Meet some CTSA Program brain researchers!

Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month June 2021

June is National Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness month. Scientists supported by the CTSA Program are contributing important research to help patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Click on the boxes below to learn more about what these researchers are studying and how the CTSA Program is impacting the field of neuroscience.

Headshot of Dr. Alberto Ramos
Dr. Alberto Ramos

Former KL2 scholar at the Miami Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Ramos was recently awarded a five-year $13 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the impact of obstructive sleep apnea on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in Hispanic adults. His current research builds on the work he did as a KL2 scholar.
Headshot of Dr. Oanh Meyer
Dr. Oanh Meyer

Former KL2 scholar at the University of California Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC)

Meyer's research aims to understand and reduce the burden and disparities related to Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias for culturally diverse populations. She recently organized a “mini-medical school” to serve Sacramento’s Vietnamese community and also serves on the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease Prevention & Preparedness.
Headshot of Dr. Orly Lazarov
Dr. Orly Lazarov

Former pilot awardee at the University of Illinois Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)

Lazarov's research is aimed at understanding the mechanism underlying cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease. Her lab focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of hippocampal plasticity, particularly hippocampal neurogenesis in relation to behavior, cognition and Alzheimer’s disease.
Headshot of Dr. Rui Zhang
Dr. Rui Zhang

Co-investigator at the University of Minnesota Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Zhang's research aims to better understand what lifestyle factors contribute to Alzheimer’s by using artificial intelligence — specifically, natural language processing — to analyze large sets of patient medical records.
Headshot of Dr. Ukpong Eyo
Dr. Ukpong Eyo

Scholar mentor at the integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV)

Eyo researches what effect microglia, immune cells that reside in the brain, have on blood flow in the brain. His research suggests that microglia can be manipulated to regulate blood flow, which indicates the possibility for a new approach to resolve impaired blood flow function in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Headshot of Dr. Emily Rogalski
Dr. Emily Rogalski

Former KL2 scholar at the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS)

Rogalski studies primary progressive aphasia, a condition in which neurodegenerative disease invades the language network. She also studies SuperAging, which describes individuals who are seemingly resistant to the changes in memory associated with typical cognitive aging.
Headshot of Dr. Ganesh Babulal
Dr. Ganesh Babulal

Member of the Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS)

Babulal is the principal investigator on a National Institute on Aging grant and researches how depression, preclinical Alzheimer's and antidepressant use affect driving behavior in older, cognitively normal adults. To prepare to submit this grant, he participated in an ICTS Mock Study Section and was subsequently funded on his first submission.
Headshot of Dr. Erik Roberson
Dr. Erik Roberson

Associate scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)

Roberson studies barriers to optimal clinical care for African American patients, who are at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. A study from January 2021 found that African American patients are underrepresented in Memory Disorders specialty clinics, and are less likely to have PET neuroimaging or dementia-related medications ordered.
Headshot of Dr. Kimberley Bruce
Dr. Kimberley Bruce

KL2 scholar at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI)

Bruce's lab investigates how lipids are processed in the brain, and how this may be targeted to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Feng Vankee Lin headshot
Dr. Feng Vankee Lin

Former KL2 scholar at the University of Rochester Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Lin received a KL2 Award to study whether computer-based cognitive training could prevent functional decline in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. She was also awarded a 2017 UR CTSI Incubator grant that helped lay the foundation for a Brain Aging Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Headshot of Dr. Julia Sheffler
Dr. Julia Sheffler

KL2 scholar at the University of Florida-Florida State University Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program hub

Scheffler researches how psychotherapeutic strategies can improve adherence to nutrition and lifestyle interventions for individuals at increased risk for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Her current pilot study focuses on motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral strategies to promote adherence to Mediterranean ketogenic nutrition.
Dr. Liana Apostolova headshot
Dr. Liana Apostolova

Researcher using a single IRB via the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Apostolova is the principal investigator for the Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study (LEADS), investigating early on-set Alzheimer’s disease through the utilization of a single IRB funded by the Indiana CTSI.