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Rachel Vassar


Pediatric vascular neurologist
Clinician, researcher and adventurer

Rachel Vassar is a pediatric neurologist specializing in cerebrovascular conditions (disorders that affect blood flow to the brain). She is passionate about patient care and research on acute brain injury after ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke (strokes caused by blocked or ruptured arteries, respectively) as well as after cardiac arrest. She is also interested in genetic conditions associated with abnormal changes to the brain's blood vessels.

Vassar's research focuses on predicting patient outcomes after acute brain injury by linking findings from neuroimaging (using techniques such as MRI to produce images of the brain) with various disease factors. She is UCSF's principal investigator for P-ICECAP, a multicenter trial funded by the National Institutes of Health on therapeutic hypothermia (lowering body temperature to protect the brain) after cardiac arrest in pediatric patients. She works with neuroradiologists (specialists in imaging the nervous system), neurointerventionalists (specialists in minimally invasive treatments for blood vessel abnormalities in the brain) and geneticists, as well as other pediatric neurologists, to better understand what causes hemorrhagic stroke in fetuses, newborns, children and young adults.

Vassar earned her medical degree at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. She completed a residency in child neurology and a fellowship in vascular neurology at UCSF.

Vassar is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, International Pediatric Stroke Organization and American Heart Association. She received a Gold Award at the UCSF-Stanford Pediatric Device Consortium as well as a Young Investigator Award from the San Francisco Neurological Society.

  • Education

    Boston University, MD, 2017

  • Residencies

    UCSF, Child Neurology, 2022

  • Fellowships

    UCSF, Vascular Neurology, 2023

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to better understand and treat children with neurological conditions – and now I have my dream job!

Where I see patients (2)

    Selected research

    Tender wagging care

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