PhD Student Life


The primary focus of the first two years of the program is to expose students to the basic core courses in Rehabilitation Science. You'll have the opportunity to experience work in three different lab settings, ultimately selecting a laboratory and Principal Investigator with whom you'll complete your dissertation.

  • First year: Core courses focus on Rehabilitation Science, Statistics, Research Ethics, and Basic Sciences.
  • Second year: Begin to focus on a specific area of research in either the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics or Clinically Informed Neuroscience track.

The time needed to complete your degree will vary depending on your training and experience prior to enrolling in the PhD program and the time it takes to complete your dissertation research (typically two to three years). To facilitate timely progress in the program, all students are required to complete annual progress reports and to discuss them with their adviser and Graduate Committee or Dissertation Committee.

Educational Support

We are committed to supporting student success. There are numerous resources available to students, from building a sense community at UCSF to career planning and development services offered through the Graduate Division.

Financial Support

PhD students receive a modest stipend per year and payment of fees and tuition for the first two years of study. It is expected that students will engage in research programs and receive intramural or extramural funding for research and studies in the subsequent years.

Current PhD Students

Cayce Shaw

Cayce received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Santa Cruz and is currently working with Dr. Dena Dubal. Her thesis studies the epigenetics of the inactive X chromosome during brain aging and its role in resilience against age-related neurodegenerative disease. Outside of the lab, following her NCAA soccer career, Cayce continues to play soccer with the SF Nighthawks WPSL team and coaches youth soccer teams.


Jessica Bath

Jess received a B.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology and competed in cross-country/track at Humboldt State University. She then graduated from USCF/SFSU's DPT program and practiced briefly in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Her dissertation in Dr. Doris Wang's lab utilizes a novel neural deep brain stimulation device to conceptualize postural instability and gait issues in people with Parkinson's disease. Outside of the lab, she enjoys trail runs with her Husky, Mia.

Megan McCune

Megan received a B.S. in Biology a focus in Neuroscience from Providence College and is currently working in Dr. Robert Matthew's lab. Her thesis work focuses on developing tools for prognostication and remote motoring of motor recovery following stroke. Outside of the lab, she enjoys coaching high school softball, hiking, and reading.

Alexis Camacho

Alexis earned a B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Science from CSULB. Her research interests are prosthetics and wearable technology that assist patients throughout the various phases of gait rehabilitation. Outside of work, she enjoys weightlifting, trips to the beach with her dog, and spending time with her family and friends. 

Jessica Wagner

Jessica is from San Diego and played collegiate golf at Merrimack College in Massachusetts where she received a B.S. in Sports Medicine with a minor in Biology. Shortly after, she returned to California to get her DPT from San Diego State University. After working at the VA Medical Center in San Diego as a Physical Therapist, she realized her passion lies in research rather than the clinic. Jessica is excited to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Science at UCSF to focus on expanding her knowledge of biomechanics and movement dysfunction. Outside of the career pursuit, she loves biking, baking, and being outside with her dog, Daisy.