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. Roy H. Hamilton is an Associate 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 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 medicine, inclusion, and health equity. He is one of the Assistant Deans for Diversity and Inclusion at the Perelman School of Medicine and the inaugural Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania.
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.
Research Physician Assistant
Sharon joined Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Research Physician Assistant. Her primary duty is to assist the team of neurologists, geriatricians, neuropsychologists, and social workers to develop innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Sharon’s role is also to assist the Penn Memory Center physicians in the care of their patients, in the PMC clinic at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.
Sharon graduated with a Master’s Degree from the Physician Assistant Program at Drexel University in 2003. She has served as Academic Director and Full-time Faculty in PA Programs both here in Pennsylvania and in Florida. She trained in the specialty of Neurology with Abington Neurological Associates, and she assisted in the development of a novel Inpatient Teleneurology Program with faculty and the Senior Director of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University.
Sara Manning joined the Penn Memory Center as a clinical fellow this summer, but she has been with the Perelman School of Medicine since 2010, completing her Master’s in Cell and Molecular Biology and Doctor of Medicine.
Sara hails from Boston, Massachusetts and received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude prior to moving to Philadelphia. She became interested in dementia because of its ability to change not only how people feel, but who they are. Dementia presents a unique challenge, inflicting recurrent loss as the disease progresses, forcing family members to repeatedly adjust to a “new normal.” She’s excited to explore her interest in narrative medicine and listen to caregiver, physician, and patient stories to enhance the treatment and caregiving experience.
Sara is also currently working on a book about molecules that hijack the brain, under contract with W.W. Norton.
Dr. Lauren McCollum is a Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Clinical Fellow in the Penn Memory Center. She received her medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She remained in Philadelphia for an Internal Medicine internship at Pennsylvania Hospital, followed by Neurology residency training at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During medical school, her research focus was on metaphor comprehension under the mentorship of Anjan Chatterjee, MD, and during residency she researched abnormal eating behaviors and other clinical findings in progranulin-associated frontotemporal dementia in collaboration with David Irwin, MD. Now that she is part of the Penn Memory Center, Dr. McCollum is undertaking research in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Before beginning her medical career, her main interest was in writing poetry, and she possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from Princeton University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University in Creative Writing – Poetry. Dr. McCollum endeavors to apply the creativity, compassion, and communication abilities that she honed on her non-traditional path to medicine as she engages in the care of patients and their families in the Penn Memory Center.
Hishen Dang (Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific) is a fellow in the Division of Geriatric Medicine.
Emily Fessler (Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania) is a fellow in the Division of Geriatric Medicine.
Mariana Gonzalez (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine) is a fellow in the Division of Geriatric Medicine.
Arushi Kapoor, MD, began a year-long Geriatric Psychiatry fellowship in 2019. She completed her psychiatry residency at Howard University Hospital, Washington D.C., where she earned “Outstanding Resident Service” and “Psychiatry Senior Resident Research” awards. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at UC Davis, California and a combined Masters and Medical degree at Saba University School of Medicine. Throughout her residency, she was in leadership and advocacy roles as the Resident Fellow Representative at the local APA chapter and leader of the Committee of Interns and Residents. She has presented at several national and international conferences including APA, AAGP, and BPA. Her research interests are in collaborative and access to geriatric psychiatric care. She is especially excited about working in Penn’s Collaborative Care Project under Dr. Joel Streim.
Rose Onyeali (University of Virginia School of Medicine) is a fellow in the Division of Geriatric Medicine.
Senthil joined is a Geriatric Psychiatry Fellow in 2019. He grew up in Madurai, India, and graduated from Madurai Medical College in 2009, where he developed a strong interest towards psychiatry. Senthil went on to complete his psychiatry residency training at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, in 2013. Senthil also recently completed a four-year psychiatry residency at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. His research interests include neuromodulation and geriatric depression, and he’s excited to begin working with nursing home populations.
Penn Memory Center Scholars
Cara Kiernan Fallon, PhD, MPH is a Penn Memory Center Scholar. Dr. Fallon completed a PhD in the History of Science at Harvard University and an MPH at the Yale School of Public Health. Her doctoral dissertation, “Forever Young: The Social Transformation of Aging in America Since 1900,” examined the rise of the healthy aging practices in the twentieth century alongside evolving relationships between medicine, public health, the commercial marketplace, and aging Americans. Prior to her doctoral work, she earned a master’s degree in public health at the Yale School of Public Health and completed her undergraduate degree in the History of Science/History of Medicine at Yale University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Her postdoctoral research analyzes ethical and policy issues surrounding caregiving, quality of life, and concepts of health in old age.
Mohamad Habes, PhD, is a Penn Memory Center Scholar and an Instructor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Habes obtained his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Stuttgart, Germany in 2008. He completed in 2010 a master’s degree in Medical Computer Science from Dortmund and the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich Research Center, Germany. By the end of 2014, he obtained a Doctor of Natural Sciences of Medicine Degree in Medical Image Analysis for large-scale population studies from the University of Greifswald in Germany. To the end of his PhD, he achieved the Young Scientist Promotion Award of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation to conduct research on novel neuroimaging techniques for the aging brain in the Radiology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2017, he was appointed to the position of Instructor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Habes leads an interdisciplinary research program whose translational scope includes medical image analytics and population neuroscience. Dr. Habes has been playing a leading role in a large consortium, named iSTAGING, which brings together more than 15,000 MRIs into a big-data-analytics paradigm aiming to characterize typical brain aging. Dr. Habes also leads efforts to relate deviations from typical brain aging with cognition, genetic risk factors, and clinical risk factors. This is one of the largest efforts internationally to leverage advanced analytics to characterize the heterogeneity of brain aging. Moreover, Dr. Habes has particular interest in the role of cerebrovascular disease in advanced brain aging and dementia.
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 an Instructor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. She is a clinical psychologist and a researcher with the Penn Project on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB). Dr. Stites studies the ethical, legal, and social challenges of advances in precision medicine for neurological and psychiatric diseases.
She studies advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease dementia and their impact on individuals with the disease and their family members. Dr. Stites uses a patient-centered approach, studying the experiences of persons who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and those participating in Alzheimer’s prevention research, to understand ways to promote quality of life and psychological wellbeing in individuals living with the disease. She hopes to determine what changes may be needed in both clinical care and public policy to promote safe and effective translation of advances from research into routine care.
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 psychological assessment with a special focus on the role of diversity in inclusion in clinical practice and representation in research.
Clarise Ballesteros is a social work intern at the Penn Memory Center pursuing her Master of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Davidson College with a B.S. in Psychology. Previously, Clarise managed a Developmental Psychology lab at Yale University. At PMC, she will provide counseling, education, and support for patients and families.
McEllen Lawrence is a social work intern at the Penn Memory Center. Currently, she is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a master’s in social work. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology and art history from Sewanee: The University of the South. At PMC, she will provide support to patients and their families and will also be involved in the Memory Café and Caregiver Support Group.
Alison Lynn, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and the Associate Director of Social Work at the Penn Memory Center. Alison has been at the PMC since 2015 providing support, education, and psychotherapy to patients and families affected by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. Alison also plans and runs PMC programming such as its monthly Memory café, twice-yearly Caregiver Class, and monthly caregiver support groups; and supervises master’s level social work interns from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Alison holds a B.A. in sociology from Kenyon College and a Master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her social work training at the Penn Memory Center and the Penn Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. Prior to her work in Philadelphia, Alison worked in admissions at a continuing care retirement community for military officers in Washington, DC.
Katherine Maddente is a social work intern at the Penn Memory Center. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, pursuing her Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in aging. She graduated from American University in 2013 with B.A. in psychology. After graduation, she worked in outpatient mental health and briefly in cognitive training. At the PMC, Katherine will provide education, counseling, and support to families.
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.
Rachel Mis, MA, is a doctoral student in clinical psychology with a focus in neuropsychology at Temple University. She is currently completing a practicum placement at the Penn Memory Center, performing clinical and research neuropsychological assessments. Her research interests include the cognitive correlates of everyday functional abilities and the identification of behavioral markers of risk for functional decline. Prior to graduate school, she received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rice University.
Rachel Butler Pagnotti is a pre-doctoral neuropsychology intern at the Penn Memory Center. She is a clinical psychology doctoral student at Widener University, with a concentration in neuropsychology and forensic psychology. At PMC, she will be involved in neuropsychological assessments with clinical and research patients. Her research interests include how neuropsychological testimony influences members of the court system. Rachel received her Masters in cognitive neuroscience from Durham University in England and her bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from Saint Joseph’s University.
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.
Mitali Purohit joined Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She administers cognitive and neurological assessments to research participants and patients. Prior coming to PMC, Mitali worked at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she was involved in clinical trials for a smoking cessation study for schizophrenia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mumbai University and has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Chatham University, Pittsburgh.
Maramawit Abera joined the Penn Memory Center in December 2018 as a Research Coordinator for Dr. Karlawish. She is a graduate student in the Master of Public Health program at the University of Pennsylvania, with an expected graduation date of December 2019. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Societies and a minor in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2018. After earning her MPH, she plans to attend Law School.
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 PMC, Melissa worked at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies on several studies in the field of addiction. Her primary focus was running a clinical trial using paced breathing to reduce drug and alcohol cravings. She also served as the volunteer coordinator for the Cardiac Neuroscience Laboratory and assisted in data analysis and image processing. Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in cognitive science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and is looking forward to pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education in the near 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.
Kristin joined the Penn Memory Center in 2007. As Research Program Manager, Kristin oversees the research and administrative activities of the Penn Program on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB). Kristin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Public Health Program in 2017. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Truman State University.
Meg Kalafsky is the program coordinator for the Time Out program, which is being run between Penn Memory Center and Temple’s Intergenerational Center. Meg earned her bachelors of Psychology and Sociology from Duquesne University in 2011. Time Out is an intergenerational respite program providing college students the opportunity to serve older adults with companionship level care needs.
Melissa Kelley joined the Penn Memory Center in 2019 as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the ABC MRI study. Prior to working at Penn she was an aide for Occupational Therapists at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. As an undergraduate research assistant she worked on research involving TMS as an intervention for stroke patients. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2016.
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.
Sean Lydon is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Goal-Directed Behavior (GDB) app study, a collaborative project under Dr. Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton and Dr. Lauren Massimo of the Frontotemporal Degeneration Center. He joined Neurology department in 2018. Previously, Sean worked in the Department of Psychiatry on continuum of care for individuals addicted to alcohol. He earned a BS in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently enrolled in a post-bacc program here at the University of Pennsylvania. Sean will pursue a PhD to study neurodegenerative diseases and a career in research.
Sidnei McCrea joined the Penn Memory Center in 2019 has a Research Coordinator for the ABC study. She graduated with a degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Prior to joining the team, she served as a research coordinator for the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). This past academic year, Sidnei completed at post-baccalaureate program at Temple University and will begin medical school there in the fall of 2020.
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.
Mitali joined Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She administers cognitive and neurological assessments to research participants and patients. Prior coming to PMC, Mitali worked at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she was involved in clinical trials for a smoking cessation study for schizophrenia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mumbai University and has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Chatham University, Pittsburgh.
Laura joined the Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator and is currently working on the LEADS and Pegasus studies. Before coming to PMC, Laura worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she focused her research on exploring approaches to optimize treatment for individuals with comorbid mental illness and HIV/AIDS. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Anthropology from Lehigh University and has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University.
Grace Stockbower, MPH is a Clinical Research Project Manager at the Penn Memory Center. She joined PMC in 2013 as a research specialist for Dr. David Wolk. Now, Grace is involved in the project management and study coordination of the Biogen, Pegasus and LEADS trials. She received a BS in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Haverford College in 2013, and earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.
Olivia joined the Penn Memory Center in July 2019 as a Research Coordinator. She graduated from Brown University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Biology with a focus on brain and behavior. As an undergraduate, she worked at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island as a Clinical Research Assistant on an infant nutrition study, as well as a Research Intern at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Association in New York City. She also completed the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Bryn Mawr College in the spring of 2019. Olivia plans to attend medical school in the near future.
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.
Terrence Casey is the communications and marketing manager for the Penn Memory Center, the Penn Program on Precision Medicine for the Brain, the Healthy Brain Research Center, and the Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program.
He is the editor of InSight newsmagazine and the weekly InSight newsletter. He designed and manages the Penn Memory Center website; Making Sense of Alzheimer’s, a creative space for understanding the past, present, and future of Alzheimer’s disease; My Typical Day, allowing older adults living with mild cognitive impairment to document their lives as they address their condition; Whealthcare, which describes a paradigm of merging the banking and financial sector with healthcare; and 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.
Carlos Thomas is a communications and outreach intern at the Penn Memory Center.
Danny Yarnall comes to the Penn Memory Center from Syracuse University, where he received his bachelor’s in Newspaper and Online Journalism and worked for the Institute of Veteran and Military Families. He’s written for International Musician, a monthly magazine for the American Federation of Musicians, and produced video projects on an adaptive soccer team in Central New York and a quirky floating bookshop in London.
He’s interested in writing and multimedia journalism focusing on health, the arts, and where they intertwine. Originally from Chalfont, Pa., Danny is excited to be working with the Penn Memory Center on its editorial projects like Making Sense of Alzheimer’s and InSight.
Lauren Bennett joined the Penn Memory Center in 2018 as a patient services associate. Prior to joining the PMC team, she worked for a prominent law firm, helping disabled citizens fight to get their social security benefits. She is currently studying nursing, with plans to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse.
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.
Kate Dildy is an ethics research assistant for Dr. Emily Largent at the Penn Memory Center. She contributes to work on the legal and ethical considerations in end-of-life care for people with dementia, with a focus on policy that improves individual autonomy and family wellbeing. Previously, she has contributed to economics and ethics research by synthesizing theories from bioethics to support arguments about the ethics of vulnerability in a commercial context, coordinating a behavioral health economics study comparing behavioral interventions aimed at improving medication adherence, and managing a year-long thinktank project studying and measuring the scope of the global sharing economy.
Kate is studying philosophy with a minor in statistics at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on ethics and theories of justice. At PMC, she hopes both to develop a deeper understanding of how legal and ethical considerations of vulnerable populations can drive ethics as a whole and to develop capacities to center aging on conversations about life values.
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.
Jeanine Gill is a research assistant intern at Penn Memory Center. She is a current MPH student at the La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences and is most interested in research involving data collection, statistical analysis and health planning for disadvantaged populations. Jeanine earned her BSc from Loyola University Maryland. Her knowledge garnered from research activities and volunteer work in various health organizations has inspired her to pursue a career in Epidemiology. She aspires to identify and analyze health issues to help develop policies that promote health equity for groups in need.
Kimmy joined the Penn Memory Center in Fall 2018 as a researcher for the center’s My Typical Day Project. In September 2019, Kimmy began working as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton’s lab. She is in her final undergraduate year, finishing a B.A. in Cognitive Science, with a concentration in Neuroscience. She is in preparation to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a specific interest in Neuropsychology.
Kimmy will be assisting Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton with a project focused on improving early detection of cognitive decline through neuropsychological assessment. She is excited to continue pursuing her long-time interest in neurodegeneration and cognitive health at the Penn Memory Center!
Leah Zuroff is a medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also completing a Master of Science in Translational Research concurrently with her MD degree. Her research at the Penn Memory Center focuses on the relationship between subjective memory complaints, objective impairment, and risk of cognitive decline in the aging population. Leah earned her bachelor’s degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013.
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. Barg, 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. Barg 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 Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on creating and testing theory-based health messaging. Dr. Bleakley has worked on messaging projects about sugary drink consumption, sun protection, and encouraging health care visits to support cognitive health. She also studies youth and media, specifically investigating media effects on adolescent health risk behaviors as well as general media use among youth and entertainment media content. Risk behaviors of interest include sexual behavior, alcohol use, STD/HIV prevention, and obesity-related behaviors. Dr. Bleakley has methodological and statistical expertise in survey research and structural equation modeling, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Children and Media and the Journal of Sex Research. 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, and the Journal of Adolescent Health. She received her M.P.H. and Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University.
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).
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 a Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics 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.