eBRAIN Team

Who We Are

Meet our faculty, collaborators, post-docs, staff, and students.

Faculty

Caterina Rosano, MD, PhD

Tenured Professor, Epidemiology

I am a physician-scientist specializing in Population Neuroscience of Aging. I am especially interested in the neurobiological drivers of successful aging.

Although older age is typically associated with a seemingly inevitable performance decline, we have evidence that some older adults appear resistant and resilient to the effect of aging. Based on our discoveries, we believe that there are distinct neurobiological characteristics that can explain why some people age better than others and why some people respond to treatment better than others. We also believe that enhancing these neurobiological drivers of resilience can enhance function. 

Andrea Rosso, MPH, PhD

Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Rosso is Director of the BEAM (Brain, Environment, Aging, and Mobility) lab, with expertise analyzing functional near infrared spectroscopy during dual task conditions, and assessing the ecological validity of laboratory-based dual tasks. Dr. Rosso was awarded the CTSI KL2, a NIA K01 award, and a R21 to advance her work on overcoming environmental challenges to moving in older adults.

Beth Shaaban, PhD, MPH

Visiting Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

I am new faculty in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and a University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center REC Scholar working with the Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ORE) Core. I integrate epidemiology, biostatistics, neuroscience/neuroimaging, and psychology to study vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using a Population Neuroscience framework. I have been funded by NIH through prior T32 and F31 awards. My research focuses on identifying promoters of cerebral small vessel integrity to prevent AD and related disorders and has included evaluation of growth factors, physical activity, and vascular risk factor reduction. I am presently applying a population neuroscience approach to evaluate whether there are sex differences in the cerebral small vessel disease-to-AD pathophysiological cascade. My aim is to gain insight into gender/sex-specific intervention targets to reduce AD and promote brain health equity.

Collaborators

Post-Docs

Emma Baillargeon, PT, DPT, PhD

Emma Baillargeon, PT, DPT, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate, Epidemiology

Jim Hengenius, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

james.hengenius@pitt.edu

“Jim is interested in developing novel multimodal neuroimaging methods…”

read more

Jim Hengenius is a postdoctoral associate performing neuroimaging analysis on the MOVE-MYHAT study. He obtained his PhD in computational biology from Purdue University and previously trained as a postdoc with the Ermentrout group in the Pitt Department of Mathematics. Jim is interested in developing novel multimodal neuroimaging methods and using these methods to inform dynamical systems modeling. In his free time, he enjoys reading speculative fiction, playing the saxophone (poorly), and spending time with his two cats, Mae Borowski and Mehitabel.

Briana N. Sprague, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Epidemiology

bns53@pitt.edu

“Ultimately, I want to leverage what we learn from observational studies…”

read more

Human Development and Family Studies,
The Pennsylvania State University

I am interested in how measures of central nervous system integrity and function, such as cognition, energy, and dopaminergic signaling, are related to mobility in older adults. Ultimately, I want to leverage what we learn from observational studies to help design effective interventions to maintain older adult mobility and everyday function. Outside of work, I have a passion for baking and am slowly working my way through the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list.

Students

Wesley DeHaven

Wesley DeHaven

MPH Student, Epidemiology

Rebecca Ehrenkranz

Rebecca Ehrenkranz

PhD Student, Epidemiology

ree24@pitt.edu
Curriculum Vitae
rebeccaehrenkranz.org

Sara Godina

Sara Godina

PhD Student, Epidemiology

sag189@pitt.edu
Curriculum Vitae

Emily Heilbrunn

Emily Heilbrunn

PhD Student, Epidemiology

Zack Hubbard

Zack Hubbard

MPH Student, Epidemiology

Sarah Kolibash-Royse

Sarah Kolibash-Royse

MPH Student, Epidemiology

sak225@pitt.edu

Kailyn Witonsky

Kailyn Witonsky

MD/PhD Student, Epidemiology

witonsky.kailynfaye@medstudent.pitt.edu

Former Trainees and Scholars

Nemin Chen, MPH

Nemin Chen, MPH

PhD Student, Epidemiology

Ayushi Divechi, MPT, MPH

Ayushi Divechi, MPT, MPH

Clinical Reseach Coordinator, Burke Neurological Institute

Pamela Dunlap, DPT, PhD

Pamela Dunlap, DPT, PhD

Assistant Professor

Erica Fan, MPH

Erica Fan, MPH

Research Analyst, University of Pittsburgh

Cynthia Felix, MD, MPH

Cynthia Felix, MD, MPH

Post-Doctoral Associate, Epidemiology

Jason D. Flatt, PhD, MPH

Jason D. Flatt, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Program, University of Nevada, School of Public Health

Tim Hughes, PhD

Tim Hughes, PhD

Assistant Professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Megan Olson Hunt, PhD

Megan Olson Hunt, PhD

Associate Professor of Statistics in the Mathematics and Statistics Unit, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Dana Jorgensen, MPH, PhD

Dana Jorgensen, MPH, PhD

Senior Manager of Epidemiology, Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Raj Kumar, PhD, MPH

Raj Kumar, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Brain Injury Research Center at Mount Sinai

Alina Lesnovskaya

Alina Lesnovskaya

PhD Student, Epidemiology

Maria Ly, MD, PhD

Maria Ly, MD, PhD

MD/PhD Candidate, Epidemiology

Karen Nunley, PhD

Karen Nunley, PhD

Team Lead Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, State of Texas at Texas Dept of Health and Human Service

Anne Ritter, DrPH, MPH

Anne Ritter, DrPH, MPH

US Army Medical Research and Development Command

Beth Shaaban, PhD, MPH

Beth Shaaban, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral Fellow, Epidemiology

Stephen F. Smagula, PhD

Stephen F. Smagula, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Qu (Teresa) Tian, PhD, MS

Qu (Teresa) Tian, PhD, MS

PhD Epidemiologist at NIH

Vijay Venkatraman, PhD

Vijay Venkatraman, PhD

Imaging Scientist at National Institutes of Health

Staff

Becky Meehan

Becky Meehan

Project Coordinator

meehanb@pitt.edu

Rafael Migoyo

Rafael Migoyo

Research Specialist

rvm14@pitt.edu

Marshall W. Ritchey

Marshall W. Ritchey

Research Assistant

marshallritchey@gmail.com

Shala Ward, BS

Shala Ward, BS

Project Director

stc15@pitt.edu

Xiaonan Zhu, PhD

Xiaonan Zhu, PhD

Senior Statistician

xiz97@pitt.edu