Recently, Dr. Yakeel Quiroz and colleagues published a Nature paper describing an individual who was able to resist Alzheimer’s Disease. A rare mutation in Apolipoprotein E (APOE) may protect against dementia.
Dr. Clara Vila Castelar (seen in the stripped shirt) was awarded the Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship, which will allow her to continue her research for the next 3 years. She aims to understand why females are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Her approach is to investigate sex differences in cognition, pathology, and neurodegeneration in Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease as these individuals are destined to develop early-onset dementia without common age-related confounds that vary by sex.
Dr. Liliana Ramirez-Gomez received a diversity supplement from the NIA to a parent grant from the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (MADRC) directed by Dr. Brad Hyman, MD, PhD. This diversity supplement will support Dr. Ramirez-Gomez for two years and will enable her to (1) receive training from experts in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and biomarkers, (2) obtain pilot/preliminary data for a future grant application and (3) develop advanced skills in research, biostatistics and methodological approaches.
Dr. Ramirez-Gomez has proposed a research project that complements the aims of the parent grant, and that will draw on the parent center grant’s extensive resources. She will examine the relations between genetic, cognitive, neuroimaging measures, and their associations with risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Dr. Ramirez-Gomez will work closely with Drs. Yakeel Quiroz, PhD and Mark Albers, MD, PhD. She will further her expertise in brain disorders and neurodegeneration, while learning to integrate molecular, behavioral, cognitive and genetic data. Specifically, this study seeks to improve our understanding of olfactory and cognitive functioning in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, and how it relates to brain pathology, both structurally and functionally.
Nathalia Muñoz Giraldo studied psychology at the Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany and later obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical psychology and behavioral medicine at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. She participated in an internship at the Fundació ACE validating the Spanish tablet version of a neuropsychological tool (S-FNAME-12T), which evaluates memory changes along the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) spectrum. Her research has been focused on the relationship between personality changes during AD development. Nathalia aspires to keep working with the Latinx community on the development of new tools that are sensitive to detect cognitive decline at early stages. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends, going to the beach and music .
Jennifer Gatchel, MD, PhD, MGH psychiatrist, has been awarded the Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This is the highest honor that can be given to a junior faculty in Geriatric Psychiatry and is awarded to the individual who has made significant contributions to the field and has the potential to emerge as a future leader. The award was presented at the APA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on May 22 at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Presidential Symposium. Dr. Gatchel is also a winner of Best Poster Awards in Neuropsychiatric Symptoms at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, and she has been promoted to Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at HMS.
Dr. Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez was awarded a mentored patient-oriented research center development award (K23) from the National Institute on Aging in the summer of 2019. She will use state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques (e.g. MRI, PET), cognitive assessments, and gold-standard measures of aerobic fitness to characterize baseline and longitudinal relationships between aerobic fitness, markers of AD-pathology (e.g. amyloid and tau), network connectivity, and cognitive decline, as well as the potential moderating role of neuroinflammation, in a unique group of individuals with autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s disease due to a PSEN1 E280A mutation. In addition to working with the MAPP, Dr. Guzmán-Vélez will be co-mentored by Arthur F. Kramer from Northeastern University. She will also work closely with Drs. Steven E. Arnold from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), J. Andrew Taylor from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and HMS, Deborah Blacker from MGH and the Harvard School of Public Health, and Reisa Sperling from MGH and the Brigham and Women Hospital. This award will support her research for five years and will provide the training that she needs to successfully transition to an independent academic position.
Joshua Fox-Fuller was awarded a F31 NRSA from the National Institute on Aging to study working memory in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD). His research relating to this award will gather new fMRI task-based data in the Colombian PSEN1 E280A Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease (ADAD) cohort and will use other neuropsychological and neuroimaging data from the Colombian cohort and from the Harvard Aging Brain Study to look at 3 primary aims: (1) characterize working memory-related fMRI activation and connectivity in cognitively unimpaired ADAD mutation carriers and non-carriers; (2) investigate the relation between working memory, episodic memory, and Alzheimer’s Disease [AD] (PET) brain pathology in preclinical ADAD and sporadic AD; (3) examine the resting-state fMRI brain network integrity in working memory-related networks in preclinical ADAD and sporadic AD. In addition to working with the MAPP, Josh is co-mentored by Dr. Alice Cronin-Golomb through his PhD studies in clinical psychology at Boston University. This competitive pre-doctoral training mechanism will fund his remaining three years of predoctoral training, provides a training stipend, and provides funding to help expand his training-(e.g., conferences, workshops, equipment). Congrats, Josh!
Dr. Enmanuelle Pardilla-Delgado was accepted into a research training program for sleep, circadian, and respiratory neurobiology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. This multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary program accepts a total of 8 post-doctoral fellows and is supported by a T-32 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute within the National Institute of Health. Dr. Enmanuelle Pardilla-Delgado will be working with Dr. Jeanne Duffy, to learn more about sleep and circadian rhythms and how they relate to aging and neurodegeneration.