Announcing our 2022-2024 REC Junior Investigator Mentees

Left to right: Katherine Kero, Tongtong Li, Alexandru Iordan, Kelly DuBois.

We are pleased to offer a mentoring program for junior investigators. The program aims to provide junior investigators entering the field of dementia research with a broad education about contemporary dementia research and provide junior investigators with mentoring by experienced investigators in developing competitive grant applications.

Our 2022-2024 junior investigator mentees include:

Kelly DuBois, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Dr. Kelly DuBois joined the MSU Department of Translational Neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow in the summer of 2021. She graduated with a B.S. in Biotechnology from Calvin University, after which she completed a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at the University of California, San Francisco. She then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Pathology at Cambridge University in the UK, where she studied molecular parasitology. Her current research aims include development of blood-based assays for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.  

Alexandru Iordan, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Dr. Alexandru Iordan completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Michigan in 2016 as a Postdoctoral Fellow and is currently an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Iordan’s research aims to clarify the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive plasticity in healthy and pathological aging by combining multimodal imaging with training and neuromodulation. His interests converge toward developing and applying non-pharmacological treatments with measurable neurobiological outcomes for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Katherine Kero, Ph.D., R.N., Wayne State University

Katherine Kero, Ph.D., R.N. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. Voyko Kavcic’s ELECTRA Study at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology.  In her postdoctoral research role, she has partnered with experts from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to examine the physical, psychological and social determinants of cognitive health and behavior with a focus on functional abilities and quality of life outcomes. Dr. Kero’s research interests include health promotion, disease prevention, and health equity for older adults and caregivers. As a REC Mentee, she will investigate a translational research project to evaluate the effects of a cognitive exercise program on cognitive performance measured by EEG and behavioral assessments. 

Tongtong Li, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Tongtong Li received her Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2000 from Auburn University, and her Ph.D. degree in Math in 1995 from Sun Yat-Sen University. From 2000 to 2002, she was with Bell Labs, and had been working on the design and implementation of 3G and 4G systems. Since 2002, she has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University, where she is now a Professor. Professor Li’s research interests fall into the areas of wireless and wired communications, wireless security, information theory and statistical signal processing, and brain network analysis using communication theory, with applications to Alzheimer’s disease and related research. She has been working on the modeling and analysis of brain information processing capacity, input storage capacity, neuronal activity, functional connectivity, causality, stability, and the impact of age and cognitive impairment on brain network functions and performances. In particular, by using tools in communication theory, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, she has been working on non-invasive biomarker development for the early diagnosis and prediction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and effect analysis of different interventions on dementia.

Pilar Rivero-Rios, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Pilar Rivero-Rios, Ph.D., earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Granada, Spain. As a graduate student, she investigated how pathogenic mutations in LRRK2, the main genetic determinant of Parkinson’s disease, alter intracellular vesicular trafficking. As a postdoctoral researcher in the U-M Life Sciences Institute, Dr. Rivero-Rios is investigating how altered vesicular trafficking in neurons leads to synaptic loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

Xin Wang, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Michigan

Xin Wang, Ph.D. M.P.H., is a Research Investigator in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  Dr. Wang received his M.P.H. and Ph.D. in Epidemiologic Science from the University of Michigan.  His research interests broadly relate to combining epidemiological methodology with the development and application of novel data-driven approaches to systematically evaluate various environmental factors with aging-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cardiometabolic disorders.  His work also applies advanced statistical and machine learning approaches to build risk prediction modeling of aging-related diseases and their related mortality.  He works with several ongoing cohort studies, including the Study of the Environment and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (SEAD), the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Normative Aging Study (NAS), and the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS).

We are excited to support these junior investigators in their career development, and see the positive impact they make on the dementia research field.