PIA Executive Committee:

Neuromodulatory Subcortical Systems

Chair: Lea T. Grinberg, MD, PhD
Lea T. Grinberg, MD, Ph.D. is the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation Endowed Professor and an associate professor of neurology and pathology at the University of California, San Francisco. She also holds a tenured faculty position (WOS) at the University of Sao Paulo. Dr. Grinberg trained in neuropathology and neuroanatomy. She has participated in several international neuropathological consortia to establish neuropathological criteria for neurodegenerative diseases and vascular dementia, in addition to her clinical work in autopsies of dementia cases. Her research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases with especial emphasis on early disease stages, selective vulnerability, and pathological heterogeneity.   Her  contributions to the field of dementia include: identifying brainstem nuclei as the earliest structures affected in Alzheimer’s disease and translating these findings to diagnostic and treatment development; investigating the neurobiological basis of sleep dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases; developing and implementing  high-resolution histology tools  validate multimodal neuroimaging findings. She directs the Human Validation Core for the National Institutes of Health-funded U54 Center Without Walls for Tau Biology, co-directs the Neurodegenerative disease brain bank at UCSF, is a Co-PI for the U54 LEADS Neuropathology Core  and is a principal investigator of the Tau Consortium. She  is also a  member of the governing board of the Brazilian Biobak for Aging Studies and the Executive board of the Global Brain Health Institute. 

Vice Chair: Heidi Jacobs, PhD

Dr. Heidi Jacobs is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at the Department of Radiology of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School and at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She completed her PhD-training at Maastricht University, continued by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Research Center Juelich in Germany and a Marie-Curie Sklodowska fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). With her background in neuropsychology and neuroimaging, her research focusses on the function and structure of various neuromodulatory nuclei (e.g. locus coeruleus) in the brainstem and subcortical regions to ultimately improve early detection of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, she also develops neuroimaging methodologies to improve the in vivo investigation of these nuclei, and  evaluate novel interventions aiming to delay cognitive decline by targeting the function of neuromodulatory nuclei.

Programs Chair: Stefan Teipel, MD, PhD
Stefan Teipel is Professor for Clinical Dementia Research at the University of Rostock and Senior Research Group Leader and Deputy Site Speaker of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Rostock/Greifswald. Stefan Teipel was trained in Psychiatry. His research focuses on the development and evaluation of imaging and biomarkers of neurodegenerative dementias in experimental settings and routine care cohorts, the development and evaluation of a multidimensional model of disease pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease, and the development and evaluation of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of dementia in clinical research and primary care.    Additionally, he is also researching the development and implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) such as portable and environmental sensors as patient-powered real world endpoints for clinical studies to monitor neurodegenerative disease progression and interventional effects. One contribution to the field of dementia research was the in vivo study of atrophy and functional connectivity changes of the cholinergic basal forebrain in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia using magnetic resonance imaging modalities in combination with molecular and CSF biomarkers.

Communications Chair: Ana Luisa Gil Martinez, MS, PhD

Ana Luisa Gil Martinez, MS, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Ryten Laboratory at the University College London. She completed her Bachelor's in Biochemistry (2010-2014) and her Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (2014-2015) at the University of Murcia (Spain). During this time, she specialized in the study of inorganic compounds in nanoparticles for therapeutic purposes. After that, she was selected for a PhD position in the Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience Group. Her thesis was focused on the study of the involvement of glial cells in the neurodegenerative processes associated with Parkinsonism and aging. In 2019, she obtained a Double Doctor's degree by the University of Murcia (Spain) and Maastricht University (The Netherlands). Currently, her postdoctoral project in the Ryten Lab aims to integrate co-expression models to investigate molecular mechanisms driving the progression of Parkinson's disease.

 Steering Committee Member: David Weinshenker
David Weinshenker received his Ph.D. in Genetics with Dr. James H. Thomas at the University of Washington in 1997, where he studied voltage-gated potassium channel mutations in C. elegans. He did his postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Richard D. Palmiter at the University of Washington, where he received training in transgenic and knockout mouse technology, molecular biology, and catecholamine neurobiology and neurochemistry. He has been in the Department of Human Genetics at Emory since 2002 as an Assistant Professor (2002-2007), an Associate Professor (2008-2012), and full Professor (2013-present). He also serves as the Scientific Director of the Emory School of Medicine Rodent Behavioral Core facility. The focus of his research program is to study the role of the catecholamine neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in behavior and neurochemistry using genetically engineered rodents with altered catecholamine systems. He studies models of several different diseases, including neurodegenerative disease, affective disorders, and drug addiction, and has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles. His Alzheimer’s disease research has been funded by the National Institute of Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.  

Dr. Weinshenker was the Director of Graduate Studies for the Molecular/Systems Pharmacology Program from 2008-2014 and the Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program from 2015-2018. He has served as the primary supervisor for 11 postdoctoral fellows, 13 graduate students, and 14 undergraduate students, and has been recognized for his mentoring efforts through the Emory Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Mentor of the Year award (2010), the Emory Graduates in Neuroscience Faculty of the Year Award (2014), the Emory School of Medicine Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award (2016), and the Calabrese/Smith Neuroscience Service Award (2018).

 Early Career Researcher: Martin Dahl
Dr. Martin Dahl is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute of Human Development (Berlin, Germany) in collaboration with the University of Southern California (Leonard Davis School of Gerontology).
He completed his master’s degree in psychology (University of Konstanz), followed by a PhD at the Free University of Berlin. His thesis focused on how neuromodulation sculpts neural communication across the lifespan. In his research, he combines a variety of neuroimaging methods to target catecholaminergic neuromodulatory neuclei from multiple angles and uncover how their degeneration shapes cognition in aging and disease.
Martin bridges basic and clinical research and combines a multidisciplinary approach with a deep interest in advancing methods for in-vivo imaging of subcortical nuclei what makes him a good fit for the PIA. Being part of labs in the US and Europe, he has contact to many early career researchers who he would like to represent in the PIA.

Student Committee Member: Alexander Ehrenberg
Bio is forthcoming.

 Student Committee Member: Alexandra Weigand
I am a third-year PhD student in the San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Mark Bondi. I also have a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to study the role of the locus coeruleus and basal forebrain in aging. My research broadly focuses on the Alzheimer's biological and clinical continuum measured using neuroimaging, biofluid markers, and neuropsychological assessment. Particular areas of interest include: (1) assessing the integrity of the locus coeruleus and its projection pathways in-vivo in the context of aging and Alzheimer's, as well as its neuropsychological correlates; (2) examining the role of the cholinergic system, including susceptibility to Alzheimer's pathology and modifiable risk through medication management; and (3) investigating the spatiotemporal progression tau deposition and its consequences independent of amyloid.