Mentors and Research

Each STAR U Scholar will work with a Columbia faculty to design a research project aimed towards providing them with skills and research experience related to their unique interests. Please note that the list does not encompass all available mentors and we may reach out to a mentor who may not be on this list. We will do our best to match you with a mentor who matches your interests. This list serves as an example for the types of potential projects and mentors.

  1. Sandra M. Barral Rodriguez, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in Neurology. Dr. Boehme's research focuses on the role infections and inflammation have on stroke risk, and the role of inflammation post-stroke on stroke outcomes.
  2. Adam M. Brickman, PhD, is a Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and the Taub Institute). His research focuses on the integration of neuroimaging and cognitive experiments to understand the biological sources of cognitive aging, dementia, and late-life health disparities.
  3. Stephanie Cosentino, PhD, is a Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and the Taub Institute) whose research focuses largely on how thinking, behavior, and self awareness break down in dementia.
  4. Yunglin Gazes, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and the Taub Institute) who studies neural decline and cognitive changes of aging using neuroimaging techniques.
  5. Yian Gu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences (in Neurology, Epidemiology, the Sergeivsky Center, and the Taub Institute). Dr. Gu investigates lifestyle factors and their influence on brain aging, cognitive aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. She also uses biological measurements to determine the lifestyle-brain relationship.
  6. Jose Gutiérrez-Contreras, MD, MPH, is the Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Neurology. His group studies stroke prevention, treatment and care, mechanisms that underlie pathological changes in arteries and how that impacts the brain, as well as the influence of HIV on stroke and dementia.
  7. Christian Habeck, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neuroimaging (in Neurology and the Taub Institute). His research uses network analysis techniques of neuroimaging and non-parametric statistical approaches for assessing robustness in brain-behavior associations.
  8. Jose Luchsinger, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology. His laboratory researches the relation of vascular, metabolic, and dietary factors on aging outcomes such as cognition and health disparities in aging minority populations.
  9. Jennifer J. Manly, PhD, is a Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology, the Sergievsky Center, and the Taub Institute). Her research examines the racial/ethnic disparities in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
  10. Vilas Menon, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences (in Neurology and the Taub Institute). His major research interests include assessing cell type-specific interactions in the context of neurological disease, developing network-based models of dysregulation in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis, and identifying potential therapeutically targetable systems in these diseases.
  11. Eliza Miller, MD, is Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease. She has a particular interest in women’s cerebrovascular health through all life stages, and is an expert in cerebrovascular complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period.
  12. Lori Quinn, PT, EdD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Director of the Program in Motor Learning and Control. Her research interests include targeted physical interventions in neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, Huntington’s disease (HD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
  13. Kiran Thakur, MD, is a Winifred Mercer Pitkin, M.D. Assistant Professor of Neurology. Dr. Kiran Thakur is an inpatient neurologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, with clinical expertise in neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunology.
  14. Sabrina Simoes, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Neurological sciences (in Neurology and in the Taub Institute) at CUIMC. She is a cellular neurobiologist who has spent her career studying endosomal trafficking in normal and pathological conditions. Research in her lab focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with special emphasis on endo-lysosomal dysfunction.
  15. Andrew Teich, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology. His lab investigates the mechanisms underlying impairment of synaptic plasticity in neurodegenerative disease. He also uses computational techniques to analyze genome expression of Alzheimer's patients.
  16. Carol Troy, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and Neurology (in the Taub Institute). Her lab focuses on the regulation and function of the caspase family of proteases in the mature nervous system.
  17. Ai Yamamoto, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Pathology and Cell Biology. Her lab examines the molecular mechanism of protein trafficking events that modulate neural function and neurodegeneration.
  18. Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology. Her research focus pertains to how social and cardiovascular exposures from across the life-course influence cognitive function, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, stroke and other related health outcomes in old age. Her work is on cognitive aging with a focus on minority populations.
  19. Miguel Arce Rentería, PhD,is a bilingual cultural neuropsychologist. His research program investigates the sociocultural and environmental determinants of disparities in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) primarily among the Hispanic/Latino/Latinx communities (hereafter Latinx).
  20. Patrick Lao, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurological sciences in neurology and in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center. His research focuses on a multiple biomarker approach to Alzheimer’s disease (i.e., amyloid-β, hyperphosphorylated tau, cerebrovascular disease, and neurodegeneration), informed by contextual factors (i.e., genetic, biological, social, environmental) for underrepresented and underserved groups, will provide the most reliable understanding of the complex disease course.
  21. Sharon Sanz Simon, PhD, is an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain and the Department of Neurology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons). Her research has been focused on the development and implementation non-pharmacological interventions that can enhance cognition, emotion, health behaviors and quality of life in cognitively healthy older adults in and those at risk of Alzheimer`s disease and other dementia (ADRD).