August 23, 2016

Faculty & Investigators

Roger Albin, MD

Roger AlbinAssociated with the MADC as the Research Education Component Core Leader, Dr. Albin is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He held the title of Brain Bank Director at the University of Michigan from 1998 through January of 2016. In addition to caring for patients with cognitive disorders, he studies basic disease mechanisms and participates in human imaging studies seeking to improve our diagnosis of dementing disorders. He also performs research on brain chemical factors that influence the production of beta-amyloid, a key disease protein in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Albin is passionate about advancing disease knowledge so that we can treat patients better. He attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Neurology training at the University of Michigan.

Neil Alexander, MD, MS

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.

Sami Barmada, MD, PhD

Dr. Barmada currently serves as Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He was recruited from UCSF to the University of Michigan in 2013. Dr. Barmada divides his time between the laboratory, Cognitive Disorders Program, and the classroom. In his investigations of molecular mechanisms in FTD including TDP43 proteinopathies, Dr. Barmada employs automated microscopy. He treats patients in the Cognitive Disorders Program, with an emphasis on individuals with dementia and motor neuron disease. Dr. Barmada is also an Assistant Professor of Neurology.

Andrea Bozoki, MD

andreabozokiDr. Andrea Bozoki is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Department of Radiology at Michigan State University. The focus of her individual scholarship has been the exploration of cognitive function during the transition between healthy aging and early dementia. In particular, she is interested in the structure-function relationships underlying the evolution of de novo Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as understanding what factors can prevent or allay cognitive decline during aging. Her work has utilized primarily neuropsychometric testing along with functional and structural MR imaging. More recently, she has included amyloid and FDG-PET data to examine the relative advantages of using a broader multi-modal imaging approach to biomarker development.

Charles Burant, MD, PhD

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.

David Burke, PhD

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.

Sandra Camelo-Piragua, MD

Dr. Camelo-Piragua is a Clinical Assistant professor in the Neuropathology Division at the University of Michigan. She received her M.D. from the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, and did her post-doctoral research fellowship at the Center for Neurologic Disease, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, where she was involved in the study of molecular signature of multiple sclerosis and analyzing the effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors on murine models of multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She received further training in Neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, from 2008-2010. In addition to her clinical and research interests, Dr. Camelo-Piragua enjoys teaching of neuroanatomy and neuropathology to medical students, residents and fellows. Dr. Camelo-Piragua is interested in developing information technology tools that help brings the teaching of neuropathology to a broader audience. Dr. Camelo-Piragua is member of American Association of Neuropathologists, European Confederation of Neuropathological Societies, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, the College of American Pathologists and is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and in Neuropathology.

Scott Counts, PhD

scott-countsDr. Counts is an Associate Professor of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine at Michigan State University. The goal of his research is to understand the molecular pathogenic mechanisms of selective neuronal vulnerability in the preclinical and prodromal stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). His pre-doctoral training with Dr. Allan Levey at Emory emphasized the importance of combining carefully controlled human tissue research with cellular and molecular modeling to reveal potential pathways underlying AD progression. He is the MSU liaison for the UM ADC Neuropathology Core and Brain Bank. His duties include generating awareness and providing training to MSU investigators in the procurement and use of postmortem tissue and bio-specimens from UM for dementia research. He also serves as the MSU representative to the Brain Bank Tissue Request Committee.

Hiroko Dodge, PhD

hiroko4Dr. Dodge is the Milton and Carolyn Kevreson Research Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. She is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). She serves as a statistical editor for Alzheimer’s & Dementia (the official journal of the Alzheimer’s Association) and a senior associate editor for Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Advancements, a sister journal of Alzheimer’s & Dementia. She also serves on the statistical editorial board for International Psychogeriatrics. Dr. Dodge joined the MADC as the Data Core Leader in 2010. She has been successfully directing two Alzheimer’s Disease Centers’ Biostatistics and Data Cores: the Michigan ADC and the NIA-funded Layton Aging ADC at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon. These dual positions allow her to facilitate collaborations between the two centers. Dr. Dodge’s research interests are diverse and include a) distinguishing normal cognitive aging from pathological cognitive decline, b) testing whether stimulation through social interactions can improve cognitive functions, c) clinical trial methods, and d) examining lifestyle and environmental factors that lead to healthy cognitive aging. A native of Japan, she has a longitudinal cohort in Okinawa, Japan and collaborates with the Okinawa Centenarian Study group.

For more information about Hiroko, visit her webpage here.

Bruno Giordani, PhD

giordaniDr. Giordani is a Chief of Psychology, and a tenured Professor in the Psychiatry, Neurology, and Psychology Departments as well as the School of Nursing. He is a University Faculty Ombuds at the University of Michigan. Associated with the MADC for over 25 years, Dr. Giordani has a longstanding history of connecting with the community to promote a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. He has served on the Executive Board of the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter (MGLC) since 2007 and has been both its Board Chair and National Representative, as well as a Steering Committee being a member of the national Association’s Assembly Steering Committee. His research initiatives focus on a cross-cultural perspective on the early assessment of cognitive and behavioral changes associated with medical illness and the interaction of cognition and mobility across the life-span. Dr. Giordani completed his MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Virginia and received his postdoctoral training in Clinical and Research Neuropsychology at the University of Michigan.

Yuangfang Guan, PhD

yuanfang_guanDr. Guan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD training in functional genomics at Princeton University followed by a brief postdoctoral fellowship, also at Princeton. In 2011, she joined the University of Michigan where her research as an independent investigator focused on developing generic, first-principle computational solutions to large-scale biomedical data. She has created seven best-performing algorithms in the past three years, breaking the record of DREAM’s (Dialogue of Reverse Engineering and Methods) 10 years of history. She has best-performing algorithms in areas such as population genetics, DNA variation, transcriptome data, proteomic data, medical imaging, biochemical structures, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and most notably, Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive impairment.

Mark Haacke, PhD

markDr. Haacke is an original pioneer of MR angiographic imaging, fast imaging and cardiovascular imaging, and more recently has developed a powerful new method for imaging veins, micro-hemorrhaging and iron called Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI). His research has focused on studying the role of magnetic field variations in the human body and applying the results to clinical translational research. SWI may in fact become an important biomarker not just for different forms of iron but in investigating the etiology of a number of key diseases such as aging, multiple sclerosis, stroke and trauma. More recently his work has focused on extending SWI to quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) as a means to map iron and oxygen saturation.

Benjamin Hampstead, PhD, ABPP/CN


Dr. Hampstead joined the U-M faculty in September 2014 as an Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Staff Neuropsychologist in the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System. He is the Clinical Core Leader at the MADC. Dr. Hampstead is an expert in functional imaging and nonpharmacological approaches to enhance age-related memory function (e.g., cognitive rehabilitation and direct brain stimulation). Through his appointment in the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System, he is well-positioned to ensure that our older veterans have access to cutting-edge research and clinical procedures.

Judy Heidebrink, MD, MS

judy_heidebrink-e1366663002363Dr. Heidebrink is a Richard D. and Katherine M. O’Connor Research Professor and has been affiliated with the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center since 1995, when she began her fellowship training in Geriatric Neurology. She is also the Director of the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at the University of Michigan. Her clinical and research interests focus on improving the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Dr. Heidebrink leads the University of Michigan’s participation in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). This landmark study uses brain imaging and other biomarkers to evaluate the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. ADNI data support the belief that brain changes occur many years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease emerge. ADNI techniques will soon be used to identify persons with very early Alzheimer’s pathology, in order to study therapies that might halt the disease even before symptoms appear. Judy attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern and received her Neurology training at the University of Michigan.

Joan Ilardo, PhD

joanDr. Ilardo is the Director of the Research Initiatives at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s Office of Research and the Co-Director of the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan. As the Executive Director of the Michigan Aging Education Collaborative she interacts with all the major players in the aging network throughout Michigan on a regular basis. She currently has a leadership role in several statewide initiatives related to sustaining and scaling up evidenced-based educational programs in self-management (Stanford CDSMP model), caregiver training (dementia), and advance care planning. As a member of the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging, she serves on a 15-member commission that oversees Michigan’s implementation of the Older Americans Act through the state aging unit (Michigan Aging and Adult Services Agency) and has access to government officials and legislators involved in aging policy and services in Michigan.

Robert Koeppe, PhD

rad_koeppe_bobDr. 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.

Kenneth Langa, MD, PhD

Dr. Langa is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Institute for Social Research, a Research Scientist in the Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research, and an Associate Director of the Institute of Gerontology, all at the University of Michigan. He is also Associate Director of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a National Institute on Aging funded longitudinal study of 25,000 adults in the United States.

Dr. Langa received an MD and PhD in Public Policy at the University of Chicago as a Fellow in the Pew Program for Medicine, Arts, and the Social Sciences. He is a board-certified General Internist with an active clinical practice treating adult patients, and he is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Dr. Langa’s research focuses on the epidemiology and costs of chronic disease in older adults, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. He has published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. He is currently studying population trends in dementia prevalence, and the relationship of common cardiovascular risk factors, as well as acute illnesses such as sepsis and stroke, to cognitive decline and dementia. In 2007 and 2015, Dr. Langa was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, and in 2015 he was also a Visiting Professor at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he continued work on cross-national comparisons of the epidemiology and outcomes of dementia in the United States, England, and other countries around the world.

Peter Lichtenberg, PhD

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.

Andrew Lieberman, MD, PhD

andy_liebermanDr. Lieberman is MADC Neuropathology Core Leader, Abrams Collegiate Professor of Pathology, and Director of Neuropathology at the University of Michigan. He is internationally known for his research on the mechanism of inherited degenerative brain disorders. He is passionate about understanding how brain cells “handle” the abnormal proteins that accumulate in so many brain diseases including the dementias, so that we can design rational approaches to therapy. Dr. Lieberman received his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Maryland Medical School, and completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship training in Neuropathology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gulin Oz, PhD

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.

Henry Paulson, MD, PhD

henry_paulsonDr. Paulson directs the MADC, working closely with MADC staff to define and implement the diverse initiatives through which we fulfill our three-part mission. Dr. Paulson is also a Lucile Groff Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He joined the Center as Associate Director in 2009 and assumed Directorship in 2011. He has worked for more than 20 years on degenerative brain diseases, both inherited and acquired. As a neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Paulson is deeply committed to translating findings from the research bench to the patient bedside. Toward that goal, he is focused on building connections between scientists, clinicians and the public, not only across the U-M campus but also across the state of Michigan. He received his MD and PhD degrees from Yale University School of Medicine and his Neurology training at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scott Roberts, PhD

scott_robertsScott Roberts, PhD, is a Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the U-M School of Public Health, where he directs its certificate program in Public Health Genetics and co-directs a dual master’s degree program in Public Health and Genetic Counseling. Dr. Roberts conducts research related to health education and support services in AD and has served since 2001 as Co-PI of the NIH-funded REVEAL Study, a NIH-funded series of randomized clinical trials evaluating the impact of disclosing genetic risk information to individuals with a family history of AD. Prior to coming to U-M, Dr. Roberts served as Co-Director of the Education Core in the NIA-funded Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He now directs the MADC Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core.

Vikram Shakkottai, MD, PhD

Dr. Vikram Shakkottai is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is currently the director of the Michigan Brain Bank. He received his MBBS from Christian Medical College in Vellor, Tamil Nadu, India and completed his residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. His interests include investigating changes in cerebellar physiology in ataxic disorders and determining whether ion channel modulators have a role in the treatment of movement disorders.

Peter K Todd, MD, PhD

Location portraits of Roman Giger, Dr. Ken Casey, Dr. Peter Todd, Dr. William Dauer, Sokol Todi, Dr. Tiffany Braley, Dr. Daniel Leventhal, Dr. Vikram Shokkotai, and Edgar Rodriguez in the BSRB (atrium and fourth floor Paulson lab) on 12/16/09.

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.

Irving Vega, PhD

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.

Sriram Venneti, MD

Dr. Venneti is a clinician-scientist who expertise is in Neuropathology and the biology of brain cancer. Dr. Venneti completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship in Neuropathology at the University of Pennsylvania followed by postdoctoral work at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Venneti was recruited as a faculty member to the University of Michigan in November 2014. Dr. Venneti’s research interests lie in understanding the biology of brain tumors in adults and children. The projects in the lab are highly translational and focus on integrating epigenetics, cancer metabolism and in vivo imaging techniques to investigate pathogenic mechanisms in adult and pediatric brain tumors. These studies are based on Dr. Venneti’s clinical and research expertise enabling successful translation from the bench top to the bedside. He serves on the editorial board of Brain Pathology and the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. Dr. Venneti is committed to teaching, mentoring and training graduate and medical students and serves as course director for the Neuropathology microscopy course held in the fall of every year.

Jenna Wiens, PhD

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.

Jieping Ye, PhD

ye2Dr. Ye is an Associate Professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan. For the last thirteen years, he has been conducting fundamental research in machine learning and data mining, developing computational methods for biomedical data analysis, and building informatics software. He leads the development of the SLEP (Sparse Learning with Efficient Projections) package, which includes implementations of large-scale sparse learning models, and the MALSAR (Multi-tAsk Learning via StructurAl Regularization) package, which includes implementations of state-of-the-art multi-task learning models. Currently, there are about 4,500 active users from over 25 different countries. With close collaboration with researchers at the biomedical field, he has successfully applied these methods for analyzing biomedical data, including clinical image data and genotype data from Alzheimer’s patients.