MADCC Announces 2018 Junior Investigator Mentees

It is with great pleasure that we announce our new Junior Investigator mentees joining the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (MADCC):

DeAnnah Byrd, PhD, Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology;

Julia E. Gerson, PhD, University of Michigan Department of Neurology;

Lenette Jones, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, University of Michigan School of Nursing;

Rohit Marawar, MD, Wayne State University – Detroit Medical Center;

Sheria G. Robinson-Lane, PhD, RN, University of Michigan School of Nursing.

This is the second class of Junior Investigator mentees joining our mentorship program. They join our first class of mentees: Hwajung Choi, PhD, University of Michigan; Ben Combs, PhD, Michigan State University; Jessica Damoiseaux, PhD, Wayne State University; Wassim Tarraf, PhD, Wayne State University; and Jiayu Zhou, PhD, Michigan State University.

The MADCC Research & Education Component (REC) Core, led by Drs. Roger Albin and Peter Lichtenberg, is dedicated to training and mentoring junior investigators entering the field of dementia research. This mentorship program provides a broad education about contemporary dementia research, and gives junior investigators the opportunity to receive guidance from experienced investigators in developing competitive grant applications to extend research activities around dementia.

Each mentee completes an online curriculum focused on contemporary dementia research and works with an individually tailored mentoring committee of experienced investigators to assist in the preparation of competitive grant applications. Mentees are also encouraged to participate in the Career Development Workshop sponsored by the MADCC and the University of Michigan Pepper Center, attend bimonthly MADCC Clinical Pathological Correlation Conferences, and present at the MADCC’s annual Research Symposium.

New Junior Investigator mentees:

DeAnnah Byrd, PhD is a postdoctoral to faculty transition scholar at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. Her research focuses on understanding racial disparities in cognitive health outcomes over the adult life course. In particular, Dr. Byrd examines trajectories of cognitive functioning among black and white adults in the United States who are as young as 25, with the goal of teasing apart the psychosocial factors that contribute to these disparities, as well as identifying the optimal time in the life course to intervene. Dr. Byrd received her BS in Biology and MS in Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, before participating in a Population Health fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Dr. Byrd completed her PhD in Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Julia E. Gerson, PhD is a post-doctoral fellow in the Paulson Laboratory, located within the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on defining the role of a key quality control protein, UBQLN2, in the age-related neurodegenerative disorders known as synucleinopathies and tauopathies. Dr. Gerson’s work investigates how UBQLN2 interacts with tau and α-synuclein to regulate their levels in disease using cell culture and novel animal models. These studies are expected to yield new insights into the role of UBQLN2 in common age-related neurodegenerative diseases that will suggest routes to therapeutic intervention. Dr. Gerson received her BS in Psychology and Biology from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ and her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.


Lenette M. Jones, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Dr. Jones’ research is focused on uncovering the mechanisms – biological, psychological, social, and physical – of self-management interventions. She uses neuroimaging (fMRI) to explore the neuroprocesses associated with self-management behaviors, such as diet, exercise, and medication-taking. She also examines how health information behavior (seeking, sharing, and use) can be enhanced to support blood pressure self-management. In her current studies, Dr. Jones is designing and pilot-testing interventions to improve self-management of blood pressure among African American women. Dr. Jones received her BS, MS, and PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.


Rohit Marawar, MD is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Wayne State University. Dr. Marawar’s expertise and training is in the field of epilepsy. Recently, he transitioned his focus into hyperexcitable brain networks in cognitively normal and abnormal elderly – including those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dr. Marawar contributed to the development of the Geriatric Epilepsy Clinic at Wayne State University-Detroit Medical Center, and long-term, hopes to play a leading role in the field of geriatric epilepsy and neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Marawar obtained a Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery from the Government Medical College and Hospital Nagpur in Maharashtra, India. Dr. Marawar’s postgraduate training includes Neurology residency at Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY and a Clinical Neurophysiology / Epilepsy fellowship from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Sheria G. Robinson-Lane, PhD, RN is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Dr. Robinson-Lane has focused her career on the care and support of older adults with cognitive and/or functional disabilities. She is interested in the ways that older adults adapt to changes in health, and particularly how adaptive coping strategies affect health outcomes. Her research is focused on reducing health disparities for minority older adults with cognitive impairments and their caregivers. Dr. Robinson-Lane received her BSN from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, WI, her MSN / MHA from the University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, and her PhD from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Dr. Robinson-Lane conducted her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.


Please join us in welcoming these scholars to the MADCC!