Dr. McDonald completed her MD/PhD at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in the Department of Neurosciences with thesis work in neuroimmunology and neural plasticity of the neuromuscular junction and spinal cord. She then went on to pursue residency training in Diagnostic Radiology and a Fellowship in Neuroradiology at UCSD, joining faculty in 2018 where she was an Associate Professor with a clinical sub-specialization in skull base and spinal imaging. At UCSD, Dr. McDonald was the sole line-service imaging provider for both the Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Spine Services and provided imaging support for multiple multidisciplinary conferences throughout UCSD including neoplastic diseases of the spine as well as degenerative and congenital spinal deformities. She is a nationally recognized educator and lecturer on topics ranging from degenerative disc disease, atypical spinal pain generators as well as neoplastic and nonneoplastic spinal cord abnormalities. Dr. McDonald has extensive experience in imaging operations and MRI protocol optimization, serving as the Director of MRI at UCSD and Co-Director of the Canon Medical Imaging Initiative at UCSD. She maintains adjunct clinical and scientific appointments at UCSD, with a research focus on spinal pain generators and spinal CSF leaks.