Y6+ CIRAD Scientists' Headshots

Year 6

  • Chinwe Ibeh, MD

    • Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
    • Mentored by Dr. Adam M Brickman (Columbia University) and Dr. Mario Sims (University of California, Riverside)

    Ethnic minorities have a higher Heart Failure (HF) prevalence and experience increased rates of secondary complications, including renal failure, liver dysfunction, and cognitive impairment, a common consequence of long-standing HF. While disparities in many of its secondary complications are well-established, differences in neurological outcomes remain underinvestigated. As previous studies revealed a differential effect of vascular risk factors on the development of later-life dementia across race/ethnic groups, it is plausible HF and ventricular dysfunction contribute to the racial/ethnic disparities in cognitive impairment and subsequent risk for dementia. Using data from echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and neuropsychological assessment collected from a multi-ethnic cohort, the goal of this pilot is to examine the association of ventricular structure and function with cognition and regional brain architecture in middle-aged adults and to test whether these associations differ across race/ethnic groups. 

  • John R. Pamplin II, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
    • Mentored by Dr. Jennifer Manly (Columbia University) and Dr. Brett Stoudt (CUNY)

    Racial disparities in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) are likely driven by manifestations of structural racism that may have a direct effect in cognitive function. Gentrification is one manifestation of structural racism and is under-studied in the public health literature, especially as it pertains to cognitive aging. Gentrification refers to the influx of relatively high socioeconomic status or advantaged residents into an under-resourced, disinvested neighborhood, resulting in increased investment in and development of the neighborhood at the expense of the long-standing, structurally marginalized residents. The physical space is overwhelmed with multiple healthy resources, such as green space, healthier food options, restaurants, cafes, and healthcare providers. However, they are rarely accessible to the long-standing residents who, due to the increased cost of living, cannot afford to take part or end up displaced from the neighborhood altogether. Like other manifestations of structural racism, gentrifying forces are associated with an increased risk of multiple adverse health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and self-reported chronic health conditions produced by the increased housing and food insecurity due to increased living costs, as well as disruptions to existing resources (e.g., established healthcare providers, familiar grocery stores) and social networks due to forced relocation. While many of these associations are more pronounced for racially and ethnically marginalized and economically disadvantaged populations, the potential association between critical components of gentrification and ADRD disparities is yet to be sufficiently explored. This study will leverage a longitudinal database of census-tract-level social and structural inequality measures to provide a multifaceted assessment of gentrification-related constructs, such as housing instability and directed policing, over time. 

    John Pamplin CIRAD scientist
  • Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
    • Mentored by Sherry Baron (Queens College, CUNY)

    Residential segregation produces that racialized and minoritized groups are exposed to environmental contaminants in systemized ways, resulting in overburden of diseases via increases in air pollution, proximity to hazardous waste sites, lack of clean drinking water, and limited access to green spaces. While residential segregation increases exposure in environmentally vulnerable neighborhoods, much of the focus has been on the connection between individual environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, metals, green spaces) and brain health rather than on the long-term effects of environmental racism on cognitive functioning. This pilot investigates childhood environmental racism and its association with adult cognition to determine how environmental racism trajectories throughout childhood are associated with ADRD risk among middle-aged adults. 

Year 5

  • Zarina Kraal, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University

    Dr. Kraal's pilot, Social Context and Psychosocial Contributors to Type 2 Diabetes-Related Cognitive Outcomes in African American Older Adults, explores relationships between T2D, negative psychosocial factors (depressive symptoms, perceived stress), social context, and cognitive outcomes. Her mentor is Dr. Jennifer Manly.

    Zarina Kraal Cirad Scientist
  • Emily Hokett, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University

    Dr. Hokett's pilot project, Neighborhood- and individual-level and factors in relation to racial/ethnic sleep disparities and cognition in a community-based older adult sample, examines neighborhood-level factors that may contribute to racial/ethnic sleep and cognitive disparities. Her mentors are Drs. Jennifer Manly, Priya Palta, and Adam Brickman.

    Emily Hokett CIRAD Scientist
  • Pablo Martinez Amezcua, MD, PhD, MHS

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Dr. Martinez Amezcua’s pilot project, Association of domains of physical activity and sedentary behavior with neuroimaging and blood markers of brain health in a middle-aged ethnically diverse cohort, aims to investigate if the association between physical activity and neuroimaging markers of brain health differ by the physical activity domains. His mentors are Drs. Priya Palta and Kelley P. Gabriel.

    Broadly, he is interested in how mid-life cardiovascular risk factors contribute to health at older ages, including physical function, cognitive health, and sensory loss.  Martinez Amezcua is passionate about teaching epidemiology.

    Pablo Martinez Amezcua CIRAD Scientist
  • Paris "AJ" Adkins-Jackson, PhD, MPH

    • Assistant Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health
    • Faculty Affiliate, Columbia Population Research Center and Data Science Institute

    Dr. Adkins-Jackson's pilot, The aggregate role of structural racism on depressive symptoms, sleep disturbance, and cognitive function in Black older adults, tests the fit of a multilevel model where the pathway between structural racism and cognitive function are mediated by depression and sleep disturbance. Her mentor is Dr. Jennifer Manly.

    Paris (AJ) Adkins-Jackson CIRAD Scientist

Year 4

  • Justina Avila-Rieger, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University

    Dr. Avila-Rieger's pilot project, Estrogen, Lifecourse Social Factors, and Cognitive Aging across Race/Ethnicity, will determine whether there are racial/ethnic differences in the relationship between cumulative estrogen exposure, cognitive decline, and dementia risk, and explore the relationships between lifecourse social and contextual factors, such as childhood and adult SES and birth place and time, estrogen exposure and cognitive outcomes across racial/ethnic groups. Her mentor is Dr. Jennifer Manly.

    Justina Avila-Rieger CIRAD Scientist
  • Jordan Weiss, PhD

    • Research Scientist, Stanford Center on Longevity

    Dr. Weiss's pilot project, Unpacking Educational Gradients in Dementia, to evaluate heterogeneity in the effect of education on dementia across population subgroups, and to identify drivers of that heterogeneity. His mentor is Dr. David Rehkopf.

    Jordan Weiss CIRAD Scientist
  • Michael Oliver, PhD

    • Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Belmont University

    Dr. Oliver's pilot project, Differential Effects of Tau Pathology and Dysautonomia in Alzheimer's Disease, aims to elucidate the connections between tau pathology, AD-related CNS dysfunction, and dysautonomia in a multi-racial/ethnic cohort. His mentors are Drs. Lisa L. Barnes and Priya Palta.

    Michael Oliver CIRAD Scientist
  • Ganga Bey, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Mentored by Dr. Priya Palta (UNC Chapel Hill)

    Dr. Bey's pilot, Biopsychosocial mechanisms for the contribution of neighborhood stressors to brain health disparities, constructs an Identity Vitality-Pathology Scale and asks whether psychosocial risk factors (negative affect, low perceived social standing) and resilience factors (optimism, religiosity, spirituality) moderate the effects of neighborhood stressors on brain health. 

    CIRAD Scientist Ganga Bey

Year 3

  • Stacia Nicholson, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University

    Dr. Nicholson's pilot project, Investigation of Differential Expression of Plasma-derived Neuronal Extracellular Vesicles across Races: Non-invasive Detection of Neurodegeneration associated with Environmental Pollution, aims to identify novel biomarkers that accurately reflect environmental influences and predict future risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD). Her mentor is Dr. Andrea Baccarelli.

    Stacia Nicholson CIRAD Scientist
  • David Camacho, PhD, MSW, MSG

    • Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore

    Dr. Camacho's pilot project, Loneliness, Chronic Pain and Cognitive Functioning in Racially Diverse Older Adults: Examining the Role of Minority Stress, investigates how cultural and minority stress factors influence the relationship between loneliness, chronic pain, and impaired cognitive functioning among community-dwelling older Latinos and African Americans. His mentors are Drs. Carrington Reid and Elaine Wethington.

    David Camacho CIRAD Scientist
  • Mirnova Ceide MD, MS

    • Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Medicine (Geriatrics)

    Dr. Ceide's pilot project, The Motoric-cognitve Correlates of Apathy in Racial-ethnic Minority Older Adults, investigates the association between apathy, a potential risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (ADRD), and both cognitive and locomotor performance in a culturally and educationally diverse, urban clinic population of older adults with memory complaints. Her mentors are Drs. Joe Verghese and David Lounsbury.

    Mirnova Ceide CIRAD Scientist

Year 2

  • Miguel Arce Renteria, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology at Columbia University Medical Center

    Dr. Arce's pilot project, Improving Detection and Management of Cognitive Impairment among Older Latinx, evaluates the relationship of a language concordant/discordant neuropsychological evaluation on health care utilization. His mentor was Dr. Jennifer Manly.

    Miguel Arce Renteria CIRAD Scientist
  • Indira Turney, PhD

    • Associate Research Scientist/Neuroscientist at Columbia University Medical Center

    Dr. Turney's pilot project, Neuroimaging Predictors of Cognition in Mid-life and Late-life across Race/Ethnicity, focuses on underlying neural correlates of cognition across the lifespan in racially/ethnically diverse middle-aged and older adults. Her current research uses multiple neuroimaging modalities to identify lifecourse sociocultural and structural mechanisms that underlie brain aging in racially/ethnically diverse adults across the lifespan. Her mentor is Dr. Adam Brickman.

    Indira Turney CIRAD Scientist
  • Omonigho M. Bubu, MD, MPH, PhD

    • Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry/Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine

    Dr. Bubu's pilot project, Interaction of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Race on novel plasma biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropathology, specifically plasma tau, and neurofilament light (NFL) protein, investigates whether OSA is associated with plasma tau, and NFL. His mentor was Dr. Ricardo Osorio.

    Since the CIRAD pilot funding, Dr. Bubu has received various grants to fund his research, such as the BrightFocus Foundation Alzheimer’s disease grant, Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (AARG), American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) Bridge Award for Early Career Investigators, NYU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Developmental Grant, and a mentored NIA K23 award.

    Omonigho M. Bubo CIRAD Scientist
  • Diana Hernandez, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University

    Dr. Hernandez's pilot, The Relationship between Energy Insecurity (EI) and Cognitive Impairment and ADRD, empirically tests if subjective measures of energy insecurity based on the Energy Insecurity Scale are associated with cognitive function, sleep quality and psychosocial stress in older adults. Her mentors are Drs. Jose Luchsinger and Jennifer Manly.

    Diana Hernandez CIRAD Scientist
  • Ivan Hernandez, PhD

    • Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology

    Dr. Hernandez's pilot project, Comparative Studies of Expression of rDNA Variants in Post-mortem Brain from Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Asymptomatic AD pathology, and Controls from a Multiethnic Community, compares expression of rRNA gene variants RNA-seq in brains of AD, ASYMAD, and control groups and whether they differ across racial/ethnic groups. His mentor is Dr. Oleg Evgrafov.

    Ivan Hernandez CIRAD Scientist

Year 1

  • Adriana Arcia, PhD, RN, FAAN

    • Professor, University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
    • Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, Columbia University School of Nursing

    Dr. Arcia's pilot project, Interactive Functional Assessment Staging Navigator (I-FASTN), aimed to test the usability of a novel, interactive informational tool about the functional stages of dementia. Her mentor for the project was Dr. Suzanne Bakken. Dr. Arcia subsequently received funding from the Alzheimer's Association to assess the validity of functional stage assessments made by caregivers using the I-FASTN app.

    Adriana Arcia CIRAD Scientist
  • Eleanor Murphy, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University

    Dr. Murphy's pilot project, Causal Attributions about Alzheimer’s Disease and Attitudes towards Genetic Risk Assessment, Diagnostic Imaging and Research Participation among African Americans and Latinos, leverages an existing cohort to investigate causal attributions made for AD, as a function of family history of AD and demographic factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, and socio-economic status (SES). Her mentor is Dr. Ruth Ottman.

    Eleanor Murphy CIRAD Scientist
  • Marisa Spann, PhD, MPH

    • Associate Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Columbia University

    Dr. Spann's pilot project, Cranial ultrasound abnormalities as early indicators of brain and cognitive aging in LBW/PT birth adults, examines the consequences of neonatal brain injury on brain and cognitive outcomes in early adulthood (mid-thirties) in a racially/ethnically diverse subsample of a Low Birth Weight/Preterm Birth regional birth cohort. Her mentor is Dr. Agnes Whitaker.

    Marisa Spann CIRAD Scientist