Sall Lab


Welcome to the Sall lab! We work in two different areas - Brain Development and Altitude adaptation and physiology.

Developmental Neuroscience - The Sall group has studied how anesthesia may effect brain development and the role of sex on these outcomes for many years.  Recently, we have also become interested in how exposure in early life to cannabis and cannabis products influence development.  Current pre-clinical investigations are centered around how gender and sex hormones influence changes in the developing brain and neurobehavioral outcomes after exposure.

Altitude physiology and adaptation - This group has interest in how the body adapts to rapid ascent to altitude (hypobaric hypoxia) and how it can be treated. 


Sex-Differences in Brain Development after Anesthesia 

Our lab has previously shown that the lasting cognitive deficit observed after early anesthesia exposure is sex-dependent in rodents. Postnatal male rats exposed to volatile anesthesia had worse behavioral outcomes in recognition tasks than exposed female littermates, suggesting an underlying sex-specific mechanism of anesthetic neurotoxicity. We subsequently described how females are effected at an earlier age and the role of testosterone in extending the vulnerable period in males. 

Sex-Differences in Brain Development after cannabis exposure 

Through a combination of behavioral, circuit, and cellular studies, our lab seeks to identify the sex-specific and temporal factors that define vulnerabilities during early brain development. Recent legalization of cannabis and products including THC, CBD, CBC has led to wide spread acceptance of their use, but very little science has evaluated how these products act on the developing body. We are working to determine what benefits and problems might exist from their use. 

Exercise and Cognition After Early Life Anesthesia

Exercise has the ability to improve learning in memory in animals and humans alike. We hypothesized that this attribute might rescue the memory deficit that our lab and others have repeatedly shown in animals exposed to early life anesthesia. We have developed a protocol for voluntary exercise wheel running in rats exposed to early life anesthesia and through a battery of behavior tests and use of molecular biology, we are studying the effect of exercise on learning and memory and the underlying mechanism.

Prevention and Treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness During Rapid Ascent

We completed a phase 2 clinical trial and are now enrolling for a phase 3 trial to determine the efficacy of a medication in prevention and treatment of AMS symptoms during rapid ascent. We are currently recruiting for healthy volunteers. If interested, contact us at [email protected] (415) 476-1131.

Alteration of gene expression early and late after rapid ascent to altitude

This project enrolls subjects already in the AMS trial to collect blood for expression analysis related how the body deals with an acute physiologic change (rapid ascent and hypoxia). We are analyzing these changes to understand what early changes and later changes in gene expression may occur and how these might relate to acute illness.


Jeffrey Sall PhD, MD

Principal Investigator 
[email protected]

Dr. Sall is the James P. Livingston Endowed Chair and Professor of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care. He received a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he studied biochemical mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation in the lab of Dr. Anthony Zera. He began his medical training in the MD/PhD program at the Ohio State University and followed his thesis advisor (M. Sue O’Dorisio) to the University of Iowa where he completed both degrees followed by an internship in internal medicine. Dr. Sall undertook his anesthesia residency at the University of California, San Francisco where his advisor was Dr. Edmond Eger. After residency he worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Drs. Phillip Bickler (Anesthesia) and Samuel Pleasure (Neurology) and then joined the faculty in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care. As a clinician Dr. Sall works primarily in the at the Moffitt-Long hospital on the neurosurgical anesthesia service. He is an advisor to residents in the anesthesia training program and was the faculty advisor for the medical student Anesthesia Interest Group which was awarded Best Student Interest Group by the ASA in 2015 and 2019. His laboratory has been funded by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For many years his research has focused on developmental neuro-toxicology from anesthetics exposure and recently on how cannabis may effect the brain. He is also interest in altitude physiology and treatments.

Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, Residency 
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Internal Medicine, Internship
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Medicine, Neuroscience MD, PhD
University of Nebraska, Biological Sciences BS


Jennifer Sasaki Russell PhD

Associate Specialist
[email protected]

Jenny is a PhD-trained neuroscientist who joined the Sall Lab in 2015 to investigate sex-specific mechanisms of early-life anesthetic neurotoxicity. Her current work in the lab focuses on the long-term effects of perinatal cannabinoid exposure and sex-specific developmental brain injury. Previously, Jenny earned her bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley and her PhD in Neuroscience at Tufts University. At Tufts, she completed her thesis work in the lab of Leon Reijmers, where she researched the functional neural circuitry of contextual fear learning and memory. 
Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, Postdoctoral Research
Tufts University, Neuroscience, PhD
UC Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology, BA


Gregory Chinn MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
[email protected]

Greg an assistant professor and a graduate of the T32 research fellowship in the Anesthesia department. Before that he completed the research scholars track of the UCSF anesthesia residency program. He is interested broadly in developmental neurotoxicity and is studying the effects of GABAergic drugs and Cannabinoids on neural development.
Although he grew up in southern California, Greg loves San Francisco and has come to love the cool crisp days where you can see for miles. When he’s not working you can find him hanging out with his family, cooking or brewing beer.

Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, Residency
UC Irvine, School of Medicine, MD
UC Irvine, Developmental and Cellular Biology, PhD
UC Irvine, Neurobiology BS


Danielle Williamson MD, PhD

Critical Care Fellow

Danielle is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where her interest in research was sparked while working on the purine salvage pathway of the parasite Leishmania donovani in the lab of Dr. Buddy Ullman. She then pursued a MD-PhD at Oregon Health & Science University, where her thesis work involved elucidating the mechanism of pH sensing in a family of serine proteases known as the proprotein convertases under the mentorship of Dr Ujwal Shinde. After completing an internship in internal medicine, she moved to San Francisco for residency as a Critical Care Scholar in the department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care. She is currently finishing her fellowship in critical care medicine. In her free time, Danielle enjoys running dirt trails, climbing snow-covered mountains, and exploring the wilderness.


Koa Gudelunas

Koa joined the lab in May 2016.  His research projects in the lab include the value of cerebral tissue oxygenation during Neurovascular surgery and its potential use as a way to predict surgical outcomes and if cerebral oximetry can better access cerebral perfusion during Neurosurgery.  He also has interests in heart rate variability as a predictor of cardiac arrest. His ultimate goal is to practice medicine and plans to apply to medical school in the next couple years.

Education and Training
UC Santa Cruz, Neuroscience BS


Meetu Wadhwa PhD

Meetu Wadhwa joined Sall’s Lab as a postdoctoral scholar in March 2021. As neurodevelopment process underlie learning and memory functions via different stages (proliferation, differentiation, migration, guidance, and synapse formation) and any defect in normal neurodevelopmental process may cause several neurological disorders, thus, Meetu’s major research interest is to study the role of GABAergic and Cannabanoid drugs in rat brain to understand the developmental neurotoxicity. She has developed a strong background in translational research and to study the neurobehavioral system and their associated pathologies especially in neurodegenerative disorders.
Other than lab experimentation, she loves to do cooking experiments in kitchen, music and a long walk.

Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, Postdoctoral Research
UC San Francisco, Department of Medicine, Postdoctoral Research
Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), Delhi and Bharathiar University, India, PhD
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), Lucknow, India, Pharmacology, Master of Pharmacy


Isha Soni

Isha joined Sall lab in Feb 2021. Currently, her research is focused on the effects of Cannabinoids on rat brain development. She has extensive experience in translational microbiology. She worked on opportunistic and drug-resistant pathogens during her postdoc and graduate studies at the University of Utah and CSIR-CDRI India, respectively. Her long-term interest includes studying infection-induced neuroinflammation. She loves hiking and exploring new places in her free time.


Lauren McHenry

Medical Student

Lauren is a medical student at UCSF (class of 2022) and is currently applying to residency programs in anesthesia. She has a background in neuroscience research using stem cells to model neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disease and earned a master’s degree studying the tumor microenvironment of child neurologic cancers. She is currently assisting with data collection as part of a Phase 3 FDA drug trial evaluating the efficacy of T89 in the prevention of acute mountain sickness (AMS). During her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, propagating house plants, and hiking with friends and family.

Education and Training: 
UC San Francisco, Biomedical Sciences, MS
UC San Diego, Neuroscience, BS


Yasmine Eichbaum

Yasmine is an assistant clinical research coordinator in the Sall lab. Previously, she worked as a research assistant in the lab and contributed to projects relating to developmental neurotoxicity. In her current role, Yasmine works with Dr. Sall and other investigators studying postoperative outcomes. One study is focused on whether specific biomarkers in blood could predict surgical outcomes in neurovascular surgery. Yasmine hopes to pursue a career in medicine and is applying to medical school. Outside of the lab, she loves dancing, running, and working on crossword puzzles.

Education and Training: 
Princeton University, Chemistry AB


Leah Campbell

Leah is an assistant clinical research coordinator in the Sall lab in the anesthesia department. She has previously worked on other clinical trials within the anesthesia department that looked at the effects of hypoxia on cognitive abilities, as well as cerebral and muscle oxygenation levels. In addition to this, she has also done lab work at a cancer research lab where she tested the potency of different cancer drugs aimed towards treating kidney cancer. Currently, Leah is working towards the completion of a Phase 3 FDA drug trial that is investigating an herbal drug’s ability in alleviating symptoms associated with acute mountain sickness. She is also finishing obtaining a BS degree in Biochemistry from UC Santa Barbara and then plans to attend medical school with the hopes in becoming a doctor. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and hanging out with her dog.

UC Santa Barbara, Chemistry and Biochemistry department


Tal Horowitz

Tal is an assistant clinical research coordinator in the Sall lab. Previously, he worked as aresearcher in the lab and worked on a project investigating the effect of early life anesthesia exposure on neural development, using neonatal rats as a model. In his current role, Tal works to ensure successful completion of a Phase 3 FDA drug trial investigating the efficacy of a drug (T89) in alleviating symptoms associated with acute mountain sickness. He hopes to become a doctor one day and is applying to medical school. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, running, and seeing beautiful views around the Bay Area.

UC Santa Barbara, Biopsychology BS


Mark Shelp

Altitude Station Manager

Altitude station manager, cook, electrical technician, solar and battery power manager, well water maintenance tech and all around fixit guy. He is a philosopher, environmentalist, and 90’s music expert. Mark gets more days skiing per year than most people get birthdays in a lifetime. In the off season from the altitude station he is a backcountry ski and mountaineering guide. Ask him where to go.


Katrina Duong

Katrina is a third-year undergraduate student at UC Irvine studying Human Biology. She is interested in neurobiology and hopes to pursue a career in medicine in the future. In her free time, she likes to find new places to eat around the Bay Area and take pictures of loved ones and scenic spots on the coast.


Marcus Cummins:

Marcus is a medical student at UCSF (class of 2023). He hopes to pursue a career in anesthesia and has a background in psychobiology, so he is interested in the effects of anesthesia on the brain and cognition. In his downtime, he enjoys spending time with his family and watching football and golf.  
Education and Training: 
UC Davis, Psychobiology BS 

John Chan MD
Obhijit Hazarika MD
Bradley Lee MD
Nan Lin MD
Deenu Maharjan, MD
Laura May MD
Jennifer Shih PhD
Nicole Yabut, Assistant Specialist



For a full list of puplications click here.




Jeffrey Sall
[email protected]| 415-476-0322

University of California, San Francisco
Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care
513 Parnassus Ave
Box 0542
San Francisco, Ca 94143