About Us – Meet The Team

The EpiCenterLA
Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide practical information in new and innovative ways for those interested in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Covered topics include cyberthreats, epidemics, terrorism, hospital-acquired infections such as C.difficile, disaster communication, sister cities working together with Los Angeles, urban planning for disasters, and a calendar of related events. We host a website, EpiCenterLA.org, that is continually updated and contains background as well as new information on disasters and related topics.  It includes text, video and infographics.  We provide original content essays on the website as issues come up. Our target audience goes from trained first responders to the general population. 

Meet The Team

Welcome to the team! 

Dr. Peter Katona

Team Lead

Dr. Peter Katona is Clinical Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Adjunct Professor of Public Health in epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an EIS Officer studying viral diseases and doing epidemic investigation; and at Apria/Corum/CVS Healthcare as their Corporate Medical Director. He is an internationally recognized authority on bioterrorism and has lectured throughout the world on this topic. 

Jessica Irvine

Student Lead

Jessica Irvine is a fourth-year Psychobiology Major and Public Health Minor at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is expected to graduate in June 2020, and hopes to pursue a PhD in Epidemiology. 

She would love to work for the CDC and concentrate on infectious diseases, traveling the globe. Jessica traveled to Tanzania in 2018; she is eager to return to the island of Zanzibar, as well as explore as many new destinations as she can.



Student Lead

Sarita Lee is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Statistics who is super passionate about applying statistics to public health applications. Her research interests include public health policy and using mathematical modeling and data analysis methods for disaster situations. 

Sarita also loves teaching others how to salsa dance.

Meredith Steinberg


Meredith is a second-year Pre-Human Biology and Society major. She plans to declare a minor in Public Health and would like to become an epidemiologist in the future. 

Meredith’s interests outside school include hiking with friends and going to the beach.

Samantha Underwood


Samantha Underwood is a third year pre-Human Biology and Society major. Her future career goal is to work as an epidemiologist, concentrating in either maternal and child health or mental health. 

On any given Sunday from September to February, Samantha can be found sporting her cheesehead and cheering on her favorite team: the Green Bay Packers.



Andy Shen is a third-year statistics major with a minor in mathematics. In the future, Andy hopes to earn his PhD in Statistics and either become a professor or do data-driven work for programs involving national security. 

Andy is also a Resident Assistant for UCLA Residential Life. 

Samira Mosalla


Samira Mosalla is a 3rd year undergraduate student majoring in Anthropology B.S. She expects to graduate from UCLA in the Spring of 2020, and take a gap year to study for the MCAT, so that she can apply to medical school. Her goal is to become a physician although she have not yet chosen a specialty. She interested in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Emergency. 

In her free time she likes to cook and go on hikes.



Sabrina Khan is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology and is planning on pursuing medical school.


In her free time she likes to cook and go on hikes.

Henry Liang

Social Media

Henry Liang is currently a first year undergraduate at UCLA. He is an applied math major, doing research in the areas of mathematical modeling and health sciences. 

He loves going to the gym and driving on winding mountains. 



Jessica is a second-year student, planning to major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She wants to become a pharmacist in the future. She loves learning about social, health, and environmental issues concerning the youth. In her free time, she loves to play with her dog, cook food, and watch documentaries.

Isabella Poschl


Isabella is a first-year undergraduate student aspiring to double major in Neuroscience and Anthropology. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school to pursue a career in either pediatric medicine or neurogenetics research. 

She is currently a member of VSU Modern’s competitive dance team and in her free time can be found at the beach or playing with her dogs.



Lauren is a second year at UCLA studying Human Biology and Society. She is graduating in June of 2022 and hopes to attend medical school in the future. 

Tony Zhou


Tianxiang (Tony) Zhou is a fourth year Applied Maths major at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is passionate about programming and he hopes to go to graduate school. 

He enjoys weightlifting and learning new things.

Natan Hekmatjah

Active alumni

Graduated in 2019 as a Psychobiology major from UCLA. He hopes of attending medical school to become a future health-care physician. An interesting fact about Natan is that his name is spelled the same forwards and backwards!

Carolyn Moor


Carolyn is a second-year undergraduate majoring in Statistics and minoring in Geographic Information Systems and Technologies. She hopes to pursue a career in data science and analytics. In addition to academics, Carolyn is on the UCLA Club Lacrosse team and enjoys spending her free time exploring Los Angeles. 




Alexandra Dove

Plans to attend medical school in the future and work in the emergency room. She also would like to practice wilderness medicine and combine her love for the outdoors with science. Alexandra loves to travel and when she was twelve she hiked a volcano in Guatemala where they roasted marshmallows over the lava.


Dina Simon

Graduated as an Economics major and  Neuroscience minor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Due to her interest in public health, medicine, and business, in the future, she hopes to pursue a MPH, MD, MBA, or some combination of the three. Outside of school, she enjoys learning new languages and is currently studying Japanese.


Jose Barrera

Graduated as a Biophysics major and a Spanish minor with aspirations of aiding in disaster relief by conducting search and rescue efforts with Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams as a physician. Apart from being a student, José was an amateur boxer for the UCLA Boxing team and continues to box in his free time.


Aaron Knuteson

Graduated as a Pscyhobiology  student at UCLA. He plans to attend medical school in the near future and hopes to further integrate stem cell biology with medicine. His main focuses were gun violence and the anti-vaxxer movement. In his free time, Aaron swims for the UCLA Club Swim Team and helps run a non-profit named “The Bruin Experiment.” 



Graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a degree in Economics, and plans to attend medical school. A fun fact about Marissa is that she is a dual citizen in the United States and Luxembourg.


Natan Hekmetjah

Graduated in 2019 as a Psychobiology major from UCLA. He hopes of attending medical school to become a future health-care physician. An interesting fact about Natan is that his name is spelled the same forwards and backwards!


Yousof Fawzy ​

Graduated as a Physiological Science major. He has worked in the Emergency Medical Services special event division for over three years. He plans to attend medical school and specialize in Emergency Medicine. Yousof’s interests reside in integrating clinical medicine and public health with an emphasis on disaster preparedness.

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