Place of work / study:
UCSF Memory and Aging Center & UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Area of Research:
Neuropathology, Stress & aging neurobiology, Evolutionary medicine
How is your work funded?
Fellow, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley; Fellow, UC Berkeley + Stem Cell Center; NIA/NINDS/NIMH grants awarded to PIs
Tell us a little about yourself:
I started at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center as a staff researcher in the lab of Prof. Lea T. Grinberg in 2013. There, I developed interests in the factors that influence selective vulnerability and resilience at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and the neuropsychiatric manifestations associated with those stages. I now have dual roles as a researcher in the Grinberg lab and as a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Integrative Biology in the lab of Prof. Daniela Kaufer at UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. My primary interests are in the evolutionary and life history factors that influence early patterns of selective vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
My research interests in natural history and comparative neurology have given me a chance to study carnivores like otters in the field in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sometimes hiking and scuba diving for research is more fun than pipetting assays in the lab.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
When I was getting started in research, the idea of working on something really intractable felt meaningful. I got lucky to have a good set of mentors off the bat that showed me how to love working in the dementia field and I haven’t regretted it a second. A year into becoming a dementia researcher, my grandfather developed signs of AD so I’ve also had the experience of watching someone close to me progress with the disease while I learned more and more about it academically.