The ADAPT Lab team stands in front of the Neurological Institute entrance.

Our Team

Current Members

  • Aubrey S. Johnson

    • Lab Manager

    Aubrey Johnson is a research coordinator and lab manager of the Alzheimer's Disease and PET (ADAPT) imaging lab. She graduated from Smith College in 2018 with a double major in neuroscience and dance. Currently Aubrey has two ongoing projects within the ADAPT lab: “Differential acquisition of 18F-Florbetaben imaging” and “Racial differences in MK6240 off target binding.” She has also coauthored 14 other papers and presentations during her four years with the Kreisl lab (now ADAPT). She is currently focusing on data analysis and participant visits and is in the process of applying to medical school.

    Aubrey S. Johnson
  • Anna Smith

    • Recruitment Coordinator

    Anna Smith is a research assistant for the ADAPT imaging lab. She graduated from New York University in 2021 with a major in neuroscience and minor in psychology. She currently focuses on data analysis as well as recruitment and participant visits for the lab. Anna is helping with data processing on the projects “Differential acquisition of 18F-Florbetaben imaging” and “18F-AV1451 uptake in AD patients with psychosis.” In her free time, she enjoys laying in a hammock in the park and reading.

    Anna Smith
  • Diana S. Guzmán

    • Research Assistant

    Diana Guzmán (she/her) is a research assistant within the ADAPT imaging lab (formerly known as the Kreisl lab). She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in health science and peace and justice studies. Diana focuses on interacting with research participants during study visits, including administering neuroimaging procedures and neuropsychological test batteries among other analytical research practices. Diana also works on the regulatory side of the research lab; this entails correspondence with the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the FDA, and other entities to ensure research compliance. She is currently a student in the premedical post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University and will be applying to medical school.

    Diana S. Guzmán
  • Amara Okafor

    • Research Assistant

    Amara Okafor (she/her) is a research assistant in the ADAPT Lab. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2022 with a major in neuroscience and minors in Healthcare management and Chemistry. She currently focuses on recruitment and participant visits along with the regulatory side of the lab. Her research interests include lifestyle contributions to disease, the effect of social determinants of  health, and aging and dementia. She is on the pre-medical path and hopes to attend medical school one day. In her free time her hobbies include cooking and dabbling in graphic design.

  • Samantha M. Rossano, PhD

    • Post-doctoral Fellow

    Sam Rossano is a postdoctoral research scientist in the ADAPT imaging lab. Her research interests include using medical imaging technology like positron emission tomography (PET) to study how the brain works in health and disease. In the ADAPT imaging lab, Sam processes and analyzes PET data, specifically focusing on the [11C]ER176 radioligand, which images the 18kDa translocator protein TSPO and has been used as a measure of neuroinflammation. She is also interested in using other radioligands to explore how key proteins like Tau and β-amyloid change with Alzheimer’s disease progression. Before working at Columbia, Sam completed her PhD in biomedical engineering at Yale University and received her BE/MS degrees in biomedical engineering from Stony Brook University. In her free time, she enjoys baking, writing, and watching baseball (Go Yankees!).

    Samantha M. Rossano, PhD
  • Daniel Talmasov, MD

    • Study Physician and Clinical Fellow

    Daniel Talmasov is a physician-neuroscientist with dual training in neurology and psychiatry. Dr. Talmasov’s research applies core neurologic principles to understand how distinct and stereotyped clusters of psychiatric symptoms emerge from the interactions of specific disease processes and neuroanatomic networks subserving human behavior. Dr. Talmasov’s work in the ADAPT lab aims to clarify how clinical heterogeneity in the psychiatric manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease relates to the relative burdens of proteinopathy, atrophy, and inflammation in the brains of affected individuals.

    Dr. Talmasov trained in psychiatry at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School program, and in Neurology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Talmasov is presently a clinical fellow in Columbia’s Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry fellowship program and concurrently a T32 research fellow in late-life neuropsychiatric disorders.

  • William C. Kreisl, MD

    • Founder and Consultant

    Dr. William Kreisl founded the precursor to the ADAPT lab in 2016 when he submitted his junior researcher grant to begin studying PET within Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias at Columbia. He then applied for further funding to start the two major studies currently enrolling. Dr. Kreisl has since moved on from academia but remains involved in the ADAPT lab as a consultant.

    William C. Kreisl, MD
  • Patrick Lao, PhD

    • Principal Investigator

    Patrick Lao is an assistant professor in the neurology department at Columbia University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his thesis work focused on PET imaging, including performing radiochemistry for studies of Alzheimer’s disease. He completed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University, incorporating vascular MRI into studies of Alzheimer’s disease. His research interests include understanding how contextual factors, like sleep and psychosocial stressors, impact the complex disease course.

    Patrick Lao, PhD