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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Susan Maixner, MD

Susan Maixner, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and directs both the Geriatric Psychiatry Program and the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program.  Dr. Maixner’s interests include geriatric mental health issues, geriatric dual diagnosis, dementia, and behavioral disturbances in dementia.  She graduated from medical school from the University of Nebraska in 1993.  Dr. Maixner works closely with the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center in research and on Rinne LBD Initiative activities.

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.

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.

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.

MADC Consultants

David Burke, PhD

Clinical Core Consultant — University of Michigan

David 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

Dr. 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

Dr. 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

Irving 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

Dr. 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.

Robert Koeppe, PhD

Data Management and Statistical Core Consultant - University of Michigan

Dr. Koeppe is a Professor of Radiology at the University of Michigan and the Director of the PET Physics Section of the Division of Nuclear Medicine. His research interests center around the quantitative aspects of positron emission tomography (PET). Specific research areas include the development and implementation of tracer kinetic models for new and existing positron labeled radiotracers, development of optimal techniques for estimation of physiological quantities, and development and implementation of automated image analysis routines for use with PET. Another specific area of research is the use of PET cerebral blood flow activation studies to examine various cognitive and neurological functions of the brain. Other research interests include the correlation and comparison of information obtained from PET studies to that obtained from corresponding anatomic imaging procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging.

Peter Todd, MD, PhD

Neuropathology Core Consultant - University of Michigan

An Assistant Professor of Neurology and the Bucky and Patti Harris Collegiate Professor in Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Michigan, Dr. Todd explores the molecular mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases with a particular interest in repeat expansion diseases such as the recently discovered C9ORF72 expansion underlying frontotemporal dementia. Dr. Todd is also a staff neurologist at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. He has worked in the field of Fragile X research for almost 20 years.

Peter Lichtenberg, PhD

Outreach and Recruitment Core Consultant - Wayne State University

Dr. Lichtenberg is the Research Education Component Core Co-Leader of the MADC, the director of the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, and Co-Director of the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). He is an expert in Geriatric Psychology and a national leader in addressing health disparities in elderly minority populations. In his role at Wayne State University, Dr. Lichtenberg has founded the IOG pre-doctoral training program in aging and urban health, was the Principle Investigator on a National Institute of Aging training grant from 2001-2012, and has helped train nearly fifty doctoral students in an intensive aging research program. As the MADC Clinical Core Co-Leader, Peter has been instrumental in the MADC’s success with recruiting underrepresented minorities in Detroit.