PIA Executive Committee:
Design and Data Analytics
Chair: Michael Donohue, PhD
Dr. Donohue co-leads the Alzheimer's Clinical Trial Consortium (https://www.actcinfo.org/) biostatistics unit and is Associate Director of the Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute (https://keck.usc.edu/atri/) at the University of Southern California. He has worked as a study biostatistician for Alzheimer’s observational studies and clinical trials since 2005, including the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Dr. Donohue's lab develops and applies novel statistical models to help design, simulate, and execute efficient clinical trials that are robust to missing data. He helped design the first intervention in asymptomatic AD, the Anti-Amyloid Treatment for Asymptomatic AD (A4; in collaboration with Eli Lilly), and its primary outcome measure, the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC). Dr. Donohue’s methodological interests include novel models of the long-term trajectories of key markers of Alzheimer's (from pre-symptomatic to late-stage dementia), including multivariate outcome models, latent-time models, and Bayesian hierarchical models.
Vice Chair: Ana Capuano, MPS, MS, PhD
Dr. Capuano is associate professor of neurological sciences and faculty statistician of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Capuano received her PhD from the University of Iowa. She has made wide-ranging contributions to statistical methods that are applied to modeling cognitive decline, depression scales and other outcomes of Alzheimer's research. For over 14 years, she works as a biostatistician in collaboration with psychologists, infection diseases scientists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuroscientists and other researchers in the development and application of modern statistical methods in epidemiological studies and clinical trials. She authored over 68 original peer-reviewed publications, cited in 3,356 times by Nov/2019. She also has book chapters in the area of statistics and study design. Capuano’s methodological interests include non-linear mixed model, as well as constrained ordinal class of models and extensions.
She has taught several courses in statistics and currently serves as director in several educational initiatives such as the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Neuroepidemiology Seminar and the Rush University Medical Center Biostatistics Intramural Group Discussions and Peer-to-Peer Education. She also serves in advisory boards and as reviewer of grants and scientific papers.
Programs Chair: Kelvin Tsoi, PhD
Dr. Kelvin Tsoi is an Epidemiologist specialized in Digital Health, serving as associate professor in Division of Epidemiology at JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also the President of the International Society for Digital Health. His research focus on digital innovation in chronic disease management, including telemonitoring for hypertension management, digital screening for dementia, and artificial intelligent application on electronic health records. He has developed a digital platform with the application of machine learning to screen for dementia with real-time drawing behaviour of interlocking pentagons. This work was presented in AAIC and just successfully filed in the US and China patent registrations. He is also an experience researcher in evidence-based medicine. He published a meta-analysis to compare diagnostic performance of the majority types of dementia screening tests in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research highlighted the choices of screening tests beyond the general practice with MMSE for dementia and MoCA for MCI.
Communicatons Chair: Lisa Vermunt, MD, PhD Candidate
Lisa Vermunt now works as postdoctoral researcher at the clinical neurochemistry lab of prof. Teunissen at Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands. Her research focusses on disentangling Alzheimer disease progression by applying diverse traditional and modern methodological approaches to clinical, fluid biomarker and proteomic measurements. Thereby, she is still affiliated to the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam for clinical work and the European Prevention of Alzheimer Dementia (IMI-EPAD) project. For education she completed her education cum laude, and obtained a bachelor degree in Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam, cum laude, and a Medical degree at the same university. Highlights included a semester at McGill University in Canada. During her PhD research under guidance of prof. Visser, dr. Tijms, and prof. Scheltens in the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, on the (IMI-EPAD) project she was responsible for the Amsterdam site of the EPAD Registry and Cohort. Her scientific work initially focused on recruitment science, and later on disease modeling in predementia stages, with a special interest in autosomal dominantly inherited Alzheimer disease. In 2018, she visited Washington University (St. Louis) to perform research on the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) cohort supported by a grant of the Dutch Alzheimer Association. So far, Vermunt’s work led to several international oral presentation and first author publications.
Steering Committee Member: N. Maritza Dowling, PhD, MS
N. Maritza Dowling is an assistant professor of biostatistics and research in the George Washington University (GWU), Washington, DC, Departments of Acute & Chronic Care and Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She currently serves as the associate research director for the Center for Aging, Health and Humanities in the School of Nursing at GWU and is a co-founder of the newly developed GWU Institute for NeuroCognition and Dementia. Her research focuses on how biological, social, and life course risk factors influence cognitive decline and dementia-related brain changes in older adults. Her methodological research has aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying increased risk for neurological diseases, the neural substrates of cognitive processes, and the heterogeneity of changes differentiating normal from pathological aging. Her recent research has focused on measurement issues in the longitudinal assessment of health constructs and cognitive function and the optimization of outcomes measures for patient selection for clinical trials and early diagnosis and detection of disease progression. Prior to joining GWU, she was the co-Director of the Biostatistics and Data Management Unit at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She completed her Ph.D. and post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Immediate Past Chair: Graciela Muniz Terrera, PhD
Dr. Muniz Terrera is a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Centre for Dementia Prevention where she works in collaboration with colleagues in the EPAD (European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia) and the IALSA (Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Ageing) network of longitudinal studies of ageing and dementia.
Graciela completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, MRC Biostatistics Unit. Following her PhD she worked in Cambridge for several years before moving to University College London where she was a Lecturer and Programme Leader Track at the MRC Lifelong Health and Ageing Unit. Her research has been supported by various funding bodies, including the MRC Career Development Award in Biostatistics, the Alzheimer's Society and the IALSA Programme Grant from the US National Institute of Health.
She has extensive experience developing and applying longitudinal methods to gain a better understanding of ageing and dementia. She is also interested in harmonisation methods for evidence synthesis and reproducible research.