PIA Executive Committee:




Chair: Betty Tijms, PhD

Betty Tijms, PhD, is an associate professor at the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam at the Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands. She obtained a PhD in Neuroinformatics at the University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is fascinated by the brain’s capability to learn and adjust itself in health and disease. To study interindividual differences in such processes, she invented methodology to measure grey matter networks using MRI in single individuals. At the Alzheimer center Amsterdam, the work of her group focusses on studying the relationship of changes in brain networks and cognitive decline as well as CSF biomarker alterations in AD.

Vice Chair: Renaud La Joie, PhD

Renaud La Joie graduated with a Master's degree in Neuroscience from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and a PhD under the supervision of Dr Gaël Chételat in Caen, France, where he trained in multimodal imaging and dementia research. Dr La Joie then spent a year with Bill Jagust at UC Berkeley before joining Gil Rabinovici at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in March 2016. His current work is focused on PET imaging of abnormal protein deposits in neurodegenerative disorders, and is supported by an Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship. Dr La Joie received young scientist awards from the Alzheimer's Association and the Human Amyloid Imaging Conference.

Education Chair: Laura Wisse, PhD 
Laura Wisse is an assistant professor at Lund University, Sweden. She obtained her PhD from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, in 2014, after which she did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research centers on aging and neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, where she aims to gain a better understanding of underlying disease mechanisms and contribute to the development of better biomarkers. A large part of her work is focused on the medial temporal lobe (MTL) because it is a hotspot for neurodegenerative pathologies, where she is deeply invested in the development of methods to more accurately measure MTL subregions. She is also member of ISTAARTs advisory council and of the steering committee of an international effort, the Hippocampal Subfields Group, aiming to develop one harmonized protocol for the measurement of MTL subregions.

 Communications Chair: Samuel Lockhart, PhD

Dr. Lockhart, an Assistant Professor at the Wake Forest Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), is an early career investigator examining neuroimaging and cognitive biomarkers of aging and disease in ADRC cohort studies, and co-leader of the Wake ADRC Neuroimaging Core. Dr. Lockhart has been deeply engaged with the Alzheimer’s Association through volunteer and outreach work for most of his professional career. As a Junior Scientist Member of the Neuroimaging PIA Executive Committee, Dr. Lockhart will work to ensure that Neuroimaging PIA goals are defined, communicated, and achieved. He will seek to promote and enhance collaborations with other PIAs, and aid in the development of fellow junior investigators in the field of neuroimaging of aging and AD. Dr. Lockhart will also strive to promote the results of publications and presentations by PIA members. 

Steering Committee/Senior Scientist: Karunya K. Kandimalla, PhD

Dr. Karunya Kandimalla is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. He is well-recognized for his expertise in drug delivery, nanotechnology, and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics modeling. Kandimalla lab employs imaging methods to investigate amyloid beta trafficking kinetics at the blood brain barrier (BBB) in Alzheimer’s brain, and to develop nanotheranostics for the diagnosis and treatment of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Moreover, Kandimalla Lab integrates molecular imaging with systems physiology modeling to investigate pathophysiological mechanisms contributing to BBB dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease and type-2 diabetes.

 Steering Committee/Junior Scientist: Adam Mecca, MD, PhD

Adam Mecca is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit. Dr. Mecca graduated from the University of Florida M.D.-Ph.D. program in 2012. He then continued his clinical and research training as a psychiatry resident in the Yale Neuroscience Research Training Program before completing his geriatric psychiatry fellowship at Yale. Dr. Mecca and his collaborators conduct observational and clinical trials research with the goals of understanding and curing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A major focus of his work has been the development of PET imaging methods for detecting synapse loss due to AD. Dr. Mecca hopes to use multimodal imaging and fluid biomarkers to understand the neurobiology of AD and develop effective treatments.

Trainee Representative: Bibek Gyanwali, MD, PhD Candidate

Bibek Gyanwali, MD, is 4th year PhD student at Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. For his PhD he is working on multimodal neuroimaging focusing on effect of cerebrovascular disease on cognitive impairment and dementia under the supervision of A/Prof. Christopher Chen (Director, Memory Aging Cognition Centre, National University Health System). Apart from his PhD projects he is also working on blood based biomarkers of cognitive impairment, relationship between hearing loss and dementia. Prior to this Bibek received his medical training from Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China. Finally, for his postdoctoral research he plans to continue working on various aspects of aging to delay the process of cognitive impairment.

 Immediate Past Chair: Val Lowe, MD

Dr. Lowe is a Professor of Radiology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and is the director of the Mayo Clinic Molecular Imaging Resource. Dr. Lowe has served on numerous NIH review committees and panels. He has over 400 peer-reviewed publications, several patents and has funding through the NIH and other organizations to study imaging. He has served as the Chair of the World Molecular Imaging Society and is an elected fellow of the Society. He has been active in PET research, education and development clinical applications for PET. He was instrumental in the approval of PET imaging in the United States by the FDA and Medicare.  Dr. Lowe’s research lab does PET radiotracer development, preclinical imaging and human imaging. Dr. Lowe and research collaborators at Mayo Clinic are evaluating the utility of PET and MRI multimodality brain imaging in neurodegenerative disease and aging. They test imaging as a way to evaluate populations for prediction, prevention and therapy of neurodegenerative disease.