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The SAFER team consists of highly specialized researchers looking to help individuals with visual impairment perform daily activities with ease, and live safely at home for as long as they choose to.

  • Pradeep Ramulu, M.D., Ph.D. - Principal Investigator

    Dr Ramulu grew up in suburban Chicago as the son of two immigrant doctors. After obtaining his medical degree and completing PhD studies in molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins, he pursued a residency in ophthalmology, and discovered that his real passion and intuition was understanding and preventing the impact that eye diseases have on individuals. This passion led him to propose the SAFER study, so that older adults, especially those with poor vision, can live safely and functionally within the home of their choice. In his free time, Dr. Ramulu enjoys hiking, exercising, vegan dining, and exploring the deeper realities of life.

    Pradeep Ramulu
  • Aleksandra (Aleks) Mihailovic, Sc.M. - Sr. Biostatistician

    Aleks Mihailovic is originally from Croatia, and is a long time resident of the United States. She has been with the Glaucoma Research Division at Wilmer for the past seven years, working with Dr. Ramulu and other glaucoma faculty on many studies. Her primary research interest is finding ways to help older adults with visual impairment live safely and independently at their homes for as long as they choose to. When she is not doing research, she likes to work in her garden, bike around Baltimore and spend time with her family and friends.

    Aleksandra Mihailovic
  • Rhonda Miller, M.S. - Sr. Research Coordinator II

    Rhonda Miller's primary interest is in helping aging adults with physical disabilities and/or visual impairment improve safety during activities of daily living. In her free time, she practices hunter/jumper horseback riding, hikes throughout Maryland, and spends time with her family, friends and pets.

    Rhonda Miller
  • Xiangrong Kong, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

    Dr. Kong received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and has training in social and behavioral sciences for promoting health seeking behaviors. She has over ten years of experience in epidemiology and public health studies in both domestic and international settings. In addition to serving as senior biostatistician, she is developing clinical trial expertise and directs the coordinating centers for two multicenter international studies on retinal diseases. For the SAFER study, Dr. Kong serves as senior biostatistician and contributes to study design, program development, data analysis and results dissemination.

    Xiangrong Kong
  • José Gustavo Vargas, M.D. - Research Assistant

    José Gustavo Vargas is a recent MD graduate from the University of Puerto Rico, looking forward to a future ophthalmology residency and his role as part of the SAFER team. His primary research interest is glaucoma and quality of life improvements in patients suffering from ocular conditions. In his spare time, he likes to read, exercise, paint miniature figurines and spend time with family and friends.

    José Gustavo Vargas
  • Tejasvi Kakani, B.S. - Research Assistant

    Tejasvi Kakani recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology. She is looking to matriculate into medical school in the near future. Some of Tejasvi's hobbies include dancing, playing tennis and reading.

    Tejasvi Kakani
  • Ala Lutsenko, M.D. - Sr. Research Coordinator

    Ala Lutsenko is a medical doctor from Belarus. When she moved to United States, she decided to continue helping patients through research. As a part of the SAFER team, she applies her knowledge and experience to assist participants and obtain a better understanding of how the home environment affects a person’s fall risk and functionality at home. She likes to spend her spare time creating jewelry, taking pictures of cars and hiking at the Great Falls Park.

    Ala Lutsenko
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