Penn Memory Center Leadership
Dr. Jason Karlawish is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board-certified in geriatric medicine.
Dr. Karlawish is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Senior Fellow of the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives, fellow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging, Director of the Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program, Associate Director of the Clinical Core and Co-Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, and Co-Director of the Penn Memory Center. He is also Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core. In addition, he directs the Penn Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Brain Research Center, a member of the CDC-supported Healthy Brain Research Network dedicated to surveillance, education, awareness, and empowerment that promotes brain health.
He is also the project leader of makingsenseofalzheimers.org, a creative space for understanding the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease. Produced by the Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program and the Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania; and made possible by a startup grant from MetLife Foundation, the website launched in September 2014. Making Sense of Alzheimer’s is an evolving forum for conversation about the disease. Its collection of ideas captures the many dimensions of Alzheimer’s, through the perspective of caregivers, patients, artists, researchers and clinicians. Utilizing multi-media formats such as slideshows, video, and audio clips, along with written stories, the site explores the changing understanding of what Alzheimer’s is and how it affects our ethics and ideas of personhood.
His research focuses on neuroethics and policy. He has investigated issues in dementia drug development, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision-making, and voting by persons with dementia. To learn more about his research and scholarship, visit www.jasonkarlawish.com. Dr. Karlawish also writes a recurring column for Forbes that can be found at www.forbes.com/sites/jasonkarlawish/.
Dr. Karlawish is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Dr. David Wolk is an Associate Professor of Neurology in the Cognitive Neurology Division of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board-certified in Neurology.
Dr. Wolk is the director of the Clinical Core and co-associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center and is co-director of the Penn Memory Center. He completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University, a Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and clinical Fellowship training in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He also completed a post-doctoral research fellowship studying memory in Alzheimer’s Disease there. Prior to his return to Penn, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and their Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Dr. Wolk’s research has focused on memory measures and other markers that allow for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One of the major challenges in the diagnosis of very early Alzheimer’s disease is differentiating the memory failures associated with the normal aging process from those reflecting early AD pathology. As such, his research currently focuses on memory changes in healthy aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and AD using Event-Related Potentials (a form of EEG), MRI (including structural and functional measures), and novel psychometric testing. It is hoped that these methods will contribute to early detection and intervention with emerging treatment modalities.
Dr. Wolk is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Felicia Greenfield is the executive director of the Penn Memory Center. She earned a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and completed her clinical training from the University of Pennsylvania’s Section of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2011. Greenfield joined PMC in 2006 and previously served as the director of clinical research operations and care programs. Felicia oversees clinical research operations at the Center. She supervises master’s level social work interns from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and provides counseling and education about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to patients and their families.
Dr. Bollampally, of Wall Township, NJ, joined the Penn Memory Center in 2015 as an instructor in the Division of Geriatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
She earned her B.A. in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania, received her medical degree at the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine (formerly UMDNJ) and completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency year at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
Dr. Bollampally completed her Geriatrics Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Roy H. Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board certified in neurology.
He graduated from Harvard University Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in Medicine and Health Sciences Technology. He completed residency in Neurology and a fellowship in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, both at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
In addition to evaluation and care he provides patients through the Penn Memory Center, Dr. Hamilton is actively engaged in neurology research. The central aim of his research is to define the mechanisms and limits of functional plasticity in the intact and injured adult human brain. As the co-director of the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation at Penn, Dr. Hamilton uses a combination of behavioral measures and noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), to elucidate structure-function relationships related to normal cognition and to promote therapeutic reorganization of neural representations of cognitive functions in individuals who have suffered from stroke.
Outside of his research, Dr. Hamilton teaches medical students and neurology residents in multiple venues and is the associate director of Penn’s Clinical Neurosciences Training Program. Dr. Hamilton is also deeply involved in issues related to diversity in graduate and medical education, and has spearheaded curricular enrichment initiatives for underrepresented students and trainees at the post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels.
Sanjeev Vaishnavi, MD, PhD is an assistant professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine. He is board certified in Neurology, and has fellowship training in cognitive neurology with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases.
Dr. Vaishnavi graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Applied Biology and then studied medicine (M.D.) and doctoral training (Ph.D. in Neuroscience) at Washington University in St. Louis as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He then came to the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine to train in Neurology, including a UCNS-certified fellowship in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.
Dr. Vaishnavi specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia, including Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions, and training medical students, neurology residents, and fellows to be the next generation of leaders. His research has focused on using advanced imaging techniques including functional connectivity MRI and PET to understand learning and aging related changes in the resting human brain, and at the Penn Memory Center, he does clinical research to discover better ways to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on early diagnosis and prevention.
Dr. Vaishnavi is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Riddhi Patira joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a clinical fellow after completing an internship and her neurology residency at Temple University Hospital from 2013-2017. She was Chief Resident at Temple in last year of her residency, during which she played a critical role in shaping the education for medical students and residents.
In this fellowship, she has developed skills to become a well-rounded cognitive neurologist for management of neurodegenerative disorders. Riddhi has research interests in the incorporation of biomarkers into the clinical trial design to develop better treatment options for neurodegenerative disorders. At Penn Memory Center, she is our site clinician for ongoing clinical trials and assists in the enrollment and clinical evaluation of research participants. She also has training in conducting research including clinical trials and hands-on expertise in statistics.
Seetha Chandrasekhara joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a geriatrics psychiatry fellow to gain clinical experience in the treatment of memory disorders.
Seetha received her bachelor’s of science degree from Lehigh University in behavioral neuroscience. She then went on to get a master’s in urban bioethics from Temple University Graduate School, and an MD from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. She completed her residency in psychiatry at Temple University Hospital.
Seetha is looking forward to getting a better understanding of how clinical trials are designed, and receiving more clinical training to broaden her skills as a clinician and educator.
Elisabeth Collins joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 a Geriatrics Fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine.
Elisabeth completed her undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University, where she majored in Biology and double-minored in Spanish and Chemistry. Elisabeth then graduated from the Sidney Kimmel College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, in 2014. Elisabeth was a University of Pennsylvania family medicine resident from 2014-2017, serving as chief resident for the last two years.
Though Elisabeth is a board-certified family-medicine physician, she discovered through her residency her passion for caring for the aging population, which was her impetus to join PMC as a geriatrics fellow. Elisabeth hopes to hone the ability to manage the complex social and medical needs of this population while incorporating patient-centered and family-oriented care.
Radha Yerneni joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a Geriatrics Fellow.
After graduating from Siddhartha Medical College in India, Radha completed a mandatory rotatory internship at Gandhi Medical College & Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad, India. After extensive medical training in India and working as a primary care physician, obstetrician, and gynecologist for rural villages, Radha moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana, to be an observer of different practices.
Most recently prior to joining the Penn community, Radha was a resident of internal medicine at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, where she was exposed to the geriatric population, giving her a better understanding of the population’s needs, including: reducing the burden of the caregiver, decreasing the incidence of hospitalizations, and keeping patients healthy to ensure a good quality of living. Radha said of her interest in geriatrics: “every time I interacted with a geriatric patient, putting a smile on their face gave me immense pleasure and gratification.”
Yue “Zoe” Zhao joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a Geriatrics Fellow. Zoe completed her undergraduate degree and medical school at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She then completed her internal medicine residency at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
Zoe is looking forward to developing a repertoire of geriatric care skills through the resources at Penn to be an effective health-care provider to the aging population.
Penn Memory Center Scholars
Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN is an Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine and a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Dr. Largent studies the ethics of human subjects research. Her current research focuses on the ethics of paying research participants for their contributions to clinical research and on the ethical and regulatory implications of integrating clinical research with clinical care. Her work — which combines normative, empirical, and legal methods — has been published in the Hastings Center Report, the American Journal of Bioethics, and the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, among other journals. She co-authored Clinical Research Ethics Consultation: A Casebook (Oxford University Press).
Dr. Largent received her Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Prior to that, she received her BS in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and completed a fellowship in the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.
Karolina Lempert, PhD joined the Penn Memory Center in 2016 as a Penn Memory Center postdoctoral scholar. She received her bachelor’s degree in neurobiology at Harvard and her Ph.D. in psychology at NYU. Dr. Lempert is working on studies looking at how changes in episodic memory with aging might lead to changes in economic decision-making. Her doctoral dissertation was about the role emotion plays in economic decisions. Dr. Lempert is looking forward to applying what she learned in her higher education to the geriatric population in order to learn more about the neuroscience of decision-making.
Shana Stites, PsyD, MA, MS is a clinical psychologist and quantitative researcher. She is a Senior Research Investigator within the Penn Project on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB). In this role, Dr. Stites works with P3MB investigators to lead and conduct studies addressing ethical, legal, and social challenges that arise in the context of precision medicine for neurological and psychiatric diseases. Dr. Stites earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College and MA in Sociology from Lehigh University. She completed her internship at Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. Her clinical concentration was in neuropsychology with special interests in multicultural competency and applied research.
Laura Wisse, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at Penn who works with Dr. David Wolk and Dr. Paul Yushkevich from the Department of Radiology. Her main interests are imaging of the medial temporal lobe in aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Major Depressive Disorder. She is involved in the development of new tools for assessing medial temporal lobe structures, but she is also interested in investigating how these medial temporal lobe structures relate to aging, disease and cognitive functions, such as memory. Dr. Wisse is part of the Penn Image Computing and Science Lab and the Hippocampus Gang led by Dr. Paul Yushkevich.
Dr. Wisse received her PhD in Neuroscience and MSc in Epidemiology from Utrecht University in The Netherlands in 2014. She also obtained an MSc in Psychology from Leiden University in The Netherlands in 2010.
Alison is a licensed social worker and the Assistant Director of Care Programs at the Penn Memory Center. Alison earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, and completed her clinical training at the Penn Memory Center and the Section of Geriatric Psychiatry. Alison provides counseling, education and individual psychotherapy to patients and their family caregivers, and supports PMC’s Memory Café, Caregiver Class, and monthly support groups. Alison also works to recruit and schedule participants for the NACC research program.
Lauren Zelouf is a social worker at the Penn Memory Center. Lauren recently completed her Master of Social Work degree and Penn Aging Certificate at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors of Science in Human Development & Family Studies and minors in Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Vermont in 2015. Lauren looks forward to providing support to patients and their families in processing their diagnoses and connecting them to resources throughout their disease trajectory.
Kendra Andrew joined the Penn Memory Center in 2018 as an intern for Dr. Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton. She is primarily involved in the Memory Game study, but looks forward to assisting with other research projects. She completed her BS degree with a double-major in biology and psychology in 2015 from The College at Brockport, SUNY, and is currently a master’s student at Villanova University studying experimental psychology. Following graduation, Kendra plans to attend a doctoral program in clinical psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology to further explore neurodegenerative disease.
Hyun “Monica” Kim joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a neuropsychology practicum student. In this role, Monica will administer neuropsychological assessments to patients and research participants and will assist Dr. Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton with the Cognitive Fitness Program.
Monica, a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Boston University, earned her Master of Science from Korea University in neurobiology and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California San Diego.
Monica is interested in translational research in the context of cognitive rehabilitation to enhance cognitive and emotional functioning in the aging population. Monica is particularly interested in exploring the role of sleep in neuropsychological outcomes. Her previous research involved cross-sectional and longitudinal association between sleep/sleep disorders and structural MRI and neuropsychological performance in various epidemiological settings.
During her time at PMC, Monica is hoping to deepen her knowledge in neurodegenerative and memory disorders and gain experience in delivering cognitive and behavioral interventions that will help individuals who experience cognitive impairment.
Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton joined the Penn Memory Center in 2012. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and director of Cognitive Fitness Programs and Neuropsychological Services at the Penn Memory Center. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology with a concentration in neuropsychology from Drexel University. She completed her internship at Brown University and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton’s research and clinical work focuses on neuropsychological assessment and cognitive and behavioral intervention in patients with cognitive impairment. She is involved in ongoing clinical trials at the Penn Memory Center, is a collaborator on multidisciplinary research projects, and supervises trainees from clinical psychology doctoral programs in the Philadelphia region.
Emma is a doctoral student in clinical psychology, specializing in neuropsychology, at Temple University. She is currently completing a clinical practicum at the Penn Memory Center, performing neuropsychological assessments with clinical and research patients and helping to facilitate the Cognitive Fitness Program. Her research interests include the influence of sociocultural and health factors on cognitive aging, as well as executive dysfunction in older adults. She earned a BA in psychology from Kenyon College in 2007 and an MA in counseling psychology from Northwestern University in 2009.
Jillian Tessier is a doctoral student at Drexel University studying clinical psychology, with a focus in neuropsychology. She is currently completing a clinical practicum at the Penn Memory Center, performing neuropsychological assessments with clinical and research patients. Her research centers on the impact of sleep problems on cognition, emotional processing, and vocational outcomes in traumatic brain injury. Jillian earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012.
Kayci is a doctoral student at Drexel University studying clinical psychology, with a focus in neuropsychology. Her research has focused on consistency in decision making in adult populations and rehabilitation techniques to regain cognitive functioning after brain injury. In the future, she hopes to continue this line of research with the goal of improving rehabilitation outcomes and treatment recommendations for individuals experiencing cognitive decline. Prior to joining the Penn Memory Center as a neuropsychology practicum student, Kayci earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Drexel University and her bachelor’s degree in behavioral neuroscience at the University of Kansas.
Hannah has been a psychometrist at the Penn Memory Center since 2004. She administers cognitive testing to patients and other research participants at the PMC, and conducts testing at outreach sites such as the Ann’s Choice Retirement Community in Warminster, PA. Hannah also coordinates the Stress, Cognition, and Resilience Study. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in History and Philosophy.
Laura joined the Penn Memory Center in 2015 as a psychometrist. She administers cognitive assessments to patients and research participants. She graduated from the University of the Sciences in 2015 with a BS in Psychology and hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in the future.
Marianne Watson, senior research nurse, has been with the Penn Memory Center since 1993. Marianne conducts screening evaluations and assessments of research participants, handles a wide range of research recruitment, and provides patient and family support. She has extensive clinical experience with the dynamics of the Alzheimer patient and their family.
She manages key aspects of our NACC program including the normal control cohort, our brain donation program, and biological samples collection. She is also involved in various aspects of our diagnostic and investigational drug trial research.
Marianne’s commitment to research extends beyond her professional role at the PMC. She is a long-time participant in the Harvard Nurses Health Study II, the size, duration and scope of which is unmatched in the history of women’s health research.
Benjamin Bear joined the Penn Memory Center as a research coordinator in 2017. He is currently doing qualitative data collection and analysis for the SOKRATES II study, working with Kristin Harkins, MPH, to understand why individuals decide to share or not share their APOE genotype, a gene used to predicted risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, he manages the Penn Memory Center’s Brain Health Research Registry and coordinates My Typical Day, a photography project that allows older adults living with mild cognitive impairment to document their lives as a means of increasing public awareness about cognitive impairment. Benjamin earned his B.A. in Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2014, and his Master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2017.
Martha joined the Penn Memory Center in 2010 after working at Sanofi Aventis as a Clinical Project Assistant and elsewhere as a research coordinator on psychiatric studies. Currently, as a Senior Research Coordinator, she works with patients and families completing several studies including IGIV, LFAN and GE005. She also guides the efforts of her assigned research coordinators, and manages interaction between the PMC and the Penn Institutional Review Board (IRB), the body which regulates protocol and conduct of university research studies. Martha has a BS from Boston College and an MS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) – Hartford Graduate Center campus.
Melissa joined the Penn Memory Center in 2018 as the clinical research coordinator for the REVEAL-SCAN study. Before coming to the PMC, Melissa was a research assistant at another research institution, where she was involved in several studies in the field of addiction. Her primary focus was a clinical trial involving reduction of drug and alcohol cravings with paced breathing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in cognitive science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Melissa is looking forward to furthering her career in clinical research and exploring graduate studies in the future.
Matthew Ferrara joined Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator working on the NACC study. Before coming to PMC, he was a Clinical Research Assistant at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction. Matthew earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuropsychology from Penn State University in 2016. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in the Counseling and Mental Health Services program at Penn and hopes someday to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology to continue working in the field of neurodegenerative disease as well as traumatic brain injury.
Michelle Gordon joined the Penn Memory Center as a Clinical Research Coordinator in 2018. She is currently working on the LEARN study and recruiting potential research participants. Prior to joining the PMC, Michelle worked in Philadelphia providing education on child abuse prevention to parents and conducted monitoring and evaluation activities and research on violence against children at Drexel University. Michelle earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Public health from Temple University in 2012 and a Master’s of Public Health from Drexel University in 2016, where she concentrated in Community Health & Prevention. She hopes to continue her education in psychology or social work in the future.
Kristin joined Dr. Karlawish’s research team in 2007. She works on the SOKRATES I & II interview studies; the REVEAL-SCAN study; and other activities for the Penn Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Brain Research Network Center, a member of the CDC-supported Healthy Brain Research Network, dedicated to surveillance, education, awareness, and empowerment that promotes brain health that promotes brain health. She graduated from Truman State University with a major in psychology and minors in statistical methods and English. Kristin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Public Health Program in 2017.
Jonnie joined the Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She graduated from Ursinus College with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience in 2014. Prior to joining the PMC, Jonnie served as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania on projects targeting cognitive deficits in people living with HIV. Jonnie is currently working on the Generation study. She plans to continue an education in Neuroscience and pursue a career in research.
Jackie Lane joined the Penn Memory Center in 2017 as a Research Specialist for Dr. David Wolk. Jackie is a research coordinator for the NACC-TPI (the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center) and NACC-API studies, which are comprehensive research efforts collecting ongoing individual data from participants in order to research Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and life-long brain health. Jackie attended Swarthmore College for her undergraduate studies, receiving dual degrees in biology and cognitive science. Jackie is looking forward to building her research experience at the Penn Memory Center. In the future, Jackie also hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
Jessica began working at the Penn Memory Center part-time while a high school student. She now coordinates studies, currently including ADNI 2 and Pfizer-Bapi; conducts screenings and administers psychometic testing to Spanish-speaking patients and study participants, and assists as needed with patient visit flow. Jessica is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.
Arun joined the Penn Memory Center in September 2015 as a research specialist for Dr. David Wolk’s studies. Before joining PMC, he worked in mental health settings for two years as a mental health counselor under the supervision of licensed psychiatrists. Arun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from William Paterson University in 2012 and attended a graduate program at Temple University’s School of Social Work before switching his career path to medicine. He is also a post-baccalaureate student at Penn and plans to attend medical school in the near future.
Karletta Poland is the Penn Memory Center Coordinator of Diversity in Research and Education. In this role, she will oversee the center’s multicultural recruitment, with a particular focus on the African-American community in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) study. She also represents PMC at West Philadelphia community events to educate community leaders about Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive health and to maintain PMC’s Brain Health Research Registry, a recruitment tool for current and ongoing research studies.
The Philadelphia native comes to PMC with a history of educating and building relationships with the West Philadelphia community and with over eight years of experience working with underserved and underrepresented high school students. She most recently worked as the Associate Director of the University of Pennsylvania Upward Bound TRiO Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, where she assisted low-income, first-generation high school students of color in the local Philadelphia area as they applied for college. She has also previously worked as a nutrition educator in the Philadelphia School District, teaching local youths and their families how to develop healthy lifestyles.
Karletta holds an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Wilmington University, an M.S.Ed. in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum and Higher Education concentration from Drexel University’s School of Education, and a B.S. in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from Temple University’s School of Education.
Grace joined the Penn Memory Center in June of 2013 as a research specialist for Dr. David Wolk. She is currently working as a clinical research coordinator on the Biogen study. She also does work on the Avid, ASL-PET and EmPCAD studies. She received a BS in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Haverford College in 2013, and she completed the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Public Health Program in 2017.
Loren joined the Penn Memory Center in 2015 as a Clinical Research Assistant. She has worked in various clinical research positions for more than 10 years. Loren has her medical assistant certificate and an AS in culinary arts, and she is studying medical billing and coding.
Allison comes to PMC after earning her bachelor’s degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the University of Rochester. In college, she worked in an Alzheimer’s disease lab at the Rochester School of Nursing.
She plans to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant or physician, focusing on geriatrics or neurology.
Erin Alessandroni is an editorial intern at the Penn Memory Center and works with Communications and Marketing Manager Terrence Casey. This fall, she will be a senior at The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Public Relations with a Certificate of Business and a minor in Global Studies. There, Erin is the Communications Strategist for the Service Enterprise Engineering program. She also has a passion for broadcasting and serves as an anchor on both CommRadio and PSN TV. Erin writes for a online news organization called The Tab, focusing on campus events. She looks forward to pursuing a communications career that allows her to foster her creativity and knowledge.
Terrence Casey is the communications and marketing manager for the Penn Memory Center, the Healthy Brain Research Center, and the Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program.
He is the editor of InSight, the Penn Memory Center print newsmagazine, and various public e-newsletters. He designed and manages www.pennmemorycenter.org, the Penn Memory Center website; www.makingsenseofalzheimers.org, a creative space for understanding the past, present, and future of Alzheimer’s disease; www.mytypicalday.org, allowing older adults living with mild cognitive impairment to document their lives as they address their condition; www.whealthcare.org, which describes a paradigm of merging the banking and financial sector with healthcare; and www.stopelderexploitation.org the new website for the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force. Additionally, he plans and executes the annual Research Partner Thank You Luncheon for PMC research participants, as well as other study information sessions throughout the year. Terrence oversees a team of editorial assistants and freelance contributors to produce these projects.
Terrence graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in journalism and worked as a journalist and editor before joining PMC in 2015.
Joyce Lee is an editorial assistant at the Penn Memory Center and works with Communications and Marketing Manager Terrence Casey. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Princeton University in 2017 and is currently on a gap year further exploring her interests in medicine, journalism, and science writing. She plans to continue to medical school and pursue a career as a physician-writer in the future.
Kaleah McIlwain is an editorial intern at the Penn Memory Center and works with Communications and Marketing Manager Terrence Casey. She is a rising senior at The Pennsylvania State University–University Park campus where she is majoring in Print and Digital Media Journalism with minors in Political Science and Global Studies. At Penn State she is involved in many organizations whose mission includes representing diverse audiences such as the Student Minority and Advisory Recruitment (S.M.A.R.T) team and The Underground where she is the editor for the identity section. Kaleah has a special interest in capturing the human experience and hopes to combine her communications skills with her global knowledge to be able to travel around the world and continue covering diverse audiences.
Denille Carrington is a patient service associate at the Penn Memory Center. She graduated with a B.S. in health policy and administration from Pennsylvania State University in December of 2017. She hopes to continue her education with a master’s degree in public health.
Courtney Coulter joined the Penn Memory Center in 2016 as a new patient care coordinator for the Penn Memory Center. With a background in customer service, Courtney has spent more than four years overseeing medical records, managing physician credentialing, and interacting with patients on a daily basis at a nursing and rehabilitation center. She earned her associate degree in business administration in 2013 and a BS in health administration in 2015, both from Gwynedd Mercy University. Courtney hopes to pursue a master’s degree in health administration.
Olivia Bernal is a dual degree MD-MPH student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She was introduced to the Penn Memory Center while taking a course on the public health challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive ageing taught by Dr. Jason Karlawish. She then joined the Penn Memory Center to complete an independent study project and her MPH fieldwork. This summer, she will be working on community outreach with a focus on diverse research recruitment efforts. She will be graduating from medical school in 2019 and will pursue a residency in Internal Medicine. Following residency, she will complete a fellowship in Geriatrics. Ultimately, she hopes to practice Geriatric medicine in an academic setting.
Mariya is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying the Biological Basis of Behavior. She joined the Penn Memory Center in September 2017 as an independent-study student and will intern full-time this summer under the MindCORE Undergraduate Summer Fellowship. Mariya is currently working with Drs. David Wolk and Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton on the Memory Game study, and she helps with various neuroimaging studies at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.
Carlos is a public health intern at the Penn Memory Center. In this role, he assists with managing and analyzing qualitative data from interviews with individuals learning about their risk for Alzheimer’s disease to identify interventions that can improve their quality of life and reduce stigma. Carlos graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Health and Societies in 2017 and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania. He is interested in promoting health equity through bridging research and community engagement efforts that address the social determinants of health to inform policy and community-level interventions.
Shae Chambers, of Kailua, HI, joined the Penn Memory Center in 2016 as a clinical intern in the NACC study. She is an undergraduate student from the University of Pennsylvania and will be graduating in the Spring of 2019. Shae is majoring in the Biological Basis of Behavior and also conducts research in CHOP examining the neurological effects of repetitive brain injury on memory.
Rachel Fromer is a research intern at the Penn Memory Center. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in sociology with a concentration in health and medicine, minoring in statistics. Through her work at the Penn Memory Center, she hopes to gain an understanding of stigmas related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and is particularly interested in the health outcomes and experiences of family caregivers. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.
Stefanie is a rising fourth year DO student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. During her time at PCOM, Stefanie also completed a Master’s degree in Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She maintains a special interest in bioethics medical education in both didactic years as well as clinical rotations and has published on this topic. Additionally, Stefanie has a passion for studying the interaction between the field of gastroenterology and neurological disease—in particular, the effect of the microbiome on neurological processes and pathology. With Dr. Shana Stites, she is currently looking at the evolution and current state of dementia research and the interaction between gut microbiota, amyloid and Alzheimer’s disease. Stefanie hopes to pursue a residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Gastroenterology.
Sara Hachey first joined the Penn Memory Center in 2014 as a research assistant on Dr. Karlawish’s team. She has worked on data analysis and reporting for the SOKRATES interview studies, CDC-supported brain health messaging study, and other related projects. Sara graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a major in Human Biology, Health and Society and a minor in Gerontology and is now pursuing her medical degree at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. She hopes to serve as a Neurologist with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases.
Danielle is a public health intern at the Penn Memory Center. In this role, she assists with the center’s diverse-research initiatives and helps facilitate the Dance for Health program, an intervention to promote brain health through intergenerational connections. Danielle graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in biological basis of behavior in 2016. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in promoting health equity through efforts to increase the participation of under-represented minorities in research and to inform policy interventions through research on the social determinants of health.
Project Management & Strategic Support
Dr. Kathryn Jedrziewski, Deputy Director of Penn’s Institute on Aging (IOA) since 2001, also serves as Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC) Administrator. In that role, she is active in a nationwide network of fellow Center administrators on issues relating to the administration of NIH/NIA funds.
Dr. Jedrziewski received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. She has worked in gerontology and geriatrics for the past thirty years.
Business & Administrative Support
Maria joined Penn in 2007 as an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry Section and took on support for Penn Memory Center administrative matters in 2008 under former director Dr. Steven Arnold. In May 2015, Maria took over as administrative coordinator to co-directors Dr. Jason Karlawish and Dr. David Wolk. She handles all administrative issues and assists in project management, event coordination, and financial activities for the PMC. She has an AS degree in Business Administration from Peirce College.
Information Technology & Database Management
Chris Ernst joined the Penn Memory Center as Data Manager in 2016. He is also the Senior Database Developer for the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research.
Chris received his undergrad degree at the University of South Carolina in 2011. He studied Information Management and Systems. Chris is hoping to earn his master’s degree in the future.
Chris is looking forward to streamlining and updating the Integrated Neurodegenerative Disease Database (INDD) as well as planning new software and hardware systems to assist CNDR, PMC and other associated centers and projects in their research goals.
Frances K. Berg, Ph.D., M.Ed. is a Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Perelman School of Medicine. Her focus is in medical anthropology, and she is currently looking at community concerns related to asbestos exposure, contextual factors affecting the uptake of mental health services, and implementation science. Dr. Berg earned her B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University, her M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Amy Bleakley is a senior research scientist at the Annenberg School for Communication. Her research focuses on investigating media effects on health risk behaviors and using theory to create evidence-based health interventions. Specific content areas of interest within mostly adolescent populations include sexual behavior, tobacco use, STD/HIV prevention, and obesity-related behaviors, as well as media use and exposure. Dr. Bleakley has methodological and statistical expertise in survey research, structural equation modeling, and theory testing. Dr. Bleakley’s research has been published in numerous academic journals, including American Journal of Public Health, Pediatrics, JAMA Pediatrics (formerly Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine), Journal of Sex Research, Journal of Health Communication, Health Education and Behavior, Journal of Adolescent Health, and Media Psychology. She received her M.P.H. and Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She is assisting with the Messaging study.
Dr. Sandhitsu Das is a research assistant professor of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine. His research broadly focuses on studying pathology and normative brain function at a macroscopic level through the use of non-invasive imaging. His current work aims to develop and validate imaging technologies to explore brain structure and function at a finer spatial resolution than is typically achieved.
Dr. Das is currently co-directing a project on the development of image acquisition and analysis techniques for high-resolution imaging of the medial temporal lobe at 7 Tesla. In addition, he is involved in a project that uses resting-state BOLD fMRI to study brain networks that have dissociable connectivity with subregions of the medial temporal lobe. This project looks at evidence of involvement in anterior vs. posterior MTL networks, as well as networks within the MTL, in prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. He is also involved in a project that looks at MTL subregional morphometry using high-resolution structural MRI now available as part of the ADNI2 (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative) study.
Dr. Das holds a Ph.D. in neuroengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Christos Davatzikos, Ph.D. is the Wallace T. Miller, Sr. Professor of Radiology and Electrical and Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and in the Perelman School of Medicine. As Director of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis, Christos is interested in many areas related to medical image analysis and computing, including image segmentation and registration, multiparametric image analysis, as well as the use of machine learning and pattern recognition in medical imaging. His group is affiliated with many clinical studies employing imaging as a biomarker of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, diabetes, and cancer. Dr. Davatzikos earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the National Technical University of Athens and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
John A. Detre, M.D. is Professor of Neurology and Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine where he is founding Director of the Center for Functional Neuroimaging in the Department of Radiology and serves as Vice Chair for Research in Neurology. He received his bachelors and medical degrees from Yale, completed fellowships in biophysics at both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania, and completed neurology residency at Penn, where he has been on the faculty since 1993. Dr. Detre is also among the core faculty of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, currently serving as interim co-director of this Center.
Dr. Detre has been continuously funded by NIH since 1993 and is the author of over 250 original manuscripts. Drawing upon his interdisciplinary training, collaborations, and leadership skills, Dr. Detre has provided core support for neuroimaging research on the Penn Campus through an NIH funded P30 Center Core in Neuroscience Neuroimaging that is now in its eleventh year and through the Center for Magnetic Resonance and Optical Imaging, where he leads a core on imaging brain structure and function. Dr. Detre has also been extremely active in mentoring of trainees from both biophysical and biomedical backgrounds. He has been the recipient of a Mid-career Award in Patient Oriented Research and Mentoring and an NIH training grant in neuroscience neuroimaging. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of an NIH training grant targeting the career development of academically oriented neurology residents and fellows, and he serves as a mentor for several trainees and junior faculty at Penn and neighboring institutions pursuing careers in biomedical neuroimaging.
Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH is George A. Weiss University Professor, Professor of Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine, Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center. She is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute on Health Economics, the Center for Public Health Initiatives, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She was previously at Emory University (2004-2009), the University of Hawaii (1993 to 2004), and Temple University.
Joe Kable, Ph.D. is the Baird Term Associate Professor of Psychology at Penn. Research in his lab is concerned with how people make choices, and the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying decision-making. This work combines approaches from experimental economics, the psychology of judgment and decision-making, and social and cognitive neuroscience.
Recently Dr. Kable has used fMRI to show how the subjective value people place on immediate and delayed rewards is represented in a common neural currency. Some broad questions motivating his current research include: How seriously do people’s choices deviate from rational choice theory, and what do the neural value signals in such situations help explain about these deviations? How does decision making differ across individuals, and what are the sources—psychological, genetic, neural—of such individual differences?
Dr. Kable earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Emory University and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of Pennsylvania.
Kameron is a Research Specialist working with Dr. Karolina Lempert, assisting in her research on episodic memory and decision making in older adults. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2017 from the University of Michigan, where he studied biopsychology, cognition, & neuroscience. He hopes to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.
Corey McMillan, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Group and Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Dr. McMillan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from Temple University, a Masters of Science in Psycholinguistics from the University of Edinburgh, and a Ph.D in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh.
Dr. McMillan’s research focuses on identifying cognitive and biological markers of neurodegenerative diseases like frontotempoeral lobar degeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. His cognitive research focuses on the social and decision-making mechanisms that contribute to language processing deficits associated with neurodegenerative diseases. His biological research uses neuroimaging, genetics, and biofluids in an effort to improve early diagnosis and predict which protein is causing a disease in patients. Dr. McMillan’s biomarker research leverages sophisticated bioinformatic and statistical approaches to integrate multiple data sources in effort to identify precision medicine approaches for treating individual patients. Ultimately Dr. McMillan intends to integrate cognitive and biological tests to develop powerful methods for identifying patients for entry into clinical trials and for measuring the efficacy of drug treatments in the context of clinical trials.
Dr. Moberg serves as the consulting faculty neuropsychologist for the Penn Memory Center / Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). He is also consulting neuropsychologist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Dr. Moberg is an Associate Professor of Neuropsychology in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Otorhinolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is the Director of Clinical Services for the Brain-Behavior Laboratory (BBL) in the Neuropsychiatry program and is the Co-Director of the Olfaction and Gustation Laboratory in the BBL.
He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology/ Neuropsychology from the University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School and completed an internship and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Moberg is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) of APA, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA), and the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN). He is board certified in Clinical Neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
Kaylee Naczi is a genetic counselor who recently joined the University of Pennsylvania to work with families affected by FTD, ALS, and other neurogenetic conditions. Kaylee received a BA from Loyola University in Chicago and graduated from Arcadia University just outside of Philadelphia with her MS in Genetic Counseling last year. She has dedicated her education to specializing in adult onset neurodegenerative conditions, completing clinical rotations both at the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and in Neurology here at Penn. Kaylee began her career at the University of Iowa coordinating their Huntington’s Disease clinic and doing genetic research for individuals with inherited sensorimotor neuropathies. As a genetic counselor, she speaks with patients and families about questions or concerns related to the genetics of FTD, ALS or other neurogenetic conditions.
Pamela L. Sankar, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sankar has a B.A. from the University of Michigan in History of Ideas. She began her graduate training in Anthropology and Communications at Boston University and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. She pursued post-doctoral training in health services research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with a fellowship awarded by the Veteran’s Administration. Dr. Sankar’s research interests have included medical privacy and confidentiality, ethical and cultural implications of genetic research, research ethics, and genetics and race. Dr. Sankar’s research and scholarship have been funded by the Ayer Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, and National Institutes of Health.
Dr. John Trojanowski is the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr. MD Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Co-Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR); Director, Institute on Aging & Director (IOA); Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center; and Director, Penn Udall Center for Parkinson’s Research
In addition, he co-directs the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer’s Program established in 2004. He is the principal investigator on the Penn Biomarker Core of the NIH/NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a landmark study launched by the National Institute on Aging to find methods for monitoring the progression of AD and improving methods of imaging, and the validation of biomarker data. Dr. Trojanowski is responsible for the neuropathology cores in several studies in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the nation and Parkinson’s disease research projects.
Dr. Trojanowski’s work is exclusively neuropathology research-related; he does not conduct patient appointments.
Jordan Weiss is completing a joint PhD in Demography and Sociology and a master’s degree in statistics at Penn. He is interested in studying how life course histories shape trajectories of health with a focus on risk factors for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Jordan graduated from the University of Southern California with a BSc in Economics and Mathematics in 2012. Before coming to Penn, he worked as a statistician in the Center for Health and Community at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Sharon Xie is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Biostatistics Core of Penn’s Alzheimer’s DIsease Core Center (ADCC).
Dr. Paul Yushkevich is an associate professor in the Department of Radiology and a member of the Bioengineering Graduate Group. His research focuses on developing novel computational methodologies for the analysis of biomedical imaging data.
Dr. Yushkevich is particularly interested in analysis techniques that are tailored to specific anatomical structures. His key work in this area involves automatic segmentation and morphometry of the hippocampal formation (HF) in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The HF plays a central role in memory function and is a site of early neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Yushkevich holds a Ph.D. in computer science from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.