Learn more about the staff of M.D. Laser Studio.


Alissandro "Andy" Castillo, MD, MBA

Medical Director

Dr. Andy Castillo is the owner and Medical Director of M.D. Laser Studio. He is a family physician with extensive dermatological and surgical training. His education includes a BS degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland, an MD degree from Wake Forest University, and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Dr. Castillo completed an internship in general surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center while serving in the United States Army as a flight surgeon and in various other capacities. During that time he also successfully completed a plastic and reconstructive surgery research fellowship at prestigious Johns Hopkins. Following his military service, he finished a three-year residency in family medicine and established a successful private practice in Mooresville, NC. Dr. Castillo opened M.D. Laser Studio in 2001 as an adjunct to his family practice, but he quickly grew the business and helped it evolve to a singular entity.

A Fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Dr. Castillo has participated in the Constitution & Bylaws Committee, Audit Committee, and Strategic Planning Committee. With his extensive expertise on such a wide variety of equipment, he is often called upon to train others in laser procedures. He has served as a Luminary for Laserscope/Iridex,  has trained and spoken on behalf of Medicis, the provider of Restylane, Perlane, and Dysport, and is a Platinum Plus-Level Provider of Botox and the Juvederm family of products for Allergan.

Dr. Castillo and his wife, Dr. Rebecca Appleton, are raising six children in the Lake Norman area, approximately 30 miles north of Charlotte, NC. In addition to M.D. Laser Studio, he and his wife own three Passport Health locations, where he also serves as Medical Director. They also operate M.D. Hair Restorations, and are both Members of the International Society For Hair Restoration Surgery.

What's Dr. Andy's favorite product?

Andy thinks protecting your skin with Obagi Sunshield is a must.


Rebecca Appleton, M.D., M.S.

Rebecca Appleton, MD, MS


Dr. Appleton is the wife of Dr. Castillo, is a board-certified physician and a Fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. She is a graduate of Duke University, having earned a BS in Zoology. Dr. Appleton also holds a Master’s Degree in exercise physiology/cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Maryland. She managed the corporate fitness center at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, while completing her degree at the University of Maryland Medical School. Dr. Appleton then completed a three-year residency in family medicine in Charleston, South Carolina. Afterward, Dr. Appleton and Dr. Castillo established their family practice, Carolina Family Medicine & Wellness, then opened M.D. Laser Studio in 2001, and M.D. Healthcare in 2013. She and her entire family are all actively involved in their community.

What's Dr. Becky's favorite product?

Becky says, "the Capillus Cap has helped my hair grow thicker -- it's amazing technology!"



Heather Penley, RN

Laser Nurse Specialist

A true North Carolina girl, Heather was born and raised in Salisbury. She got her B.A degree in Communications/Public Relations from University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Heather worked at M.D. Laser Studio early on as a Treatment Coordinator, and went on to earn her nursing degree. After working for over eight years as a Registered Nurse, Heather has come back! We're glad to have Heather and her cheerful, positive attitude at the Laser Studio, not to mention her skill and experience!

What's Heather's favorite procedure?

"CoolSculpting has helped my clothes fit better!"


Vicki Schiefen, R.N.

Vicki Schiefen, RN

Laser Nurse Specialist

Before moving to North Carolina in 1999, Vicki earned her nursing degree from Corning in New York and then contributed to clinical research trials at Sayer Clinic in Guthrie, Pennsylvania for several years. Vicki and her husband have four grown children who also live in the Lake Norman area, making the Schiefen name fairly well-known! Vicki has over 20 years of nursing experience and has been with M.D. Laser Studio since the very start. In addition to being a founding member of the MDLS staff, Vicki continues to participate in all levels of skin rejuvenation research and on-going training with Dr. Castillo. Vicki is a Member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.


Sarah Stein

Treatment Coordinator

Sarah was born and raised in Connecticut, but has lived all along the East Coast, including in South America! Not surprisingly, Sarah speaks fluent Spanish. She was among the first to graduate Lake Norman High School, and went on to earn a degree from UNC in Charlotte. Sarah has been with M.D. Laser Studio in various capacities since August 2005. Always a smiling face, Sarah is a key member of the team at M.D. Laser Studio.

What's Sarah's favorite procedure?

Sarah's favorite treatment is Laser Hair Reduction. "I love not having to worry about shaving!"

What's Sarah's favorite product?

Sarah says, "Lumiere is the best eye cream I've ever used."


Tanya Varian

Tanya Varian, CNA

Certified Nursing Assistant & Treatment Coordinator

After many years keeping other medical offices running smoothly, Tanya joined M.D. Laser Studio in 2012. She not only keeps the office organized, she's responsible for decorating the facility, both inside and out! Tanya and her husband love living in the Lake Norman area. Like all our staff, she is also helping test skin care products and procedures at the Laser Studio. Tanya recently completed her training and earned the designation of Certified Nursing Assistant. 


Lindsey Miller

Treatment & Operations Coordinator

Lindsey joined the M.D. Laser Studio staff in 2006 as a Treatment Coordinator and soon became an invaluable member of the staff. A born organizer, Lindsey helps keep things running smoothly at the Laser Studio. Miss Miller earned her Teaching Degree from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Like all of the staff at M.D. Laser Studio, Lindsey is continuing to broaden her education and knowledge base.

What's Lindsey's favorite procedure?

Lindsey's favorite procedure is Laser Hair Reduction. "I never have to worry about shaving!" she says.

What's Lindsey's favorite product?

Lindsey's lashes went from fine to fabulous with Latisse.


Alarie Stone

Alarie Stone

Medical Assistant & Treatment Coordinator

Alarie has worked in the medical field for over 12 years, many of those faithfully with Dr. Castillo and Dr. Appleton. A native southerner, Alarie graduated from Mitchell Community College with a degree in Medical Assisting. She and her husband Cris are raising their two sons, Peyton and William, in the Lake Norman area. Alarie enjoys singing, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and spending time outdoors. Like the rest of the staff, she is actively participating in product testing and training at the Laser Studio. We are very pleased to have this lovely lady on the M.D. Laser Studio team!

What's Alarie's favorite product?

Alarie loves how Latisse makes her natural lashes look luxurious!


Rita Aldridge

Rita Aldridge

Marketing Director

Rita has been with M.D. Laser Studio almost since the beginning, helping to establish the image of the business to reflect its unique location along with the personalities of Dr. Castillo and his staff. She handles all the media, writes and designs the ad campaigns, and hosts events at the Laser Studio. Rita graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a degree in Commercial Graphic Design, and has worked in advertising and marketing ever since. Through her involvement in WeWrite, Rita is also a published author and editor. Born on the West Coast and raised in the Midwest, she settlled in the East Coast over 20 years ago, where she is now raising her two beautiful daughters.


Starr Kiser

Public Relations Liaison

Starr Kiser grew up in a small town in Ohio where she began modeling and acting at the age of twelve. While attending college, she hosted an Emmy Award winning children’s program, “Zoo Today,” which fueled her success in the industry. For nearly a decade she worked in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, and Europe before moving to North Carolina and signing with Directions USA. She now enjoys working locally on numerous commercials, movies, and print projects. Along with modeling and acting, Starr is the Public Relations Liaison for M.D. Laser Studio. She works closely with Medical Director Dr. Andy Castillo and gains great pleasure from seeing people emerge from treatment feeling as beautiful on the outside as they are inside. 

What's Starr's favorite procedure?

Starr loves the High-Def Co2. "It's one of the only things that helps my melasma!"


John Mairs

John Mairs

IT Specialist & Web Administrator

John joined M.D. Laser Studio in 2006 providing technial support on location. Very soon he was helping manage our website, eventually taking over hosting and web administration in addition to managing all computer hardware and software. At a very early age, John discovered his passion for technlogy and has been on a path to a career in that industry ever since. John was one of the early participants in the Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership, a five-year early college high school program. He began working with MDLS as a freshman, and the following year started teaching video production classes to gifted students at Iredell-Statesville Schools summer camps. Within a few years, he was offering computer services through JMTech and added Passport Health to his list of employers. Several years after that, John became the Technology Director at American Renaissance School. He continues to work with us while juggling his other responsibilities and attending Western Governor's University.

What's John's favorite procedure?

John's favorite procedure is ThermiDry. "This is definitely the best treatment for hyperhydrosis!"