Image above: Investigators discuss research findings at the poster session at the 2019 Beyond Amyloid Research Symposium at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids.
Resources for Professionals
We support the work of investigators and other professionals in a variety of ways. Please review our various methods of support below, and contact us if you have any questions. Please be sure to acknowledge the partial support of our funding in all work to which we contribute. Specific acknowledgement information is listed in the Acknowledgement & Logos section below.
Questions should be directed to Ari Bhaumik at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-936-8281.
Professionals: You can follow our Center Director, Dr. Henry Paulson on Twitter here.Recruitment and Clinical Resources
We promote clinical research on memory and aging that involves direct use of research volunteers, biomarkers, and other clinical data collected through the University of Michigan Memory and Aging Project. We manage a well-characterized data set to facilitate recruitment for Center-supported projects and publications.
Investigators wishing to utilize the research volunteer database must complete the Research Resource Application.
For more information, contact Arijit Bhaumik at 734-936-8281 or email@example.com.Data Resources
For preliminary data requests, please complete and submit the Data Request Form.
For more information, contact Arijit Bhaumik at 734-936-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Brain Tissue Resources
The Michigan Brain Bank is designed to support investigations of dementing disorders. The Michigan Brain Bank provides researchers who study Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders with access to well-characterized human brain tissue. To optimize research, the Michigan Brain Bank assists in the collection and storage of brain tissue from individuals who have been followed in research studies at the University of Michigan and other Centers. We are fortunate to have had many generous patients and families participate in this brain donation program. The most useful tissue for research comes from individuals with extensive clinical information, typically from those who have participated in clinical research projects. Tissues stored in the Michigan Brain Bank are extensively characterized by experienced pathologists and available to scientists on request. Michigan Brain Bank tissues have been used by numerous scientists here and at other Centers in the United States.
For investigators wishing to utilize tissues stored in the Michigan Brain Bank, please visit the Michigan Brain Bank website to download and submit tissue resource applications. Investigators may also download the Tissue Resource Application and submit it via mail.
For further information, please contact Matthew Perkins at UMHSbrainbank@med.umich.edu or 734-647-7648.Core ResourcesFaculty Expertise"Dementia for Scientists" Online Curriculum
The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center was pleased to release the “Dementia for Scientists” online curriculum in September 2018. The curriculum is available to view on YouTube here. The goal of this curriculum is to provide a broad and current introduction to important aspects of dementias and dementia-related research. The target audience is junior investigators.
Why did we create this curriculum?
Dementia research is highly diverse in content, ranging from basic biophysical research to social science. While investigators entering the field from diverse research backgrounds are well-trained in their own discipline, they may lack broader knowledge of the many aspects of dementia and dementia research that are important in understanding critical issues in the field. This curriculum aims to provide a relatively sophisticated introduction to critical aspects of dementias across the broad sweep of the field. The ultimate goal is to enhance the ability of junior investigators to read and understand relevant literature outside their own disciplines.
The curriculum consists of 7 modules, each of which addresses an important area in contemporary dementia research. Each module includes several presentations. The presentations are relatively concise, PowerPoint lectures that can be viewed when convenient.
The modules include the following topics:
- Dementia Definition and Evaluation
- Dementia Pathology & Pathogenesis
- Dementia Genetics
- Dementia Imaging
- Therapy Development in Dementias
- Health Services and Policy Dementia Research
- Research Performance in Ethnically Diverse Populations
- HIV and Cognitive Decline
We encourage users to view all modules, though many may wish to focus on topics outside their areas of expertise. Modules 1, 2, 5, & 6 might be said to constitute core elements that everyone should know.
We hope you find the curriculum valuable. This is our initial effort and we welcome all comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Please send all feedback to Stephanie Nava at email@example.com.Web-based Certificate in Advanced Clinical Dementia Practice
Several Center faculty were involved in the creation of this University of Michigan School of Social Work certificate program.
This self-paced certificate is designed for healthcare professionals who deliver or plan to deliver person- and family-centered care to people living with memory loss or dementia, including: social workers; nurses; primary care physicians; physical therapists; occupational therapists; health educators; and administrators. Participants will gain clinical knowledge and skills in culturally-competent assessment, care planning, and state-of-the-art clinical intervention.
Learn more about the program here.REC Junior Investigator Mentorship Program
This program has two aims. One, providing early career investigators entering the field of dementia research with a broad education about contemporary dementia research. Two, providing early career investigators with mentoring by experienced investigators in developing competitive grant applications. We encourage early career investigators from underrepresented groups in STEM to apply. As we seek to understand and cure Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), the Michigan ADRC considers among its highest priorities to support the career development of junior investigators who are committed to dementia-related research.
This program includes a one-time $25,000 (direct costs) Michigan ADRC REC grant. This REC grant is partially funded by a grant from the NIH/National Institute on Aging with additional funding from the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center. In addition to the $25,000 in direct costs, total indirect costs of $400 will be provided.
This two-year program provides mentees with an individually tailored mentoring committee or experienced investigators to assist mentees with preparation of competitive grant applications. Mentees will have access to online curriculum about contemporary dementia research to introduce basic features of dementias. Mentees will participate in the Career Development Workshop jointly sponsored by the Michigan ADRC and the University of Michigan Pepper Center. This workshop takes place in the spring and includes a Mock Study Section and other career development activities. Mentees will have access to career development support provided by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. Mentees receive preferred (not guaranteed) access to Michigan ADRC resources, Developmental Project grant programs, travel funds, as well as the opportunity to present research at the annual Michigan ADRC Research Symposium and at national Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center meetings.
- Investigators must be from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, or Wayne State University and plan to maintain their appointment at one of these institutions throughout the two-year program
- Funds are not transferable to another institution outside our 3-university consortium.
- Career commitment to some form of dementia-related research
- Post-doc fellow (advanced status, usually after the second or third year)
- Early career and new investigator status (assistant professor with no R01 or equivalent)
- Plan to submit a substantial grant application – career development award, R01 or equivalent, major foundation grant- within the next two years
Use of funds:
The award must underwrite activities advancing the mentee’s career. Examples:
- Data analyses
- Study personnel support
- Acquisition of initial data that is a departure from the applicant’s primary line of research
- Method development
- Equipment purchase
- Imaging or similar services
- For senior post-doc fellows: salary support to defray work on a novel project
- Other uses, if justified appropriately
- Expenses which do not comply with Uniform Guidance (previously A-21) rules are unallowable on the project (e.g., Hosting, Postage, Telephone, General Supplies, Computers, Admin Salaries
The program is a two-year program with the following components:
- An online curriculum about contemporary dementia research to introduce mentees to basic features of dementias.
- An individually tailored mentoring committee of experienced investigators to assist mentees with preparation of competitive grant applications.
- Participation in the Career Development Workshop jointly sponsored by the Michigan ADRC and the University of Michigan Pepper Center. This workshop takes place in the spring and includes a Mock Study Section and other career development activities.
- Access to Career Development support provided by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research.
- Mentees receive preferred (not guaranteed) access to Michigan ADRC resources, Developmental Project programs, and travel funds to attend a national NIH/NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Center meeting
- Presentation of research at the annual Michigan ADRC symposium and opportunities to present research at national Alzheimer Disease Research Center meetings.
Our expectations of mentees in the program are as follows:
Development Projects Program
- Selecting a mentoring committee and submitting to REC leadership for approval
- Frequent, regular meetings with your designated primary mentor
- Mentoring committee meetings every 6 months
- Regular progress reports to the REC program
- Yearly meeting with REC on-site Co-Leads (Albin-U-M; Vega-MSU; Lichtenberg-WSU)
- Annual Presentations at MADRC symposia
- Use of Michigan ADRC resources
As we seek to understand and cure Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, we consider it among our highest priorities to support innovative, high impact research. Our Center’s Development Project Program provides $50,000 in direct costs and is open to investigators at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the Ann Arbor VA.
Developmental projects should emphasize one or more of the following:
- Center’s thematic focus on non-amyloid factors contributing to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in dementia
- Leveraging of resources available through the MADRC and its cores, and/or co-enrollment of participants in the MADRC’s longitudinal cohort
- Utilization of databases available through the MADRC: the Michigan Brain Bank via the Neuropathology Core, longitudinal cohort data via the Clinical, Data Cores and the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), the Alzheimer’s Diseases Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease (NCRAD), or Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI)
- Mechanisms of neurodegenerative dementias
- Novel methods of detecting or treating cognitive changes in age-related diseases
- Emphasis on studying cognition and challenges to diagnosing and treating age-related dementia in underrepresented minorities
- Frailty and cognitive changes due to aging in older adults
- Health disparities in underrepresented populations and ADRD
- Impact of COVID-19 on older adults with ADRD
- Caregiver burden and stress in ADRD
The program is partially supported by the NIH/NIA-funded Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center grant (P30 AG072931). Our Center, the U-M Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and other U-M Aging Centers will consider joint funding for a promising application addressing research issues shared by the Centers.Isadore & Margaret Mezey Conference Award
The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center is committed to promoting the advancement of dementia research skills in junior faculty through the provision of training resources. Established with the generous support of the Chawla family, the Isadore & Margaret Mezey award will pay for conference expenses for junior investigators associated with their participation in national or international conferences focusing on the latest discoveries in neurodegenerative research and clinical practices. Awardees have a keen interest in advancing their careers in the dementia field and use the award for participation in annual meetings associated with major brain-related associations or societies.
Call for applications to the Isadore & Margaret Mezey Conference Awards takes place once per year.Acknowledgement & Logos
Please remember to acknowledge partial support from NIH/NIA grant P30AG053760 and P30AG072931 in your publications, presentations, websites, posters, and other dissemination efforts that are related to our Center’s research, development and training activities. Also, please include an approved Center logo.
Text must read:
This was partially supported by the NIH/NIA funded Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center (P30AG053760 and P30AG072931).
For approved logos to use in posters and presentations, please contact Renee Gadwa at firstname.lastname@example.org."Beyond Amyloid" Research Symposium
Annually, our Center hosts a research symposium focused on the non-amyloid contributions to neurodegeneration. The symposium rotates locations across our three sites: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. There are opportunities at the event to present a poster.Clinical-Pathological Correlation Conferences
These professional conferences take place four times annually for junior faculty and post-doctoral students in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, aging and geriatrics, and nursing. The conference demonstrates the relationship between clinical presentation and underlying disease pathology to inform future diagnostic procedures as they relate to dementia. CE and CME credit for physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants is available, as well as APA credit for psychologists.
The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center offers 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.
REC Junior Investigator Mentees – 2022-2024 ClassKelly 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.
Her research has been continuously supported by National Science Foundation. She was a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award (2008). Prof. Li served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Signal Processing Letters from 2007-2009, and an Editorial Board Member for EURASIP Journal Wireless Communications and Networking from 2004-2011. She served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing from 2012-2016.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).
REC Junior Investigator Mentees – 2021-2023 ClassAndrew Bender, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Dr. Bender earned his Ph.D. in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University in 2014, followed by a year-long postdoctoral appointment with the Institute of Gerontology. In 2018, he completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in Lifespan Development at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, before joining the departments of Epidemiology-Biostatistics and Neurology-Ophthalmology at MSU. Trained as a cognitive neuroscientist, with a broad focus on lifespan development and aging, quantitative methods, Dr. Bender’s work seeks to understand how individual differences in vascular, metabolic, and lifestyle risk factors contribute to changes in the brain’s structure and function in normal aging and in dementia.Matthew Benskey, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Dr. Benskey joined the Faculty in the Department of Translational Neuroscience as a Research Assistant Professor in Fall of 2016. Dr. Benskey received undergraduate training in Psychology and Neuroscience at Central Michigan University, after which he completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Michigan State University. He then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Translational Neuroscience at Michigan State University where he studied the molecular neurobiology of Parkinson’s Disease, with a specific focus on how viral vectors can be used to both model and potentially treat neuropathology. Dr. Benskey’s current research aims to understand the role that neuro-immune interactions play in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Outside of the lab he enjoys painting, playing the guitar and wandering in the woods with his dogs.Sarah Elzinga, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Sarah Elzinga’s goal is to understand how immune system pathways respond to damage at the cellular level to promote inflammation and injure the nervous system, and she is utilizing multiple models to examine nervous system injury and cognitive decline. One model includes a novel 3D culture system, developed in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s bioengineering department, that is increasing our understanding of how the different cell types in the nervous system interact. Additionally, work in other model systems has begun to uncover the underlying mechanisms and present possible treatment options for brain and nerve injury secondary to diabetes and obesity.Jessica Finlay, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Finlay uses qualitative, geospatial, and mixed methods to investigate the role of built, social, natural, and microbial environments for health in later life. Her current research focuses on how neighborhood built and social environments may slow rates of cognitive decline and reduce risk for Alzheimer's disease and dementia. She also investigates psychosocial and behavioral impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental, and cognitive health of older adults.
REC Junior Investigator Mentees – 2019-2021 ClassOmar Ahmed, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Omar Ahmed received both his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees in Neuroscience from Brown University. He then worked on large-scale single-neuron-resolution recordings in epilepsy patients at Massachusetts General Hospital during his postdoctoral work, before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2016 as an Assistant Professor. His primary appointment is in the Dept. of Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience area), and he is affiliated with the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. His lab uses a combination of in vivo and slice electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, computational modeling and design of novel analytical tools to understand the neural circuits involved in learning and memory, as well as how these circuits are altered in Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.Ana Daugherty, Ph.D. - Wayne State University
Dr. Ana Daugherty is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, joint appointed in the Departments of Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and the Institute of Gerontology. She earned a doctorate in psychology (behavioral and cognitive neuroscience) from Wayne State University in 2014 and completed a competitive post-doctoral research fellowship at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She now directs the Healthy Brain Aging laboratory and studies how vascular and metabolic factors modify human neural cognitive aging, and contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. She employs multimodal MRI methods, diverse cognitive-behavioral assessments, blood biomarkers of vascular health, actigraphy and advanced statistical methods for the longitudinal study of aging.Amara Ezeamama, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Dr. Amara Ezeamama is an Assistant Professor with a decade of experience implementing epidemiologic studies of cognitive function in relation to HIV-infection, parasitic infection and malnutrition in vulnerable populations within resource limited settings. She obtained a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Brown University in 2006 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard School of Public health between 2008 and 2012. Prior to graduate training in epidemiology, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA Class of 2000). In her current role, she investigates determinants of neurocognitive disorder, disability and quality of life decline among Africans living with HIV and currently on antiretroviral therapy. She hopes to inform future interventions that mitigate premature functional decline in this vulnerable population.Charlie Fehl, Ph.D. - Wayne State University
Dr. Charlie Fehl is a chemical biologist studying the molecular mechanisms of sugar metabolism and signaling pathways. His lab builds controllable intracellular tools (using light or synthetic biology) to interrogate metabolic regulation in living cells. In particular, we study the neuroprotective effects of O-GlcNAcylation, a metabolic signal that drops precipitously in neurons experiencing degeneration. We use organic synthesis, photochemistry, and synthetic biology to track the roles of these sugars in living cells using proteomics, transcriptomics, and informatics analyses to gain a systems-wide understanding of metabolic regulation in neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Fehl received his B.S. degree from the University of Michigan, then took an extended route back to Detroit following a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas and postdoctoral experience at the University of Oxford. He opened his lab in the Wayne State University Department of Chemistry in 2018.Ilce Medina-Meza, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Ilce Medina Meza is Assistant Professor at the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. She is a Chemical Engineer B.S. and M.S. with Ph.D. in Food Science from Instituto Tecnologico de Veracruz/Universita di Bologna. Prior to join MSU she was appointed as research fellow in the Biological Systems and Engineering department at Washington State University. Her research interest are on Food and Health Engineering, focusing in a deep understanding on the molecular mechanisms governing oxidative stress of lipids, steroids and cholesterol homeostasis. She has devoted significant time studying lipid oxidation due to autooxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and evaluating their impact on health. Her current research is the lipidomic based-discovery of neurodegenerative diseases biomarkers for early detection by application of high throughput mass spectrometry methods and kinetic modelling. She has joint appointments in the departments of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. She has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers. She is editor of 1 book, author of 2 book chapters and delivered more than 40 presentations both oral and poster at internationals conferences. She is member of the ASABE, IFT and European Network for Oxysterols Research (ENOR). She is member of the Editorial Board of the journal Food Research International, and serves as reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals in the area, including Food Engineering, Food Chemistry, Food and Bioprocess Technology.Courtney Polenick, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Polenick is Assistant Professor in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and Faculty Associate in the Aging & Biopsychosocial Innovations Program of the Survey Research Center at the U-M Institute for Social Research. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, and she completed an NIMH T32 postdoctoral fellowship focused on geriatric mental health in the U-M Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Polenick’s research centers on later-life family relationships and caregiving in the context of complex care needs including dementia and multimorbidity. She is particularly interested in understanding mutual influences within older couples managing chronic conditions that inform targeted dyadic interventions to maintain the well-being of both partners.Annalise Rahman-Filipiak, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Annalise Rahman-Filipiak is a Clinical Lecturer in the Neuropsychology Section of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology, Biology, and Neuroscience from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, followed by Master's and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She was a predoctoral trainee at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology. Dr. Rahman-Filipiak completed a residency in Neuropsychology at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System/University of Michigan consortium before joining the U-M faculty in October 2018. Dr. Rahman-Filipiak's research focuses on the development of novel measures for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), metacognition in aging, and culturally-sensitive protocols for the disclosure of diagnosis of or biomarker-based risk for ADRD.
REC Junior Investigator Mentees – 2018-2020 ClassDeAnnah Byrd, Ph.D. - Wayne State University
DeAnnah Byrd, Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.Julia Gerson, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Julia E. Gerson, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at 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 Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.Lenette Jones, Ph.D., R.N., ACNS-BC - University of Michigan
Lenette M. Jones, Ph.D., R.N., 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 B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.Rohit Marawar, M.D. - Wayne State University
Rohit Marawar, M.D. 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 Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., R.N. - University of Michigan
Sheria G. Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., R.N. 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 B.S.N. from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, WI, her M.S.N. / M.H.A. from the University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, and her Ph.D. from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Dr. Robinson-Lane conducted her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.
REC Junior Investigator Mentees – 2017-2019 ClassHwaJung Choi, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
Dr. Choi is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. Her expertise includes health and family economics and demography by training. Dr. Choi’s research extensively examines inter-relationships among older adults’ health, family, and contextual factors, and trends in older adults’ functional and activity limitations. More recently, her research interest also includes healthcare utilization and healthcare costs of Alzheimer’s diseases and related dementia (ADRD). In particular, Dr. Choi is interested in the influence of family-care availability on healthcare utilization by older adults with ADRD, and in assessing the full array of ADRD care costs to individuals, family caregivers, and the public.Benjamin Combs, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Dr. Combs is a research assistant professor in Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. He studies the tau protein in order to better understand its role in the initiation and progression of Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias. His work focuses on the protein's function in regulating axonal transport in neurons and how pathological forms of tau can disrupt this process leading to neurodegeneration and toxicity in disease. By gaining a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin tau's role in Alzheimer's disease he hopes to identify better targets for future potential therapies. Combs graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and the University of Kansas with a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology before working as a postdoctoral research associate in Nicholas Kanaan's lab at Michigan State University.Jeske Damoiseaux, Ph.D. - Wayne State University
Dr. Damoiseaux is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Gerontology and the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University. Her main research goal is to understand the changes in brain function and cognition that accompany normal and abnormal aging. She is particularly interested in examining the influence of biological and cognitive predisposition on cognitive and brain network connectivity changes in healthy older adults. The primary approach Dr. Damoiseaux uses to study brain network connectivity is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition, she uses other neuroimaging techniques, such as structural MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study brain structure and structural brain connectivity.Wassim Tarraf, Ph.D. - Wayne State University
Dr. Tarraf is an assistant professor at the Institute of Gerontology and in the Department of Healthcare Sciences, and a faculty in the Masters of Public Health program in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University. He is a health services researcher, policy analyst, and gerontologist with a primary interest in research on minority aging and racial/ethnic healthcare disparities. His research evaluates disparities in health, health behavior, and healthcare access and use among race/ethnic minorities in the United States, and investigates the social determinants of health and healthcare. Dr. Tarraf has served as a principal investigator or co-investigator and statistical consultant on several university and federally funded projects.Jiayu Zhou, Ph.D. - Michigan State University
Dr. Zhou is an assistant professor at Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. Before joining MSU, Zhou received his Ph.D. degree in computer science at Arizona State University in 2014. He has a broad research interest in large-scale machine learning and data mining, and biomedical informatics. Especially, Dr. Zhou is interested in building high-performance machine learning models that understand Alzheimer's progression and identify signaling biomarkers from multiple data sources, including medical imaging, genotypes, and other clinical information.
The “Dementia for Scientists” online curriculum debuted in September 2018. You can find it on YouTube here. The goal of this curriculum is to provide a broad and current introduction to important aspects of dementias and dementia-related research. The target audience is junior investigators.
Why did we create this curriculum?
Dementia research is highly diverse in content, ranging from basic biophysical research to social science. While investigators entering the field from diverse research backgrounds are well-trained in their own discipline, they may lack broader knowledge of the many aspects of dementia and dementia research that are important in understanding critical issues in the field. This curriculum aims to provide a relatively sophisticated introduction to critical aspects of dementias across the broad sweep of the field. The ultimate goal is to enhance the ability of junior investigators to read and understand relevant literature outside their own disciplines.
How the curriculum is structured
The curriculum consists of eight modules, each of which addresses an important area in contemporary dementia research. The modules begin with basic definitional material (Dementia Definition and Evaluation) and proceed through biology of dementias (Dementia Pathology & Pathogenesis; Dementia Genetics), clinical research (Dementia Imaging; Therapy Development in Dementias), and important policy and social science aspects of dementias (Health Services and Policy Dementia Research; Research Performance in Ethnically Diverse Populations).
- Module 1: Dementia Definition & Evaluation
- Module 2: Dementia Pathology & Pathogenesis
- Module 3: Dementia Genetics
- Module 4: Dementia Imaging
- Module 5: Therapy Development in Dementias
- Module 6: Health Services & Policy in Dementia Research
- Module 7: Research Performance in Ethnically Diverse Populations
- Module 8: HIV and Cognitive Performance
We encourage users to view all modules, though many may wish to focus on topics outside their areas of expertise. Modules 1, 2, 5, & 6 might be said to constitute core elements that everyone should know.
Please send any feedback to Stephanie Nava at email@example.com.
The Developmental Project Program
As we seek to understand and cure Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, we consider it among our highest priorities to support innovative, high impact research. Our center’s Developmental Project Program provides funds to investigators so that they can test new ideas about the causes and treatment of dementias. We are committed to funding three $50,000 pilot projects per year, open to any investigators at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the Ann Arbor VA.
2022-2024 Funded Developmental ProjectsThe Neurophysiological Mechanisms Linking Sleep Disturbances and Alzheimer’s disease
The Neurophysiological Mechanisms Linking Sleep Disturbances and Alzheimer’s disease
PI: Dr. Gideon Rothschild, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Project Narrative: Studies in recent years have found that sleep disturbances, which are highly prevalent in the adult population, are a risk factor for the development of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the brain mechanisms by which sleep disturbances could promote cognitive decline remain unresolved. In this proposal, we aim to directly address this knowledge gap in mouse animal models by recording and manipulating neural activity in the hippocampus- a critical brain region for memory- as mice experience chronic sleep disturbances that model the human condition. Our overarching goal is to elucidate the neural mechanisms linking sleep disturbances, aberrant hippocampal activity and development of AD, with the hope of promoting novel therapeutic and prevention approaches for AD, which are in dire need.Dimensional Complexity: a new marker for cognitive elasticity and MCI/AD progression
Dimensional Complexity: a new marker for cognitive elasticity and MCI/AD progression
PI: Norman Scheel, Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D.), Dipl.-Inf., Department of Radiology, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
Narrative description. Even though functional resting-state MRI was first introduced more than two decades ago, it is still difficult to derive the global complexity of brain function from these recordings. In our early-stage research, introducing dimensional complexity measures to resting-state fMRI, we found significant changes in the complexity of brain function due to healthy aging. In this development project we aim to lay the groundwork to establish dimensional complexity as a marker for cognitive elasticity, as it might prove to be valuable in diagnostics and the prediction of cognitive decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.Explore the functional impact of transposable elements in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
Explore the functional impact of transposable elements in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
PI: Weichen Zhou, Ph.D., Research Investigator, Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan
Project Narrative: This project, entitled ‘Explore the functional impact of transposable elements in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias’, is proposed by Weichen Zhou (Research Investigator) and Ryan E. Mills (Associate Professor) at the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan Medical School. It seeks to explore the connection between the somatic transposable elements in the human genome and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It will leverage large-scale datasets to extensively explore the genome-wide transposable elements and then stratify Alzheimer’s disease-relevant ones by using the rich clinical information from the cohorts. Further analysis pipelines and a predictive model will be built to investigate the functional impact of these transposable elements on Alzheimer’s disease and would improve the understanding of genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of A Comprehensive Cognitive and Affective Intervention for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) (CoINTEGRATE- For Foreign-Born Arab Americans- a dyadic approach)
A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of A Comprehensive Cognitive and Affective Intervention for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) (CoINTEGRATE- For Foreign-Born Arab Americans- a dyadic approach)
PI: Hala Darwish, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Michigan
2020-2021 Funded Pilot Projects"White Matter Microstructure and Cognitive Plasticity: New Markers of Resilience in ADRD"
Andrew Bender, PhD (Michigan State University)
Goal: The maintenance of cognitive abilities in older age despite neural decrements appears to reflect one’s capacity for cognitive and neural plasticity. Such resilience to neuropathological processes appears moderated by educational attainment and life course enrichment, but there are no established markers of resilience. The proposed pilot study seeks to establish feasibility for studying new markers of resilience against early neurocognitive decline in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by leveraging existing data and resources from the MADRC longitudinal clinical cohort. We propose evaluating the potential of novel markers from existing diffusion MRI neuroimaging and neuropsychological test data to classify early declines in MCI. Specifically, we will investigate novel measures of white matter crossing fiber complexity and cognitive plasticity (i.e., practice effects), as potential markers of neurocognitive resilience against declines in MCI. We will evaluate differences in baseline level and 1–2 year longitudinal change to test whether short-term changes in practice effects and crossing fiber populations are attenuated or absent in MCI. We will examine whether these markers are less biased by race and ethnicity than other neuropsychological measures of cognitive decline. The proposed pilot study will lead to development of a collaborative R01 proposal to investigate new markers of neurocognitive resilience."Cognitive Decline in African Americans: The Impact of Hypertension, Stress, and Coping"
DeAnnah Byrd, PhD (Wayne State University)
Goal: Cognitive decline is a substantial and growing public health concern. The older U.S. population is expected to increase dramatically by 2030, growing from 35 to 72 million, and becoming significantly more racially and ethnically diverse. Most concerning are reports suggesting that Blacks have a higher risk of cognitive disease than Whites. In particular, Blacks have more chronic conditions such as high blood pressure (HBP), diabetes, and stroke, which can affect the brain and cognition. Likewise, Blacks are further disproportionately exposed to stress. Although, social support and coping resources have been shown to positively impact health outcomes and buffer against stress; few studies have examined whether health status, stress, and coping factors account for differences in cognitive decline in Blacks. The goal of this project is to explore innovative approaches to address individual variation in risk and protective factors contributing to cognitive changes and decline in Blacks. This project uses secondary data taken from the Baltimore Study of Black Aging—Patterns of Cognitive Aging to examine whether health and psychosocial factors that differ by race (e.g., HBP and perceived stress as risks and social support and coping as protective factors) underlie racial inequalities in cognitive decline in older U.S. adults."Brain Iron Accumulation as a Pathway of Hypertension-Related Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia"
Ana Daugherty, PhD (Wayne State University)
Goal: Hypertension is the most prevalent and pernicious vascular risk factor that exacerbates age-related neural cognitive declines. Adequate antihypertensive treatment does not rescue neurological health or cognitive function, which suggests that hypertension has secondary effects on antecedents of neural cognitive decline. Iron accumulation that drives oxidative stress and subsequent metabolic dysfunction is a plausible mechanism of hypertension effects on cognition, and brain iron via MRI is a promising biomarker of impending decline in aging, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). Iron preferentially accumulates in age-sensitive brain regions—e.g., striatum, hippocampus—which may be exacerbated by hypertension to explain greater cognitive decline. Brain iron accumulation is a putative biomarker sensitive to early stages of neurodegeneration, yet its interaction with hypertension is unknown. This proposal uses the existing Michigan ADRC sample to evaluate the effect of hypertension and vascular risk on subcortical iron concentration, two-year cognitive decline, and ADRD diagnosis. A subset of the existing sample will be recruited to undergo a state-of the-art high-resolution hippocampal subfield scan to evaluate possible correlation between hippocampal iron concentration and entorhinal cortex and subiculum volumes as additional biomarkers of ADRD pathology. The study aims to evaluate pathways for hypertension effects on ADRD and its progression."Age-Associated Alterations in Protein Translation Dynamics"
Peter Todd, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: Studies in diverse model organisms ranging from yeast to mice and across tissue types, including the brain, demonstrate decreases in global protein synthesis with chronological aging. Age-related changes in the abundance of specific components of the translational apparatus, namely initiation and elongation factors as well as specific ribosomal proteins, suggest that an element of this decline in protein synthesis may result from direct alterations in the translational machinery. Intriguingly, nucleolar size (the site of ribosomal biogenesis) also decreases with age. Interventions that enhance longevity, such as Rapamycin treatment, directly impact translation, suggesting that altered translational dynamics in aging are both important and potentially modifiable. The brain is particularly vulnerable to age-associated declines in cellular physiology since it is made up of a finite number of post-mitotic neurons that rely on localized protein synthesis for certain synaptic functions, suggesting that alterations in translation could contribute to problems in the aging brain.
Despite multiple lines of evidence demonstrating global decreases in translation, we know little about the molecular mechanisms underlying this conserved aging phenomenon. This proposal will use recent advances in transcript specific translational profiling and comparative proteomic approaches to define alterations in the global translational landscape with age and following an intervention (Rapamycin treatment) in UMHET3 mice. My central hypothesis is that age-related alterations in the translational machinery abundance directly impacts translational dynamics, leading to age-associated decreases in both global and transcript-specific protein synthesis. This proposal will define the aging “translatome” and generate specific testable predictions as to the molecular mechanisms underlying global decreases in protein translation with age as well as the dynamic changes that occur after rapamycin treatment.
2019-2020 Funded Pilot Projects"Understanding retosplenial dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease to identify novel therapeutic targets"
Omar Ahmed, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: By understanding the relationship between retrosplenial ion channels, neuronal subtypes, brain rhythms and memory in both healthy and AD-model animals, the significance of this project spans both basic and translational neuroscience. Specifically, we will 1) elucidate the learning and memory correlates of a recently discovered, unique high frequency oscillation (HFO) localized to the retrosplenial cortex and understand how these retrosplenial HFOs are altered in both a rat and a mouse model of AD; 2) construct a detailed circuit connectivity map among major neuronal subtypes of the RSC and deduce the computations each of these subtypes is ideally suited to perform; 3) test the causal role of high Kv1.1 expression in RSC FS cells in impairing memory function. This work is likely to open up a novel line of research and potential therapies focused on the retrosplenial molecular/cellular underpinnings of AD, and is not directly focused on amyloid-β."Magnetic properties of microvascular lesions as potential biomarkers for dementia"
Norman Cheng, PhD (Wayne State University) and Scott Counts, PhD (Michigan State University)
Goal: The goal of this pilot proposal is to establish proof of concept that magnetic properties of cerebral microbleeds and microinfarcts can be biomarkers for incipient dementia. Currently, these MRI micro-objects are known to be strongly associated with vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) and AD, but they also appear in healthy older people at a lower prevalence. From MRI, counting the number of microbleeds and/or microinfarcts is the only reliable method used clinically. However, the number of these putative lesions is subject to imaging parameters and it does not correlate well with the rate of cognitive decline in AD. As micro-objects with hemorrhagic components show magnetic susceptibility effects in MRI, here we propose to quantify the magnetic properties of these micro-objects from MR images of postmortem samples, validate the hemorrhagic components in those micro-objects from histological studies, and calculate the Cox hazard ratio between demented and control samples. We will request a total of 40 postmortem samples from MADC, all of which will be from subjects with vascular problems. Each of the demented and control group will contain at least 10 samples. The samples among the two groups will be gender balanced and age matched, as well as be blinded to us."The impact of protein AMPylation on Alzheimer’s disease"
Matthias Truttman, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects millions of patients worldwide. Despite concerted efforts, the precise cascade of molecular events underlying AD onset and progression remain elusive. Recently, we discovered that, along with histone proteins, the molecular chaperone Hsc70 is post-translationally modified by the attachment of an AMP nucleotide, a process called AMPylation. Intriguingly, the human AMPylase, Hype, accumulates in the nuclei of neocortex-derived neurons from AD patients (Fig. 1A), whereas Hype resides in the cytoplasm of control neurons. We hypothesize that nuclear accumulation of Hype alters the Hsc70 and histone AMPylation landscape, thereby affecting chromatin assembly and accessibility in AD. Our proposed research will address the impact of AMPylation on gene regulation in AD development."Mechanisms of tau-mediated retrograde transport inhibition"
Benjamin Combs, PhD (Michigan State University)
Goal: Inhibition of fast axonal transport (FAT) is closely linked to neurodegeneration of synapses and axons as well as pathological modifications of the tau protein observed early in Alzheimer’s diseases and related tauopathies. It is well established that several of these tau forms can disrupt FAT in multiple models of transport. We have previously identified a molecular mechanism by which tau can disrupt anterograde FAT but do not currently know the mechanism by which they can alter retrograde FAT (rFAT). Here, we propose to use the toxic P301L tau to test two of the major mechanistic pathways that tau could disrupt rFAT: alterations to kinase signaling pathways or direct interaction with the dynein motor complex and its regulatory subunits. We will express wild-type and P301L tau in primary rat hippocampal neurons and measure changes to kinases known to regulate rFAT, perform pulldown experiments to identify relevant protein-protein interactions, and characterize specific changes to rFAT that will inform our understanding of this toxic mechanism. Completion of this proposal will further our mechanistic understanding of non-amyloid toxic effects on rFAT and provide the basis for future grant proposals to further elucidate mechanistic details and explore potential therapeutic interventions."Linking social isolation and cognition through functional brain network correlates in non-demented older adults"
Patrick Pruitt, PhD (Wayne State University)
Goal: Social isolation has been linked to late-life dementia incidence and, as a modifiable risk factor, represents a target for intervention studies to preserve or enhance cognitive function in older adults. The effects of social isolation on brain
function, through which it impacts cognition, have not been determined. Functional connectivity is an early indicator of neurodegeneration, marking it as a valuable measure for intervention trials, for which early identification of risk is
Here, we propose an investigation of the association between social isolation and functional connectivity of three core networks underlying cognition: default mode (DMN), frontoparietal (FPN), and salience (SN) networks. We hypothesize that social isolation will be associated with disrupted connectivity within the DMN and SN, as well as disrupted DMN/SN between-network connectivity. We further propose an exploratory analysis of associations between social isolation, network connectivity, and cognition.
We plan to test these hypotheses by analyzing resting-state fMRI scans, Lubben social engagement scores, and performance on neuropsychological testing, in 133 non-demented older adults across the pre-dementia cognitive continuum, for whom data has already been collected through the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center."Toward a Culturally Responsive Intervention for Black Caregivers of Persons with Dementia"
Sheria Robinson-Lane, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: Family caregivers of Black older adults with Alzheimer's disease and/or related dementias (ADRD) have an elevated risk for developing dementia themselves. Stress-related risk factors likely contribute to this risk and may be reduced through targeted interventions that aim to improve overall cardiovascular health and self-management of chronic disease. Although evidence has demonstrated that culture plays an important role in caregiver outcomes, few interventions have been designed to meet the needs of underserved ethnic and racial populations, leaving a critical need for caregiver informed health interventions that promote effective self-management of chronic disease and the use of personally-relevant ways of coping to mange stress. In addition to reducing ADRD related disability, culturally rooted and strength-based interventions can improve caregiver health, perceived ability to provide care for a person with ADRC (self efficacy), and increases the likelihood that caregivers will experiences benefit from caregiving. The overall objective of the proposed work is to test the feasibility of a descriptive study designed to identify a culturally responsive approach to caregiver support that will promote adaptive coping and optimize health for Black ADRD family caregivers. The proposed pilot work expands an active study by testing the utility of an electronically delivered questionnaire along with the addition of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) and a grip strength measure. It is anticipated that by integrating the additional cognitive assessment and grip strength measures described, and delivering the survey electronically, an exceptional study may be developed that will lead to a highly effective intervention. This work addresses a void in culturally responsive health interventions for Black ADRD family caregivers."Amyloid potentiates neuroinflammation and cognitive decline after sepsis survival"
Benjamin Singer, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: Hospitalization is associated with increased risk of incident dementia among older adults, and patients with underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) neuropathology are particularly vulnerable to long-lasting cognitive effects of acute illness. Systemic inflammation, especially sepsis, results in long-lasting neuroinflammatory changes to the brain, especially persistent expression of damage associated molecular pattern signals and activation of innate immunity. Similar pathways are activated in patients and in animal models of AD. I hypothesize that AD results in increased vulnerability to systemic inflammation and potentiates the persistent neuroinflammatory response in sepsis survivors, and that delayed inhibition of neuroinflammation will protect sepsis survivors from persistent brain injury. 5xFAD mice, a transgenic model of AD with accelerated -amyloid production, and wild-type controls will be subjected to sepsis or sham operation and treated with an inhibitor of the innate immune response or vehicle control. I expect that 5xFAD sepsis survivor mice will exhibit impairment in contextual fear conditioning, increased pro-inflammatory gene expression and leukocyte recruitment compared to wild-type sepsis survivors, which will be reversed by inhibition of the innate immune response. Understanding mechanisms of vulnerability to systemic insults in AD will lead to targeted treatments that may prevent or arrest cognitive decline after systemic illness
2018-2019 Funded Pilot Projects"Characterization of faster onset of Alzheimer’s disease within mild cognitive impairment patients by brain functional connectivity and genetic variants"
Chandra Sripada, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: To uncover multi-model brain functional connectivity/gene markers of shorter conversion time from MCI to AD by constructing advanced Bayesian low rank models.
Dr. Chandra Sripada is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan. His research examines agency, attention, and self-control from cross-disciplinary perspectives."Cortical Microstructural Changes in African-Americans with Alzheimer’s Disease"
Navid Seraji-Bozorgzad, MD (University of Michigan) and Rohit Marawar, MD (Wayne State University)
Goal: To examine the cortical microstructure as reflected by two novel MRI techniques, Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI) and Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) in a cohort of African American and White patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Seraji-Bozorgzad is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. The interaction of body and brain in disease state are of particular interest to him, both in terms of neurological manifestations of systemic disease, and effect of neurological disease on other systems. His research experience is in the field of MR imaging. He is interested in biomarkers of brain injury and repair, as it applies to various degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Rohit Marawar 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.“RNA binding protein sequestration in Non-Amyloid Dementia”
Peter Todd, MD, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: To leverage emerging technologies to identify novel repeat associated RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and then evaluate their roles in two common genetic forms of dementia: C9orf72-associated frontotemporal dementia (C9FTD) and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS).
Dr. Peter Todd is the Bucky and Patti Harris Career Development Professor of Neurology and an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. His research 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.“Inflammation, social stress, and racial disparities in cognitive aging”
Laura Zahodne, PhD (University of Michigan)
Goal: To test the overarching hypothesis that racially-patterned social stress (discrimination) partially explains disparities in cognitive health through its effects on inflammation. In addition, this study will test whether associations among race, social stress, inflammation, and cognition differ according to socioeconomic status and quantify effects of examiner-examinee racial discordance on cognitive performance.
Dr. Laura Zahodne is a clinical neuropsychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include psychosocial factors in aging and neurodegenerative disease, psychosocial factors and racial/ethnic diversity in cognitive aging, and statistical modeling of symptom trajectories in aging and neurodegenerative disease.
2017-2018 Funded Pilot Projects"Hippocampal Connectivity Along The Spectrum of Pre-clinical Alzheimer’s Disease"
Jessica Damoiseaux, PhD
Assistant in the Institute of Gerontology and the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University
Goal: To determine the difference in hippocampal functional and structural connectivity among older adults along the putative preclinical spectrum from healthy to subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and its association with objective cognitive performance.
Outcome: Project is ongoing."Determine The Role of the Novel EFhd2 Protein on Tau Oligomerization"
Irving Vega, PhD
Associate Professor of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine at Michigan State University
Research Assistant Professor of Neurology and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biophysics at the University of Michigan
Goal: To understand the role of EFhd2 as a putative modulator of tau oligomerization, in a collaborative effort between researchers at Michigan State University and University of Michigan.
Outcome: Project is ongoing."Leveraging Longitudinal Electronic Health Records for the Characterization of the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease"
Jenna Wiens, PhD
Assistant Professor in Computer Science Engineering (CSE) at the University of Michigan
Goal: The development of methods for leveraging University of Michigan Health System and VA Health Administration Electronic Health Record data for novel retrospective analyses of patient trajectories prior to and following a diagnosis with MCI and AD.
Outcome: Project is ongoing."Defining RNA-based Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in FTLD-TDP"
Sami Barmada, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan
Goal: To determine the importance of TDP43’s RNA binding domains to neurotoxicity, and to define the TDP43 targets that most closely associate with neurodegeneration in frontotemporal dementia models.
Outcome: Project is ongoing.
This project is funded by the Erb Family Foundation Grant
2015-2016 Funded Pilot Projects“Decision Making for Cardiovascular Therapy in Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)”
Deborah A. Levine, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Assistant Professor of Neurology
Goal: to develop, test, and disseminate strategies to improve the care and clinical decision-making of older patients with MCI
Outcome: Data from this study was incorporated into an R01 grant application with Dr. Levine as PI which was funded. They are still in the data collection and analysis phase. There are no publications at this time.“Screening for novel G4C2 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in neurodegenerative disease”
Outcome: They did not identify any novel repeat expansions as a cause of ALS or other disorders.
Publications: He F, Jones JM, Figueroa-Romero C, Zhang D, Feldman EL, Goutman SA, Meisler MH, Callaghan BC, Todd PK. Screening for novel hexanucleotide repeat expansions at ALS- and FTD-associated loci. Neurology Genetics. Volume 2, Issue 3, May 11th 2016, Page 71.“Novel approaches to measuring and facilitating the clearance of soluble amyloid from the brain”
Goal: To test the primary hypothesis that scalp cooling facilitates the glymphatic system and enhances clearance of soluble A-beta.
Outcome: Project is currently ongoing. Dr. Kotagal acquired a mentored VA grant this year.
Publications: There are no publications at this time.“Reducing subjective memory complaints in older adults through non-invasive brain stimulation”
Beck JS, Madaj Z, Cheema CT, Kara B, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Gordon MN, Ginsberg SD, Mufson EJ, Counts SE. Co-expression Network Analysis of Frontal Cortex during the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Cereb Cortex. 2022 Jan 24:bhac001. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhac001. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35076713.
Parker K, Vincent B, Rhee Y, Choi BJ, Robinson-Lane SG, Hamm JM, Klawitter L, Jurivich DA, McGrath R. The estimated prevalence of no reported dementia-related diagnosis in older Americans living with possible dementia by healthcare utilization. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2022 Feb;34(2):359-365. doi: 10.1007/s40520-021-01980-2. Epub 2021 Sep 15. PMID: 34524654; PMCID: PMC8925882.
Duren PS, Moray JR, Lichtenberg PA. Empirical Evaluation of the "Caregivers Passage through Dementia" on African American Caregivers. Clinical gerontologist. 2022 February 27:1-10. PubMed PMID: 35220911; DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2022.2041142.
Gerson JE, Sandoval-Pistorius S, Welday JP, Rodriguez A, Gregory JD, Liggans N, Schache K, Li X, Trzeciakiewicz H, Barmada S, Sharkey LM, Paulson HL. Disrupting the Balance of Protein Quality Control Protein UBQLN2 Accelerates Tau Proteinopathy. J Neurosci. 2022 Mar 2;42(9):1845-1863. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1116-21.2021. Epub 2022 Jan 26. PMID: 35082119; PMCID: PMC8896546.
Wang R, Chopra N, Nho K, Maloney B, Obukhov AG, Nelson PT, Counts SE, Lahiri DK (2022) Human microRNA miR-20b-5p modulates Alzheimer's disease pathways and neuronal function, and a specific polymorphism close to the MIR20Bgene influences Alzheimer's biomarkers. Mol Psychiatry doi: 10.1038/s41380-021-01351-3. PMID: 35087196 PMCID: PMC9054681
Blair EM, Zahuranec DB, Forman J, Reale BK, Langa KM, Giordani B, Fagerlin A, Kollman C, Whitney RT, Levine DA. Physician Diagnosis and Knowledge of Mild Cognitive Impairment. J Alzheimers Dis. 2022;85(1):273-282. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210565. PMID: 34806602. PMCID: PMC8944779
Byrd DR, Jiang Y, Zilioli S, Thorpe RJ, Lichtenberg PA, Whitfield KE. The Interactive Effects of Education and Social Support on Blood Pressure in African Americans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022 Feb 3;77(2):e98-e106. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glab289. Erratum in: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022 Mar 08;: PMID: 34612486; PMCID: PMC8824551.
Rahman-Filipiak A, Sadaghiyani S, Davis K, Bhaumik AK, Paulson HL, Giordani B, Hampstead BM. Validation of the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC) Lewy Body Disease Module neuropsychological tests. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2022 Feb 9;14(1):e12279. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12279. PMID: 35155734; PMCID: PMC8828993.
Chua JP, De Calbiac H, Kabashi E, Barmada SJ. Autophagy and ALS: mechanistic insights and therapeutic implications. Autophagy. 2022 Feb;18(2):254-282. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2021.1926656. Epub 2021 May 31. PMID: 34057020; PMCID: PMC8942428.
Kairys A, Daugherty A, Kavcic V, Shair S, Persad C, Heidebrink J, Bhaumik A, Giordani B. Laptop-Administered NIH Toolbox and Cogstate Brief Battery in Community-Dwelling Black Adults: Unexpected Pattern of Cognitive Performance between MCI and Healthy Controls. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2022 Mar;28(3):239-248. doi: 10.1017/S135561772100028X. Epub 2021 Mar 23. PMID: 33752763.2021
Gerson JE, Linton H, Xing J, Sutter AB, Kakos FS, Ryou J, Liggans N, Sharkey LM, Safren N, Paulson HL, Ivanova MI. Shared and divergent phase separation and aggregation properties of brain-expressed ubiquilins. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 11;11(1):287. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-78775-4. PMID: 33431932; PMCID: PMC7801659.
Polenick CA, Birditt KS, Turkelson A, Kales HC. Chronic condition discordance and physical activity among midlife and older couples. Health Psychol. 2021 Jan;40(1):11-20. doi: 10.1037/hea0001040. PMID: 33370150.
McGrath R, Robinson-Lane SG, Clark BC, Suhr JA, Giordani BJ, Vincent BM. Self-Reported Dementia-Related Diagnosis Underestimates the Prevalence of Older Americans Living with Possible Dementia. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;82(1):373-380. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201212. PMID: 34024819. PMCID: PMC8943904
Leggett AN, Strominger J, Robinson-Lane SG, Maust DT. Disparities in Health Care Task Participation and Provider Communication by Family Caregiver Race. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Apr 8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06766-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33830417. PMCID: PMC8971267
Skariah G, Albin RL. Repeat RNA Toxicity Drives Ribosomal RNA Processing Defects in SCA2. Mov Disord. 2021 Nov;36(11):2464-2467. doi: 10.1002/mds.28795. PMID: 34783387; PMCID: PMC8604384.
Moinuddin O, Khandwala NS, Young KZ, Sathrasala SK, Barmada SJ, Albin RL, Besirli CG. Role of Optical Coherence Tomography in Identifying Retinal Biomarkers in Frontotemporal Dementia: A Review. Neurol Clin Pract. 2021 Aug;11(4):e516-e523. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000001041. PMID: 34484950; PMCID: PMC8382404.
Safren N, Tank EM, Malik AM, Chua JP, Santoro N, Barmada SJ. Development of a specific live-cell assay for native autophagic flux. J Biol Chem. 2021 Sep;297(3):101003. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101003. Epub 2021 Jul 23. PMID: 34303705; PMCID: PMC8368035.
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