationships between head trauma and the resulting symptoms and neuropathology.
Coming from a big sports family, athletics has been around me my entire life. While in college, I was unsure what I wanted to study during the first 1.5 years. I fell in love with studying the brain when I took my first psychology course. I became curious in how the biology of the brain relates to human behavior, as well as how differences in a diseased brain relate to different psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases that impact so many lives today. As I took more psychology and neuroscience courses, I naturally became interested in CTE because it combines my love of athletics and my extreme interest in the brain. I really enjoy interacting with families to learn more about our donors and it’s rewarding knowing that this work directly impacts them and their families. I hope to continue the advancement of knowledge in this field and to help as many people as possible that are affected by repeated head trauma.
Growing up as a kid, I have always been around sports especially football since a majority of my family members have participated in the game. During my undergraduate career at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville I completed my Bachelor’s of Arts in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychological Sciences. My interest in medical research in the field of neuroscience initially began during my time as an undergraduate student learning about the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. It further progressed when I worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department which allowed me to be able to see the clinical presentation of these diseases first-hand. I am very fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to work for such an amazing team, and during my time here I hope to better understand the specific neurobiology of these underlying diseases by identifying individual biomarkers and brain pathways affected. Doing so will allow us to develop new and better therapeutic agents for future patients. I plan to pursue a dual MD/PhD degree, and my research interests include investigating potential biomarkers that can help differentiate overlying neurodegenerative diseases in addition to investigating the role of genetic predisposition factors in developing CTE.
Sports, and in particular fencing, have always been a major part of my life. I adore the mental chess aspect of a one-on-one combat sport and am grateful for the lifelong friends I’ve made along the way. Very early on, donning the metallic headgear and protective equipment that can withstand a force of 800N, I became acquainted with the possibility of serious injury in a contact sport such as fencing. I have always been fascinated with the relationship between the brain, psychology, and behavior, therefore studying neuroscience felt like a natural path for me. Paired with a sincere passion for medicine, I always wanted to be able to contribute to research investigating the insidious relationship between neurodegenerative diseases and athletics.
After my graduation, I was immediately drawn to the investigations of CTE and joined as a research assistant in November 2019. I am particularly interested in the long-term impact of traumatic brain injuries and how to provide a holistic approach to patient care. I feel humbled by the donor families who help contribute to research in painful circumstances and am very fortunate to be part of such innovative research and wonderful team.