PIA Executive Committee:
Atypical Alzheimer's Disease
Chair: Femke H. Bouwman, MD, PhD
Femke Bouwman MD PhD, received her MD at Erasmus University Rotterdam The Netherlands in 1998. She completed her specialist registrar neurology training in The Hague in 2005 and subsequently worked on her thesis at the VUmc Alzheimer Center in Amsterdam. In 2008, she defended her thesis ‘CSF biomarkers in dementia: Longitudinal aspects and combination with MRI’. She was a general neurologist and staff member of the memory clinic in Catharina Hospital Eindhoven from 2008-2012 and has been working as Neurologist and staff member of Alzheimer Center VUMC in Amsterdam from 2012 till now. She has a special interest and (inter)national expertise in the clinical application of AD biomarkers. She reinforced her dedication to biomarkers by initiating projects that aim to yield new AD biomarkers: IREAD (imaging the retina for early diagnosis of AD) and PAGE AD (pathological substrate of clinical variability in AD). She is otherwise involved in many other projects in the Alzheimer Center involving Subjective Cognitive Decline, application of AD biomarkers in clinical practice (ABIDE) and other biomarker research including amyloid PET imaging, tau PET imaging and CSF biomarkers. She is initiator of the National Memory clinic Network in the Netherlands. She is member of the Scientific Panel Dementia and Cognitive Disorders of the EAN (European Acadamy of Neurology) and involved in several international projects on Amyloid imaging in dementia.
Vice Chair: Jennifer L. Whitwell, PhD
Dr. Whitwell is a Professor of Radiology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN and is co-director of the Neurodegenerative Research Group. She has focused her research career on the investigation of neuroimaging biomarkers in different neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and the frontotemporal lobar degenerations. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, of which 45 focus on utilizing neuroimaging to better understand the phenotypic variability present in Alzheimer’s disease. She has also published over 25 reviews, book chapters and editorials. Based on her accomplishments she has been awarded the Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator DeLeon award, the AFAR-GE Healthcare Junior Investigator Award for Excellence in Imaging and Aging Research and the Edward C. Kendall Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Research Award. Dr. Whitwell currently leads three R01 grants funded by the US National Institutes of Health. These grants perform cross-sectional and longitudinal multi-modality neuroimaging analyses using structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, resting state fMRI and molecular PET in atypical Alzheimer’s disease, progressive apraxia of speech and progressive supranuclear palsy.
Programs Chair: Rik Ossenkoppele, PhD
Rik Ossenkoppele, PhD, is an associate professor of translational neuroscience at the AUMC Alzheimercenter Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and at the Clinical Memory Research Unit at Lund University (Sweden). His research group utilizes various neuroimaging techniques (PET: Tau, Aβ, glucose metabolism; MRI: brain atrophy and functional connectivity) to study the Alzheimer’s disease spectrum, with a specific focus on disease heterogeneity and brain resilience. He has authored ~100 publications, of which many are focused on atypical presentations of AD including posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), logopenic variant primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) and the behavorial/ dysexecutive variant of AD. He was awarded the European Grand Prix for Alzheimer research (2019), the de Leon Prize in Neuroimaging (2017), and the Alzheimer’s Association Award for Excellence in Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (2014). He is an invited member of the Global Action Against Dementia European Young Leaders organized by the World Dementia Council and an associate editor for Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy. Current work includes further development of tau PET tracers towards clinical application, characterization of the behavioral variant of AD, elucidating and measuring resilience against AD pathology, and understanding the contribution of tau, Aβ and neurodegeneration to the clinical and neurobiological manifestation of AD.
Communications Chair: Keir Yong, PhD
Keir Yong Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist and Alzheimer’s Society Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London (UCL), UK. He co-leads the UCL longitudinal study of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), the so-called ‘visual variant’ of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). His work has emphasized practical translation of findings, emphasising phenotypic implications for care needs, symptom management and assessment, and implementing effective professional, patient and public engagement. His translational neuropsychological research has formed the basis of strategies and assistive technology to maximise reading, navigation and upper limb function in individuals experiencing dementia-related cortical visual impairment (Alzheimer’s Society, Dunhill Medical Trust) and in understanding visual and other sensory influences on spatial orientation (Alzheimer’s Society). Keir has developed symposia, workshops and professional training materials on PCA through national (Royal College of Occupational Therapists; Vision UK) and international organisations (World Federation of Neurology; World Federation of Occupational Therapists). Recent international collaborative work has included evaluating purported biomarkers and progression in PCA and typical AD.
Junior Trainee: Baayla Boon, MD, PhD Candidate
Baayla Boon, MD is a PhD candidate at both the Alzheimercenter Amsterdam and the department of pathology at the Amsterdam UMC (the Netherlands). She is in the final year of her PhD and on the pursue to understand the pathologic heterogeneity in (clinical) AD subtypes. During her PhD she set up a prospective cohort of AD brain donors who undergo an in-situ 3T MRI after death. Using this data, she tries to translate the neuropathological findings to the clinic via MRI. Other current projects she is working on involve the analysis of various Aβ deposits using different imaging techniques including state-of-the-art 3D confocal laser scanning microscopy and label-free spectroscopy techniques such as FTIR and Raman combined with laser-capture-microdissection-assisted proteomics to gain a deeper understanding of what is actually happening on a cellular level. To do this, she works closely with collaborators from other (foreign) institutes, such as the dept. of Anatomy and Neurosciences (Amsterdam UMC), dept. of Molecular Cell Biology at the VU (the Netherlands), dept. of Neurology at the university of Bonn (Germany) and the dept. of Biophysics in Bochum (Germany). She was awarded a 2-year fellowship by the Dutch Alzheimer Association to collaborate in the near future with dr. Melissa Murray (Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville) to continue their work on the pathology in (a)typical AD.
Immediate Past Chair: Melissa E. Murray, PhD
Melissa E. Murray, Ph.D., is a translational neuropathologist in the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Murray holds the academic rank of Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Her research focuses on investigating the heterogeneity of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Murray uses a multi-disciplinary approach to uncover neurobiologic differences underlying atypical and typical neuropathologic subtypes of AD and the relevance to clinical presentations observed antemortem. She received an R01 from the National Institute of Aging and an Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to continue to pursue her research on atypical AD. Dr. Murray has published more than 140 scientific papers with the bulk of her studies centered on identifying the clinicopathologic characteristics and neuroimaging biomarkers of AD and related disorders. She currently serves as Chair for the International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment’s Atypical Alzheimer's disease Professional Interest Area group.
In recognition of her work, Dr. Murray has received numerous awards and honors, including the Health Care Hero Award conferred by the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2013. This journal also listed Dr. Murray as one of the Top 40 under 40 in Jacksonville in 2014. She was selected as one of the top five early career investigators in AD by the Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s disease and given the distinction as the International Franz Nissl Young Investigator in Neuropathology granted by the International Society of Neuropathology, with both awards conferred in 2014. For her work in multi-disciplinary studies in neuropathology and neuroimaging, she was awarded the early career investigator de Leon Prize in Neuroimaging by the Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium in 2016. Recently, she was named on the “The Power List” by The Pathologist journal.