PIA Executive Committee:
Nutrition, Metabolism and Dementia
Co-Chair: Cecilia Samieri, PhD
After a doctorate in veterinary medicine, Cécilia Samieri hold a PhD in epidemiology from University of Bordeaux (France) in 2009. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Harvard Medical school (Boston, USA). Upon return to France, she joined the INSERM (French National Institute for Health) as a permanent researcher in 2015. She is currently senior epidemiologist in the Bordeaux Population Health research center, INSERM U1219.
Cécilia Samieri's research has mainly focused on the epidemiology of aging, with the aim of understanding how environmental factors, in particular diet, influences the etiology of brain diseases and conditions in aging, in particular dementia and cognitive aging. She has been working on several large cohorts on dementia and cognitive decline, and she has developed a multidisciplinary epidemiological expertise across nutrition, neurosciences, biostatistics and brain imaging – a critical approach to investigate lifestyle and health with a lifelong epidemiological perspective.
Co-Chair: Hussein Yassine, MD
Dr. Yassine is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Neurology and the Director of the Roybal Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program at University of Southern California. Dr. Yassine has published findings on mechanisms for the delivery of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to the brain. The Yassine team is interested in novel approaches for AD prevention. Specifically, our goal is to define the target population for DHA supplementation by focusing on how APOE genotype and AD disease stage affects DHA brain penetration and uptake. The Yassine Lab utilizes a multidisciplinary approach by combing clinical trials, imaging studies and basic animal models. We have three major and complementary interests: (1) clinicals trials for AD prevention, (2) developing PET imaging modalities to study DHA brain uptake, and (2) examining how brain HDL formation influences AD risk. He is the principal investigator of the NIH-funded double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial (PreventE4) of high dose of DHA supplementation over 2 years in cognitively healthy participants stratified by APOE status (ε4 vs. non ε4 carriers).
Vice Chair: Benedict Albensi, PhD
Dr. Benedict C. Albensi, PhD, BCMAS, CRQM is the Everett Fund Chair for Alzheimer’s research and Principal Investigator at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. He is also a full Professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal, Molecular Neurobiology. His funded research includes an investigation into sex-based differences in mitochondrial function in Alzheimer’s disease using mouse models and a clinical trial testing flaxseed consumption for improving human memory in those with MCI at the St. Boniface Hospital.
Programs Chair: Ondine van de Rest. PhD
Dr. Ondine van de Rest is Assistant Professor at the Division of Human Nutrition and Health of Wageningen University & Research. Her main focus is on the role of nutrition in relation to cognitive ageing. In 2009 she received her PhD degree on the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive decline and depression in older people and has >15 years of experience in managing large randomized intervention trials as well as in performing epidemiological data analyses. She is involved in several human intervention studies, all investigating nutritional effects of individual nutrients (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, B-vitamins, proteins) and dietary strategies on metabolic as well as mental health. Ondine has published 50 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals and has an h-index of 18.
Immediate Past Co-Chair: Gene Bowman, ND, MPH
Dr. Bowman is a clinician-scientist passionate about nutritional and complementary medicine approaches for the promotion of healthy cognitive aging and prevention of neurodegenerative disease. He is particularly interested in developing novel nutritional therapies, nutritional metabolomics, and biomarker discovery in aging. His background includes training in exercise science, naturopathic medicine, and public health epidemiology and biostatistics. He completed NIH sponsored post-doctoral research in nutrition and Alzheimer disease followed by a NIH career development award focused on developing individualized nutritional therapies aging and dementia. He maintained an active clinical practice for nearly a decade spanning both academic medicine and community clinic with specialization in clinical nutrition and integrative medicine in aging and dementia.
He has the experience in leading multi-disciplinary and multi-national teams of people in academia, industry and voluntary health organizations. He has experience in the design and implementation of single and multi-site nutritional interventions and epidemiological studies focused on cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases in both academia and industry settings.
Dr. Bowman is the Associate Director of the Interventional Studies in Aging Center at the Institute for Aging Research at the Hebrew Senior Life and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA.