Open Research Studies at the Penn Memory Center


The purpose of the Aging Brain & Cognition (ABC) study is to learn about how the aging brain makes quick decisions. Individuals above the age of 60 with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), or normal controls, may be eligible to participate. Study activity includes a visit to the clinic at the Penn Memory Center for one 1-hour appointment and completion of several computerized, puzzle-like problems that will take about 1 hour.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information.

AVID image

The purpose of the AVID study is to evaluate the safety and imaging characteristics of an investigational PET imaging agent that binds to a protein called tau. Being able to measure tau protein is of considerable importance for tracking brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This new PET tracer has potential application as a marker for assessing disease severity and may be useful in selecting patients for therapy and for monitoring disease progression.

Individuals at least 50 years of age with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible for this study.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information (for Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s disease).



Merck BACE 1 MCI Handoutimage

The Merck BACE-1 Study is a Phase III study for patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment testing the safety, tolerability and cognitive effects of the Merck BACE inhibitor drug. This study is for individuals 50-85 years of age with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

This drug is not FDA approved and is investigational. As a BACE inhibitor, the drug inhibits the enzyme that produces beta amyloid plaques, deposits of which accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study will assess the effects of the drug on cognition and the ability to perform everyday activities.

Participants must have a reliable study partner: a spouse, relative, or friend who knows the participant well and sees him or her often, who will attend all study visits, and who will provide information about the participant during the study.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information

Welcome to Penn Memory Center

Now enrolling:

Memory Café extended through April


The Penn Memory Center is pleased to invite our patients and friends to a new pop-up café at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Old City. This program is exclusively for people with memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, and their partners/families. Hours for this free café will be announced monthly.

“The challenges of living with memory loss can sever social connection at a time when it is needed the most,” said Felicia Greenfield, LCSW. “Memory café gatherings are a way for people with memory loss and their companions to come together to make new friendships.”

The concept of a memory café began in the Netherlands and quickly spread throughout Europe.

“When MSW intern Genevieve Ilg proposed the start-up of a café in Philadelphia as a part of her experience at the Penn Memory Center, I was thrilled,” Greenfield said. “We are so grateful to Christ Church for donating the space.”

Stay tuned for more information about arts and cultural events offered through the café in the new year.

Hours of Operation:

10:30 a.m. to noon

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Friday, April 8, 2016

For more information, contact Genevieve Ilg at 215-360-0257 or

Fall 2015 Cognitive Comedy Workshop

Join The Penn Memory Center this fall for one of two sessions of “Cognitive Comedy Workshop.” The free workshop, held 9 a.m. to noon at The Ralston House (3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.), highlights the relationship between cognition and long-form improvisation, as taught by local and East Coast improv comedians.

The course will be held for beginners. Meet, greet, talk, learn the basics, play games, do improv exercises, and finally act out scenes. Through listening, word association, and natural comedy instinct, you can find yourself confident, hilarious, and healthy!

Sign up for one of the following sessions by emailing or calling 215-573-6095:

  • 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, November 21

This program was created by local playwright Leah Lawler with help from the Penn Memory Center’s Felicia Greenfield and Tigist Hailu.

The A4 Study

If you are a healthy older adult with normal memory, now is the time to join the fight to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The A4 study is a historic clinical trial for older individuals who may be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study aims to prevent the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). You can read more about the study and the eligibility requirements at the A4 Study website.



Do you have a passion, talent, or skill that you would like to share with others?

Research tells us that cognitive stimulation and social engagement are key components to successful aging. The Penn Memory Center is pleased to provide a platform for our patients and community to come together and learn from one another. If you would like to volunteer to lead a book club or a discussion group, teach knitting, lead a yoga class, or share another skill with others at the Penn Memory Center, we are happy to host, promote and provide some administrative assistance to transform your interest into action.

Interested volunteers should contact Felicia Greenfield at 215-614-1828 or

News and Events

The Penn Memory Center is pleased to invite our patients and friends to a new pop-up café at Christ Church
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It’s an exciting time in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, declared a recent article. Enhanced investment in research has led
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  Nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the nation are slowly transitioning to create specialized memory units for their dementia
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The University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Inclusion & Diversity invites you to attend the second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health
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An elderly man suffering from dementia soils himself while shuffling down a nursing home hallway. A nurse finds him and
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Penn Memory Center in the Community

Click here to find out about the important work the Penn Memory Center is doing in the Philadelphia community.

 PMC in community

What does it mean to be a caregiver?

Click here to listen to the stories of caregivers from the PMC community.

I am a Caregiver


The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center

The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center seeks to advance public health goals, and serves as a hub for interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination at the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Memory Center's Jason Karlawish, MD, leads one of the PRC's Special Interest Projects - Alzheimer's/Dementia Assessment Messaging - and one of the SIP's Collaborating Networks - The Healthy Brain Research Center.

To read more about the PRC's work, visit their website at