August 23, 2016


Internal Advisory Board

Cathleen Connell, PhD

University of Michigan

cathleen_connellDr. Cathleen Connell is a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  Her graduate training is in human development and families studies with a focus on adult development and aging; her post-doctoral training from Washington University in St. Louis is in chronic illness risk reduction.  She currently serves as Associate Director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease.  Her research focuses broadly on families facing dementia, including community-based approaches to improve dementia service delivery, strategies to increase physical activity among spouse caregivers, attitudes and beliefs about dementia and diagnosis, and assessing the role of pets as a source of support and companionship.

Raymond Yung, MB, ChB

University of Michigan

Dr. Raymond Yung is a professor of Internal Medicine and a research scientist at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center. He obtained his medical school training from the University of Liverpool in England (1986). After completing an internal medicine residency at Sinai Hospital in Detroit, he received further clinical and research fellowship training in Rheumatology (1994) and Geriatric Medicine (1996) at the University of Michigan, where he has since remained a faculty member. Dr. Yung is a recipient of the NIH Individual National Research Service Award (1994-1996) and Clinical Investigator Award (1997-2002), and the American Federation for Aging Research Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Award (1998-2001). In addition, he has received the American College of Rheumatology Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award (1994). He is currently funded by the NIH in his research effort on the effects of aging on T cell chemokine function. In addition to his research endeavor, Dr. Yung is also the Director of the Musculoskeletal Sequence in the Medical School curriculum. Dr. Yung was named chief, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine and co-director, Geriatrics Center in 2011.

Vincent Groppi, PhD

University of Michigan

vincent-groppiVincent Groppi, a leader in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, has assumed the position of director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the Discovery of New Medicines.

William Dauer, MD

University of Michigan

dauer_1677The central goal of Dr. Dauer’s studies is to unravel the molecular and cellular mechanisms of diseases that disrupt the motor system. His primary focus is on Parkinson’s disease and DYT1 dystonia. For each of these projects, he focuses  efforts on disease genes that cause these disorders, employing a range of molecular, cellular, and whole animal studies to dissect the normal role of disease proteins, and how pathogenic mutations lead to disease. His team currently has many studies on novel models of Parkinson’s and dystonia both in whole animals and at the cell and molecular level. They are interested in key molecular events that drive these processes, and in understanding the mechanisms underlying the selective vulnerability of certain cell types (e.g., dopamine neurons).

Carlos Mendes de Leon, PhD

University of Michigan

mendesdeleon_carlos_150Dr. Mendes de Leon is a social epidemiologist with a primary interest in the major health problems and health disparities in late life. His work focuses on a broad array of social and psychological determinants that affect the development and progression of disability, cognitive decline and other common, age-associated health conditions. Specific areas of interest include the role of neighborhood-level social processes and environments in late-life health, and the complex interplay between life-course social conditions and biological processes and their functional consequences in older age. His current studies focus on the role of neighborhood contexts and inflammatory processes in social disparities in late-life disability and cognitive impairment. In other research, he is investigating the cumulative and interactive effects of racial background and life-course socio-economic disadvantage in subclinical disease and disability in older adults.

Christina Chan, PhD, MS

 Michigan State University

christina_chan2Dr. Chan, the George W. Bissel Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, focuses on systems biology and bioinformatics, metabolic engineering, nanoparticles and drug delivery systems, cellular and tissue engineering, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases.Her group has been studying liver and neuronal/astrocyte metabolism, signaling and function, as well as the signaling and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.

Eva Feldman, MD, PhD

Group shots and head shots of Dr. Eva Feldman and her lab staff in the BSRB on 10/2/09.Dr. Feldman’s laboratory is interested in the role of growth factors in the pathogenesis and treatment of neurologic disorders. Their research focuses on growth factor signaling mechanisms responsible for neuronal survival and differentiation. They are particularly interested in insulin-like growth I IGF-I and its receptor (IGF-IR). IGF-I and IGF-II are potent neurotrophic factors for motor and sensory neurons and glia. Dr. Feldman’s laboratory is currently investigating the role of IGF-I:IGF-IR in protecting neurons from oxidative and toxic stressors and preventing cell death in models of diabetic neuropathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease. Their in vitro model systems include primary motor, sensory and cortical neurons and transformed neuronal cell lines. Animal models include wild type and transgenic mice and zebrafish. The Feldman laboratory uses a wide range of techniques including transient and stable neuronal transfection, message knock down using siRNA, injection of morpholinos into zebrafish, protein analyses including western immunoblotting, dot blotting and ELISA, biochemistry and oxidative adduct measures including substrate analyses and enzyme activity and anatomical assays including immunohistochemistry, histochemistry and transmission electron microscopy. The laboratory currently includes clinician and basic scientists, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and technicians all of whom are actively engaged as research teams focused on a particular aspect of neurological disease.

Helen Kales, MD, PPA

University of Michigan

kales-websiteHelen Kales, MD PPA, is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program for Positive Aging at the University of Michigan. She is also Associate Director for Mental Health and Aging Research, the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center, Research Scientist, VA Center for Clinical Management Research, and Research Scientist, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.Dr. Kales is recognized as an expert in outcomes related to depression in later life as well as those associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, and in pharmacoepidemiology research related to the use of antipsychotics in the elderly. Her research program is directly informed by her clinical work and experiences with patients, families, providers and systems to diminish the barriers to effective and quality care for older patients with mental health issues.

Kirk Frey, MD

freyDr. Frey is internationally recognized for his use of brain imaging techniques to understand and diagnose cognitive and movement disorders.  He oversees multiple studies that use PET imaging to improve our ability to diagnose different forms of dementia.

James Jackson, PhD

University of Michigan

jackson_james_150James S. Jackson is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health, and director and research professor of the Institute for Social Research. He is the past chair of the social psychology training program and director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics, the Program for Research on Black Americans, and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, all at the University of Michigan.

Naftali Raz, PhD

Wayne State University

sept-2015-269Dr. Raz completed his undergraduate studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1979. He was trained in psychology and human neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin, and received his Ph.D. in 1985. Dr. Raz’s research focuses on the neural correlates and modifiers of cognitive aging. His research has been continuously supported since 1993 by the National Institute on Aging.

Community Advisory Board

Darlene K. Racz, MSW, LMSW

University of Michigan

Ms. Racz has worked in community-based adarlene-leadershipging and human services programs for more than 30 years. She is a licensed social worker whose special interests include aging and consultation on caring for an aging relative. She holds a specialist in aging certificate and a post-M.S.W. certificate in human services management, both from the University of Michigan. Ms. Racz is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers since May 1982, Advanced Social Worker in Gerontology since March 2007. She is a former member of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging Advisory Counsel. She has presented on a number of aging-related topics for the National Counseling on Aging, and is a past elected delegate to the Michigan White House Conference on Aging.

Donna McDonald, BA

Wayne State University

donnaDonna began working at the Institute of Gerontology in May of 2006. Currently she is the Director of Community Outreach and Professional Development  for the Institute. Donna provides direction for the Art of Aging Conference, Issues in Aging Conference, Speaker’s Bureau, Windows on the World of Aging, HBE learning series and the Healthier Black Elder’s Health Reception.  The Institute is now offering several continuing education opportunities that Donna is at the helm of as well.   Her primary focus is to educate the senior population in a wide variety of topics, from Alzheimer’s Research to Creative Aging Techniques and everything in between. The outreach department feels it is imperative to bring our research to the forefront and arm seniors with the necessary information for them to make informed decisions about their futures and their health care needs. Donna has the ability to interact with the aging population in a positive and respectful manner, realizing they are the key to the health and longevity of future generations.

Jennifer Howard, MSW

Alzheimer’s Association Great Lakes Chapter


Jennifer Howard has served as the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter for the past four years but has been involved with the Association for about 15 years as a volunteer and staff member. Her current responsibilities include oversight of the care and support of over 55,000 individuals in Michigan with dementia, fundraising activities for the organization and oversight of all public policy efforts in Michigan. Jennifer has worked with state legislators to introduce, pass and implement legislation to benefit those in Michigan with dementia. She has participated in and lead volunteers through two national advocacy forums in Washington D.C. for the Alzheimer’s Association. Jennifer’s education includes a BA in Psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a focus on gerontology, clinical practice and community organization from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to working for the Alzheimer’s Association, Jennifer served as a clinical social worker for Turner Geriatric Clinic at the University of Michigan. Her work there included patient assessment, family and individual counseling, family mediation, patient education, grant writing, student education and mentoring, care management and support group facilitation.

Keri Sederburg, MPA

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


Keri Sederburg is executive director for the Aging and Adult Services Agency at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.In that role, she serves as the chief advocate for more than 2 million older adults in Michigan, directing nearly $100 million in federal and state funding for aging programs and helping to shape policies that provide older adults the services they need.  Previously, she served as director of the Office of Services to the Aging, a position to which Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her in 2011.  She also has served as director of public policy for the Michigan Nonprofit Association, vice president for marketing and communications at the Gerontology Network in Grand Rapids, a senior account executive at The Rossman Group and as program officer for the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Kevin Foley, MD, FACP

Michigan State University


Dr. Foley is director of academic and clinical operations in geriatrics in the Department of Family Medicine. His primary role is to be the academic leader of geriatric medicine at MSU. He also holds a secondary appointment in the CHM Department of Medicine. His key responsibilities include developing a statewide network of fellowship programs in geriatric medicine in affiliation with existing MSU Family Medicine residency training programs; assuming directorship of one of the fellowship training programs, at Sparrow hospital; teaching geriatric medicine to residents in the colleges of Human Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine; and instructing medical students. In addition to providing clinical care at the Sparrow Geriatric Health Center, he serves as medical director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Service in the neuroscience department at Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids.Dr. Foley completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the University of Michigan. He was formerly a staff geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic.

Salli Bollin, MSW

Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter

salli_bollin_webSalli Bollin, MSW, is the Executive Director of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, serving 24 counties. As executive director, Ms. Bollin is responsible for strategic planning, program development, and public policy activities at local, state and federal levels. Ms. Bollin also is an Adjunct Instructor in Gerontology at Bowling Green State University and received a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Tamara Real

Rinne Lewy Body Initiative — University of Michigan

Tamara ReImage #: 40739167 Carl Rinne and Tamara Real in the upstairs of their home, a former church at 411 Fountain St., Ann Arbor. MLIVE.COM /Landoval spent her career in arts and culture, working for such institutions as The Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Smithsonian Institution, and Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. She launched her own arts and culture consulting company, Get Real! Communications and subsequently headed the Arts Alliance, a nonprofit designed to strengthen Washtenaw County’s creative economy.Tamara retired in 2010 to care for her beloved husband, Carl Rinne, when he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). She has since turned her passion for the arts towards helping others affected by this heartbreaking disease. She served on the board of the LBD Association for two years and initiated the Ann Arbor LBD Support Groups, which serve both LBD care partners and those with the disease. Her gift to the MADC in honor of husband Carl will create LBD awareness and support throughout Michigan.

Alan Dengiz, MD

Geriatrics Center, Clinical Assistant Professor, UMHS

dengizA geriatrician in the Geriatrics Center, Dr. Dengiz has long been interested in dementing disorders.  He has participated in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and enjoys lecturing to health care professionals and the lay public on age-related diseases affecting the brain.

MADC Consultants

David Burke, PhD

Clinical Core Consultant — University of Michigan

david-burkeDavid Burke, PhD, is a Professor of Human Genetics and a Clinical Core Consultant for the MADC. His research interests include the development of low cost, single nucleotide variant DNA and RNA testing methods which are employed by the MADC in genetic risk factor assessment. The robust methods are currently used in the laboratory to perform over ten thousand human, mouse, viral and bacterial SNP genotypes per year.
Gulin Oz, PhD

Clinical Core Consultant — University of Minnesota

gulinDr. Gülin Öz is an associate professor in the Department of Radiology who specializes in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Dr. Oz graduated from Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey with BS degrees in Physics and Chemistry and obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota. She continued with postdoctoral training at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) where she joined the faculty as assistant professor in 2006. Here she also served as the MR Core Director of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) from 2005-2009.

Charles Burant, MD, PhD

Clinical Core Consultant — University of Michigan

photoburant2013Dr. Burant directs a research program that integrates molecular phenotyping (including metabolomics) with dietary, clinical and behavioral phenotypes to understand the development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes. He has a specific interest in intermediary metabolism and he has integrated metabolomics with other technologies to gain a more complete understanding of cellular metabolism. Dr. Burant directs the Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (U24), which is one of six NIH-funded metabolomics centers. At the MADC, he provides advice on the use of metabolomics profiling to gain insights into the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases and the potential relationship to metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and other metabolic states.

Irving Vega, PhD

Research Education Core Consultant — Michigan State University

imgresIrving E. Vega obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus, where he was a NIH-Minority Access for Research Careers (MARC) Fellow. Then, he continued his research training in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the Graduate School of New Brunswick, Rutgers University, earning his PhD. Dr. Vega proceeded to a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neuroscience Department at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, where he developed his research career focusing on the identification of proteome changes associated with the accumulation of pathological tau proteins in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. As graduate student and postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Vega was supported by different fellowships including NIH-NRSA F31 and F32. In 2005, Dr. Vega established a research team as faculty member in the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus. In 2014, Dr. Vega transferred his research program to the Department of Translational Science and Molecular Medicine at Michigan State University. In addition to mentor graduate students that successfully completed their PhD, Dr. Vega also has dedicated his career to develop training programs for undergraduate students in order to increase diversity in the field of neuroscience. His dedication and commitment to mentor the next generation of researchers, especially those from underrepresented ethnic groups in science, is based on his own experiences and serve as the basis for a productive research career.

Neil Alexander, MD, MS

Research Education Core Consultant — University of Michigan


Dr. Alexander graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis and received a clinical research design and biostatistics master’s degree from University of Michigan. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of New Mexico Affiliated Hospitals and a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Michigan. He is a past research fellow at the University of Michigan Institute of Gerontology. Dr. Alexander is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. He has a special interest in exercise, mobility, falls and rehabilitation in older adults. He is the Director of the VA Ann Arbor Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center.

Jenna Wiens, PhD

Data Management and Statistical Core Consultant — University of Michigan

wiensDr. Wiens is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science Engineering (CSE) at the University of Michigan. She currently heads the MLD3 research group. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning and healthcare. The overarching goal of her research agenda is to develop the computational methods needed to help organize, process, and transform data into actionable knowledge.