Dr Beth Shaaban
Place of work / study:
University of Pittsburgh, USA
Area of Research:
Population Neuroscience of Alzheimer’s Disease
How is your work funded?
A T32 training grant. This is a grant which the National Institute on Aging at the United States National Institutes of Health granted to the Principle Investigators at my university. PhD students and Postdocs go through a competitive selection process to be given a position funded by this program.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a population neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health working with mentors Drs. Bill Klunk and Ann Cohen. I am also a University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center OSCAR Scholar working with the Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ORE) Core. I completed my PhD in epidemiology in Dr. Caterina Rosano’s lab, where I trained in advanced neuroimaging of cerebral small vessel disease and population neuroscience of aging. I integrate the methods of epidemiology, data science, neuroscience, and psychology to study vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using a population neuroscience framework. My future work involves applying a population neuroscience approach to evaluate whether there are gender / sex differences in the cerebral small vessel disease-to-AD pathophysiological cascade. My aim is to gain insight into gender/sex-based intervention targets to reduce AD and promote brain health equity.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I am a beginning salsa dancer, although I probably need to re-learn everything I had learned right before the pandemic hit. I also love to learn languages.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
My mom was a nurse. When I was little, I loved to go with her to the nursing home where she worked, and I made good friends with some of the residents. When I was a bit older, one of my own grandmothers became demented. At the time, I didn’t understand why she thought I was my mother and why she was telling the same stories again and again. I only fully understood how complex and beautiful the brain is by seeing what happened when it stopped working the way it originally had. When I graduated from my undergraduate degree, I was hired as a neuropsychometrist for an Alzheimer’s research center, and I adored the study participants and their care partners as well as the multidisciplinary faculty and staff I worked with. I have been working in the field ever since, and as I currently interview for faculty positions, I am excited at the prospect of contributing to the field as the head of my own research program.