eBRAIN Training

T32 Training Grant

Population Neuroscience of Alzheimer’s Disease and
Age-related Dementia (PNA)

Now accepting applications for the Population Neuroscience of Alzheimer’s Disease and Age-related Dementia (PNA) T32 Training Grant

Now accepting applications for pre-and post-doctoral positions

Scholars are eligible to receive:

  • Salary & Travel Stipends
  • Tuition Allowance • Customized Mentoring Plans
  • State-of-the-art Neuroepidemiological Study Cohorts
  • Cutting-edge Neuroimaging Resources
  • Team Science & Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research

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How to Apply »

Our Vision

To understand the causes and mechanisms of ADRD, population neuroscientists of the future must be able to link environmental exposures, lifestyles, comorbidities, and genomics with knowledge of modern technology of neurosciences and measurements of brain disease and data science.

About The Grant

T32 Training Grant

The University of Pittsburgh offers a pre- and post- doctoral training grant in Population Neuroscience of Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease.

The PNA Training Grant will train highly talented individuals to pursue successful independent research in the etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease and other age-related dementia (ADRD).

The grant offers 3 pre-doc (each one up to 4 years) and 2 post-doc positions (each one for up to 3 years).  

Our PNA curriculum addresses this need by providing:

  • foundational knowledge in population science and neuroscience of aging
  • availability of multi-center and international databases
  • enhanced training in cutting-edge multimodal methodologies to measure brain changes with age, including neuropsychological assessment, neuroimaging, and post-mortem assessments
  • hands-on experiences on recruitment and data collection, including internet-based study designs
  • opportunity to network with high-caliber scientists locally, nationally and internationally
  • training in the responsible conduct of research

T32 PNA Meetings – Spring 2022

  • T32 PNA Meeting

    Book Club “How Not to Study a Disease: The Story of Alzheimer’s” by Karl Herrup   To Pre...

    January 19 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • T32 PNA Meeting

    PNA T32 meeting This will be an opportunity for all the trainees, student and faculty to come togeth...

    February 16 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • PNA T32 Meeting

    Book Club   “How Not to Study a Disease: The Story of Alzheimer’s” by Karl Herrup To Prep...

    February 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • PNA T32 Meeting

    PNA T32 Meeting Topic TBD For Zoom link information contact Becky Meehan at meehanb@pitt.edu

    March 21 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • PNA T32 Meeting

    PNA T32 Meeting Topic TBD For Zoom link information contact Becky Meehan at meehanb@pitt.edu

    April 20 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • PNA T32 Meeting

    PNA T32 Meeting Topic TBD For Zoom link information contact Becky Meehan at meehanb@pitt.edu

    May 18 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Meet Our Students

2021-2022 PNA Epidemiology Trainees

Rebecca Ehrenkranz

Rebecca Ehrenkranz

pre-doctoral trainee


Curriculum Vitae
rebeccaehrenkranz.org

Dr. Rosso
primary faculty mentor

 

My current research focuses on exploring energy in aging populations across the following domains: cognition, mood, physical function, and physical activity. I have a bachelors degree from Brandeis University and an MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In my spare time, I enjoy rock climbing (both indoor and outdoor).

T-Shirt Motto  

We asked our T32 Trainees to give us their t-shirt motto – two short sentences answering these questions…

What have you discovered so far?

Self-reported energy in older adults reflects physical performance capacity and emotional wellbeing independent of pre-existing chronic conditions. Declining perceived energy levels may predict onset of parkinsonian signs and/or may be characteristic of the Parkinson’s Disease prodrome. 

What do you want to discover?

I would like to improve the operationalization of self-reported energy and its underlying neurobiology, including both structural and functional associations and the role of dopamine signaling. 

Sara Godina

Sara Godina

pre-doctoral trainee


Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Rosso
primary faculty mentor

 

My research focuses on identifying environmental risk factors for brain aging.

I am particularly interested in reduction of health disparities in dementia, among Black and Hispanic older adults. My current projects involve examining the neural correlates underlying racial differences in cognitive impairment to clarify mechanisms.

T-Shirt Motto  

We asked our T32 Trainees to give us their t-shirt motto – two short sentences answering these questions…

What have you discovered so far?

In my first independent research project on a small sample of older adults, I discovered racial differences in gray matter volume for 4 memory-related ROIs remain even after taking into account various demographic, health, environmental, and social factors.

What do you want to discover?

I want to 1.) understand the neural correlates and mechanisms underlying racial differences in cognitive impairment and 2.) to identify environmental risk factors for healthy brain aging, to better inform future interventions and reduction of health disparities.

Kailyn Witonsky

Kailyn Witonsky

pre-doctoral trainee

 

Dr. Rosano
primary faculty mentor

 

T-Shirt Motto  

We asked our T32 Trainees to give us their t-shirt motto – two short sentences answering these questions…

What have you discovered so far?

My previous research experience has spanned numerous fields and required multidisciplinary perspectives, including epidemiological, clinical, neurological, computational, and statistical. One of the discoveries I am most proud of is my novel application of a Markov chain analysis to a behavioral neuroscience problem. Throughout my experiences I have personally discovered the deep value of interdisciplinary collaboration.

I am excited to update this answer further as I progress in this program.

What do you want to discover?

I want to discover, as a leading member of a multidisciplinary team, the relationship between digital platforms and neurological aging among older adults. Do different digital platforms enhance resilient aging? If so, which, when, and how? 

Thomas Kraynak

Thomas Kraynak

post-doctoral trainee


Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Andreescu
primary faculty mentor

 

My research focuses on brain-body pathways that link psychological stress and stress-related peripheral physiology with physical health and brain health. In addition, I am interested in leveraging machine learning approaches to reliably identify predictors of brain health throughout the life course. Finally, I am interested in applying noninvasive neuromodulation techniques to target and potentially modify brain circuits that may link stress to dementia risk.

T-Shirt Motto  

We asked our T32 Trainees to give us their t-shirt motto – two short sentences answering these questions…

What have you discovered so far?

Individuals with elevated subclinical cardiovascular disease risk factors show an accelerated pace of brain aging at midlife (30 – 50 years).

What do you want to discover?

I want to discover the biological and neurophysiological pathways that play a role in linking psychological stress and physical health to accelerated brain aging and risk for age-related dementia.

Briana Sprague

Briana Sprague

post-doctoral trainee


Curriculum Vitae

PubMed

Dr. Rosano
primary faculty mentor

 

My research topic involves the relationship between complex physical functions (e.g., walking) and cognitive function (broadly, but primarily interested in processing speed) in older adulthood. In addition, I want to develop an understanding of how neurological mechanisms (e.g., dopamine) impact this relationship. Ultimately, I am interested in how we can leverage these factors to prevent or attenuate declines in physical, cognitive, and everyday function in older adulthood.

T-Shirt Motto  

We asked our T32 Trainees to give us their t-shirt motto – two short sentences answering these questions…

What have you discovered so far?

The ability to speed up one’s walking speed (“gait reserve”) may be associated with some important health metrics.

What do you want to discover?

I want to discover what factors predict the ability to speed up when walking. 

Previous Students

Former PNA T32 Training Grant Trainees

Alina Lesnovskaya

Focus: promoting healthy brain aging through accessible non-pharmacological interventions, such as exercise training. I am also interested in utilizing functional and structural neuroimaging to study individual differences in healthy and pathological aging.

Primary Faculty Mentor: Dr. Erickson

Maria Ly, MD, PhD

Topic: Utilization of multimodal imaging and machine learning models to:

  • identify early biomarkers or predictors of outcome in aging and Alzheimer’s disease and
  • identify risk factors and resilience factors in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
    My thesis work is based on a machine-learning algorithm that predicts brain age, which may be a proxy for brain reserve.

Primary Faculty Mentor: Dr. Aizenstein

Beth Shabaan, PhD, MPH

Focus: vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID). I am particularly interested in the interplay of cerebrovascular integrity and Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the development of clinically overt cognitive impairment and whether promotion of cerebral small vessel integrity can prevent cognitive impairment. A new line of my work involves sex and gender differences and sex and gender-specific risk in VCID / Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

Primary Faculty Mentor: Dr. Klunk

Retreats

T32 Training
Grant Retreats

The 2020 Retreat has been canceled due to the COVID 19 crisis. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

Forms

T32 Forms