By Janissa Delzo
For the past year, Mohamad Habes, PhD has worked with Penn Memory Center (PMC) researchers to use emerging image analysis techniques to capture subtle brain changes for early recognition of aging and neurodegenerative disease effects.
“Mohamad is an extremely bright and innovative young researcher who is making increasingly important contributions to our understanding of vascular disease and its relationship to the aging brain and Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Dr. David Wolk, PMC co-director and Habes’ mentor. “While his training and expertise are focused on statistical and computational approaches to image analysis, he consistently applies these tools to answer compelling questions that have true clinical implications.”
Late last year, Habes and colleagues published a paper in the Neurobiology of Aging reviewing the use of machine learning to examine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from cognitively normal older adults. Specifically, they studied the heterogeneity of advanced brain aging by looking at both structural and functional changes.
“Our findings inform future studies aiming to better understand the neurobiological underpinnings of brain aging imaging patterns,” the authors concluded.
Although Habes joined the PMC team in March 2017, he has been at the University of Pennsylvania for about five years. Previously, he lived in Germany, where he received his Doctor of Natural Sciences of Medicine Degree in Medical Image Analysis from the University of Greifswald. Near the end of his PhD, he earned the Young Scientist Promotion Award from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation to conduct research on the aging brain in the Radiology Department at Penn. He was then appointed as an Instructor in the Department of Radiology in 2017.
The PMC scholars program was founded in 2016 to support researchers, fellows, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty whose career goals include cognitive health in aging. Habes credited Wolk and other PMC researchers with being particularly “helpful and open” during his time as a scholar.
“It’s rewarding to be able to work with interdisciplinary teams that have an understanding of the clinical as well as the translational science of dementia,” Habes said. “And their very intense understanding of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease markers.”
To learn more, visit https://pennmemorycenter.org/who-we-are/academic-opportunities/