Dr. Vila-Castelar is a neuropsychologist at the Multicultural Alzheimer’s Prevention Program (MAPP), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and instructor at Harvard Medical School. She completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at Queens College, The Graduate Center (City University of New York), and her internship and postdoctoral fellowship in multicultural neuropsychology at MGH/Harvard Medical School. Her research has focused on examining risk and resilience to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, including sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and cultural factors. She was awarded an NIA K99/R00 grant in 2022 to examine the impact of sex hormones and endocrine history on the progression of autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease. Her clinical interests and expertise focus on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate neuropsychological services to diverse adult individuals with medical, neurological, psychiatric, and developmental conditions, including monolingual and bilingual Spanish-speakers, and non-English/Spanish-speaking adult patients, at the MGH Multicultural Assessment and Research Center (MARC). She also is involved in the training and supervision of clinical psychology interns and neuropsychology fellows. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, photography, and sharing meals with friends and family.
Dr. González Catalán is an Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School. She is also a bilingual clinical neuropsychologist, conducting evaluations with diverse adult patients at the MGH Multicultural Assessment and Research Center (MARC). She received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University. She then completed her psychology residency at Tewksbury Hospital and her postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Her graduate research looked at the interaction of psychiatric and medical comorbidities in individuals with neurocognitive disorders. Her clinical and research interests focus on aging, cultural neuropsychology, and neurodegenerative diseases. She joined the Lab in December 2022 and collaborates on ongoing MAPP projects with aging Latino populations. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to her home country of Spain, trying new restaurants, reading mystery novels, and playing table tennis.
Liliana Ramirez-Gomez, MD
Dr. Ramirez Gomez has been faculty at the Multicultural Alzheimer Prevention Program (MAPP)since its foundation in 2018 and is a member of the CADLAS (US Consortium of Aging, Dementia, and Latino Studies). Dr. Ramirez Gomez is the Clinical Director of the Memory Disorders Division at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and faculty in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. At MGH, Dr. Ramirez Gomez created a comprehensive neurology clinic focused on providing culturally sensitive care for Spanish-speaking patients. In 2023, Dr. Ramirez Gomez was the first woman from Latin America to receive the prestigious Norman Geschwind Award in Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology.
Her research goals are to identify preclinical biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and related dementias (AD/ADRD) and find ways to assist better underserved Spanish language populations with dementia, including patients and their caregivers. She received a minority diversity supplement from the National Institute on Aging to study whether changes in the ability to remember odors can serve as a novel specific biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease and understand the relationship between AD neuropathological changes and the onset of changes in olfactory function.
Dr. Ramirez Gomez also works on developing interventions to help improve emotional well-being and caregiver skills in Spanish-speaking family dementia caregivers. Dr. Ramirez Gomez completed a study of an adaptation of mentalizing imagery therapy intervention for Spanish-speaking caregivers. She found that it was feasible and acceptable, and there was a reduction in depression symptoms, perceptions of caregiver burden, and improved well-being. With the current support of the Alzheimer’s Association and the MADRC, she is working on developing virtual and mobile therapies for caregivers in English and Spanish.
She enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking and relaxing in nature [Click here to learn more]
Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez, PhD
Dr. Guzmán-Vélez is Assistant Professor at MGH and Harvard Medical School. She joined the Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2016 after completing her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa and internship in neuropsychology at the Boston VA. Her graduate research focused on examining the dissociation between declarative memory and emotions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). During her postdoctoral fellowship, she studied cognitive tests that are sensitive to the earliest brain changes in AD, as well as changes in functional connections in preclinical AD and their relationship to cognition and pathology burden. Her current research focuses on examining non-pharmacological and lifestyle factors that can reduce the risk for dementia. Dr. Guzmán-Vélez was awarded a NIA K23 grant (2019-2024) to investigate whether greater aerobic fitness may modify the course of AD and the underlying mechanisms (e.g. neuroinflammation). She is the Co-Director of the Sagrado-MIT Neuroscience Precollege Program, and an advocate for increasing diversity, inclusion and equity in STEM. She enjoys cooking, reading fiction, spending time with friends and family, traveling, dancing, and exercising.
Dr. Jennifer R. Gatchel obtained her MD/PhD from Baylor College of Medicine working with Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi studying molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. She graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from her medical school class, and received the Hilde Bruch Award for highest honors in Psychiatry. She was subsequently a Chief Resident in Psychopharmacology during her Psychiatry residency training in the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital Program. She went on to complete the Harvard Medical School (HMS) GeriatricPsychiatry Clinical Fellowship, and is currently an Instructor in Psychiatry at HMS and an Assistant Psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean Hospital.
Dr. Gatchel’s research is focused on understanding the relationships among Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)-associated proteins amyloid and tau, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive decline in the preclinical and prodromal stages of AD and related dementias. She is utilizing a combination of neuroimaging and detailed clinical and neuropsychological assessments, towards developing better prevention and treatment strategies for individuals at risk for AD. Dr. Gatchel is the recipient of the HMS Department of Psychiatry Dupont Warren Fellowship and Livingston Award, the BrightFocus Foundation Research Fellowship, and the Alzheimer’s AssociationClinical Fellowship. She received the 2016 New Investigator award in Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Neurodegenerative Diseases from the Alzheimer’sAssociation, and the 2017 Outstanding Emerging Research Scientist Award from the Bright Focus Foundation.
In her clinical role, Dr. Gatchel sees older adult patients with mood and cognitive disorders and utilizes transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression. She is passionate about advocating for patients with dementia and their families, promoting healthy brain aging and positive mental health and training the next generation of geriatric psychiatrists and clinician-researchers. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and sampling cuisines, being amused by her Russian blue cats, Cosmo and Whiskers, and pursuing the most beautiful beaches, near and far.