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. 



Henry Liang is currently a third year undergraduate at UCLA. He is an applied math major, doing research in the areas of predictive modeling and health sciences. He loves going to the gym and doing motorsports.

Nazrin Rustamzade


Nazrin is a third-year Human Biology and Society and Political Science double major. She hopes to earn an MPH degree and pursue a career in healthcare management and policymaking. Outside of school, Nazrin is passionate about cooking, baking, and learning new languages.




Social Media

Ellis Kim is a sophomore at UCLA majoring in Education and Social Transformation and on the Pre-med Track. She aspires to be a child psychiatrist and to help make new policies in the nation’s Education system. Ellis loves making youtube videos and filming look-books.



Jessica is a second year undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Psychobiology. She hopes to attend medical school and aspires to be a physician in the future. Outside of academics, Jessica loves to dance, play volleyball and try out new restaurants.




Lauren is a third-year Human Biology and Society major and Applied Developmental Psychology minor. She is passionate about bioethical applications to social science and plans to pursue a career as a future healthcare physician. During her free time, Lauren is a foodie enthusiast who loves hiking near the beach, fostering kittens, and creating mini DIY projects.



Evelyn is a third-year undergrad at UCLA majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is incredibly passionate about the societal impacts of climate change, and firmly believes that effective marketing is the solution to achieving the cultural groundswell and political momentum to create change. In the future, she hopes to eventually pursue a career in the field of sustainable marketing.



Jessica is an upcoming fourth-year student majoring in Biology. She has a keen interest in learning about healthcare barriers and undertaking outreach to diverse communities. In her free time, she loves to experiment with food recipes and take different walking routes with her dog every day. She plans on becoming a Physician Assistant in the future




Kenneth Thai is a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA  pursuing a major in Biology and possibly Human Biology and Society. He is extremely passionate about advocating for equitable access to healthcare. In the future, he hopes to become an emergency/family medicine physician. Outside of academics, Kenny is a devout foodie and loves to explore and try new foods!

Sophia Gonzales


 Sophie is a second year biochemistry major drawn to the intersection of graphic design with scientific research and information. In particular, she aims to employ design to make difficult scientific concepts and research more understandable to the general public. Although uncertain about her future, she would like to conduct disease or viral research. In her free time, Sophie enjoys trips to coffee shops and spending time with friends.



Harlene is a third-year undergraduate at UCLA majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Neuroscience. She hopes to attend medical school in the future to pursue a career as a health-care physician. In her free time, Harlene likes to go on drives, find new coffee shops, and listen to crime podcasts. 





David is a third-year Biochemistry major from Arcadia, California. David is pursuing a career in medicine and is extremely interested in biotechnology and the promise it holds for bettering society! He is also extremely passionate about improving the efficacy of our healthcare system and practices! Unrelated to medicine, David is interested in investing and day-trading, but also loves working out, skiing, snowboarding, recreational shooting, and playing basketball.



Sarah Fazio is a first-year undergraduate planning to major in statistics. In the future, she intends to pursue a career in data science or biotechnology. Outside of school, she likes to run, listen to Taylor Swift, and watch Warriors basketball. 





Natan Hekmatjah

Active alumni

Natan 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!

Jessica Irvine

active alumni

Jessica Irvine graduated in 2020 from UCLA with a degree in Psychobiology and minor in Public Health. She aspires to become a physician. Jessica has a passion for travel. She went to Tanzania in 2018 and is eager to explore as many new destinations as she can


Meredith Steinberg

Meredith graduated with a degree in Human Biology and Society as well as a minor Public Health. While she plans to get her Master’s in Public Health in the near future, Meredith is currently searching for a position that aligns with her passions for public health outreach and epidemiological research.

Andy Shen

Andy graduated from UCLA in 2021 with a degree in Statistics. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Statistics at UC Berkeley in hopes of becoming a professor or intelligence director. Andy enjoys trying new restaurants across the state of California and taking walks.

Kevin Zhang

Kevin graduated from UCLA with a degree in Biology. His joy is to organize free health screenings and a phone service for linguistically isolated immigrants in Los Angeles. He is an enthusiast for cutting edge science and after previously shadowing and interning, now works part-time in the pharmaceutical industry.

Samira Mosalla

Samira Mosalla graduated in March 2020. She is taking a gap year to study for the MCAT, so that she can apply to PA programs. Her goal is to become a Physician Assistant 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.