PIA Executive Committee:

Subjective Cognitive Decline


Chair: Rebecca E. Amariglio, PhD

Dr. Amariglio is a clinical neuropsychologist at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  She is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.  She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 2008 and was a postdoctoral fellow in neuropsychology at BWH/MGH before becoming faculty in 2011.  As co-investigator on the Harvard Aging Brain Study, Dr. Amariglio’s area of interest is in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  In particular, she focuses on Subjective Cognitive Decline as a marker of preclinical AD, a stage in which individuals begin to notice cognitive changes in their everyday life prior to dysfunction detected on neuropsychological measures. By examining subjective report in conjunction with AD imaging biomarkers and longitudinal neuropsychological assessment, she aims to develop sensitive subjective measures to track the earliest manifestations of AD. Her work is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association and the NIH. 

Chair (Incoming): Sietske A.M. Sikkes, PhD.
See below.


Chair Elect: Sietske A.M. Sikkes, PhD
Dr. Sietske Sikkes is an assistant professor at the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Amsterdam University Medical Centers.  With a background in clinical neuropsychology and epidemiology, her research focuses on the psychometrics of everyday functioning and cognition, and the development of new measurement techniques for the detection of clinical meaningful changes in the early stages of AD. Dr. Sikkes performed a post-doc fellowship at the Salpetriere Hopital in Paris, and just finished a year of visiting professorship at the department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Within the ISTAART professional interest areas, she currently serves on the ISTAART advisory board and also as the chair of the nonpharmacological interventions PIA.   

Chair Elect (Incoming): Francisco A. C. Vale, MD, PhD
Francisco Vale is clinical neurologist and Associate Professor at Department of Medicine of Federal University of São Carlos – UFSCar (São Paulo, Brazil). Head of Neurology Outpatient Clinic at the teaching hospital of UFSCar. Professor of the Nursing Postgraduate Program at UFSCar. Former postgraduate student at Ribeirão Preto Medical School of University of São Paulo (masters concluded in 1990, doctorate in 1996).  Visitor fellow of behavioral neurology clinical research at Beth Israel and Brigham and Women´s hospitals in 1994. His interest is clinical research in dementias, mainly Alzheimer´s disease. Currently, he is interested in subjective cognitive decline, especially the possible influences of ethnicity, education and cultural backgrounds.

Student/Postdoc: Elizabeth Kuhn, PhD Candidate

Elizabeth Kuhn is a second year PhD student at the university of Caen Normandy in the team leaded by Gaël Chételat entitled “Multimodal neuroimaging and lifestyle in ageing and dementia” at Inserm U1237. She is working on the H2020 European Project Silver Santé Study funded by the European Commission on mental health and well-being in ageing populations, under the supervision of Dr Gael Chetelat and the co-supervision of Pr Vincent De La Sayette. Her research interest focuses on the evolution of awareness of one's own cognitive abilities during Alzheimer's clinical syndrome. She is interest in the brain substrates of self-awareness, its links to cognitive decline and the impact of 18-month non-pharmacological interventions based on cognitive training or meditation training on self-awareness. In this context, she devoted the first part of her PhD to the understanding of the impact of the recruitment setting on the characteristics of patients with Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD); and of the association of perceived memory decline with multimodal neuroimaging at different stages of the Alzheimer's clinical syndrome. Her PhD is funded by work is supported by the ministry of education and research.

Student/Postdoc (Incoming): Silvia Chapman, PhD
Silvia Chapman is a first year postdoctoral fellow at the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Taub Institute at Columbia University under the mentorship of Dr. Stephanie Cosentino. As a graduate student under the mentorship of Dr. Gianna Cocchini at Goldsmiths, University of London, her work focused on examining the mechanisms by which self-awareness becomes impaired (anosognosia) among individuals with stroke. During her doctoral studies, she joined Dr. Cosentino’s lab to expand her focus beyond stroke, to include degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). During this time, her work sought to integrate principles and assessment techniques from cognitive psychology to carefully characterize and deconstruct clinically observed awareness deficits in these clinical populations. As a postdoctoral fellow, her work on self-awareness of cognitive abilities has extended to examine Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) as a marker of preclinical AD. This work aims to understand the factors that influence the expression of SCD and its association with early markers of AD such as cognitive decline or biomarkers. The overarching goal of this research is to improve the utility of SCD as a prognosticator of the earliest stages of AD.

Immediate Past Chair: Wiesje van der Flier, PhD, MD 
Wiesje van der Flier (1975) is full professor and head of clinical research at the Alzheimer center of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where she works since 2004. She studied neuropsychology at the University of Utrecht. In addition, she is clinical epidemiologist. She is head of the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, an ongoing memory-clinic based cohort including over 6000 patients with deep phenotyping (MRI, EEG, CSF biomarkers, and PET) and linked biobank (blood, DNA, CSF). The Amsterdam Dementia Cohort is at the basis of many of the studies performed at the VUmc Alzheimer center. Van der Flier has been (co)promotor of 20 theses and is currently supervising ~10 PhD projects. Van der Fliers main research areas are phenotypical heterogeneity, early diagnosis and the role of vascular factors in Alzheimer’s disease. Together with colleague Philip Scheltens, she has recently written a book, het Alzheimermysterie, which was published by the Arbeiderspers.

Immediate Past Chair (Incoming): Rebecca E. Amariglio, PhD
See above.