Alzheimer's Disease Core Center (ADCC) Director
John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD
Dr. John Trojanowski is the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr. MD Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine;
Co-Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR);
Director, Institute on Aging & Director (IOA);
Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center; and
Director, Penn Udall Center for Parkinson’s Research
In addition, he co-directs the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer’s Program established in 2004. He is the principal investigator on the Penn Biomarker Core of the NIH/NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a landmark study launched by the National Institute on Aging to find methods for monitoring the progression of AD and improving methods of imaging, and the validation of biomarker data. Dr. Trojanowski is responsible for the neuropathology cores in several studies in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the nation and Parkinson’s disease research projects.
Dr. Trojanowski’s work is exclusively neuropathology research-related; he does not conduct patient appointments.
Penn Memory Center Physician Researchers
Steven E. Arnold, MD
Director Emeritus, Penn Memory Center
After eight years directing the Penn Memory Center and 25 years as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, Steven Arnold, MD has announced he will move to Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston to serve as the Translational Neurology Head of the new Integrated Brain Center
Dr. Steven E. Arnold was a Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Director of the Penn Memory Center.
Dr. Arnold received his MD from Boston University. He completed a residency in Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute / Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and in Neurology at the University of Iowa. He also completed a fellowship in Behavioral Neurology / Cognitive Neuroscience and was a post-doctoral associate in Neuroanatomy there.
His leadership roles included serving as: Associate Director and Clinical Core Leader of the National Institute on Aging-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center; Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Section in the Department of Psychiatry; Director of the Cellular and Molecular Neuropathology Program in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, and Associate Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging (IOA).
Dr. Arnold has authored over 150 scientific articles and his research has garnered numerous awards. He is principal investigator for research spanning clinical trials, phenomenology and neuropsychology, molecular neuroimaging, biochemical biomarkers, epidemiology-scale molecular neuropathology in postmortem tissues, and rodent models of chronic stress effects on aging, behavior, and neuropathology. He has conducted longstanding studies into neurodegenerative disease pathology in relation to cognitive decline in late life, and he leads a broad clinical and translational research program examining brain and mind aging.
His major interests include clinical biomarker identification of neuropathology in the aging brain, the long-term neurobiological effects of stress, anxiety, and depression on memory and risk for dementia, and protective factors that account for cognitive resilience in aging. Dr. Arnold has also had longstanding interest in the neurobiology of severe mental illnesses and leads a clinicopathological and neurobiological studies program focused on the cellular, biochemical and molecular neuropathology of schizophrenia using human postmortem tissues.
Jason Karlawish, MD
Dr. Jason Karlawish is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board-certified in geriatric medicine.
Dr. Karlawish is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, a fellow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging, Director of the Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program, associate director of the Clinical Core and co-associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, and acting co-director of the Penn Memory Center. He is also Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core. In addition, he directs the Penn Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Brain Research Center, a member of the CDC supported Healthy BRAIN Network dedicated to surveillance, education, awareness and empowerment that promotes brain health.
He is also the project leader of makingsenseofalzheimers.org, a creative space for understanding the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease. Produced by the Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy program and the Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania; and made possible by a startup grant from MetLife Foundation, the website launched in September 2014. Making Sense of Alzheimer’s is an evolving forum for conversation about the disease. Its collection of ideas captures the many dimensions of Alzheimer’s, through the perspective of caregivers, patients, artists, researchers and clinicians. Utilizing multi-media formats such as slideshows, video, and audio clips, along with written stories, the site explores the changing understanding of what Alzheimer’s is and how it affects our ethics and ideas of personhood.
His research focuses on neuroethics and policy. He has investigated issues in dementia drug development, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision-making, and voting by persons with dementia. To learn more about his research and scholarship, visit www.jasonkarlawish.com.
Dr. Karlawish is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
David Wolk, MD
Dr. David Wolk is an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Cognitive Neurology Division of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board-certified in Neurology.
Dr. Wolk is the director of the Clinical Core and co-associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center and is acting co-director of the Penn Memory Center. He completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University, a Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and clinical Fellowship training in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He also completed a post-doctoral research fellowship studying memory in Alzheimer’s Disease there. Prior to his return to Penn, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and their Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Dr. Wolk’s research has focused on memory measures and other markers that allow for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One of the major challenges in the diagnosis of very early Alzheimer’s disease is differentiating the memory failures associated with the normal aging process from those reflecting early AD pathology. As such, his research currently focuses on memory changes in healthy aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and AD using Event-Related Potentials (a form of EEG), MRI (including structural and functional measures), and novel psychometric testing. It is hoped that these methods will contribute to early detection and intervention with emerging treatment modalities.
Dr. Wolk is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Steven F. Huege, MD
Dr. Steven F. Huege is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry.
He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University, and MD from the University of Texas- Southwestern Medical School. He completed a residency in psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is a Fellow with the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP). He serves as associate program director for Penn’s geriatric psychiatry fellowship program.
Dr. Huege specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of older adults with chronic and new-onset mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementias, and mood and psychotic disorders in the elderly. He also conducts dynamically-oriented psychotherapy with adult and geriatric patients. At the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center, he consults in the Community Living Center, and evaluates and treats patients in the geriatric medicine clinic. At Penn, Dr. Huege also works in investigational drug trials to evaluate novel treatments for dementia, with special emphasis on biomarkers and natural/herbal compounds.
Dr. Huege is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Roy H. Hamilton, MD, MS
Dr. Roy H. Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is board certified in neurology.
He graduated from Harvard University Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in Medicine and Health Sciences Technology. He completed residency in Neurology and a fellowship in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, both at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
In addition to evaluation and care he provides patients through the Penn Memory Center, Dr. Hamilton is actively engaged in neurology research. The central aim of his research is to define the mechanisms and limits of functional plasticity in the intact and injured adult human brain. As the co-director of the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation at Penn, Dr. Hamilton uses a combination of behavioral measures and noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), to elucidate structure-function relationships related to normal cognition and to promote therapeutic reorganization of neural representations of cognitive functions in individuals who have suffered from stroke.
Outside of his research, Dr. Hamilton teaches medical students and neurology residents in multiple venues and is the associate director of Penn’s Clinical Neurosciences Training Program. Dr. Hamilton is also deeply involved in issues related to diversity in graduate and medical education, and has spearheaded curricular enrichment initiatives for underrepresented students and trainees at the post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels.
Sanjeev Vaishnavi, MD, PhD
Dr. Vaishnavi is an Instructor in the Department of Neurology and Fellow in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech, and completed both his medical degree (MD) and graduate degree (PhD in Neuroscience) at Washington University in St. Louis. He subsequently completed a Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Vaishnavi’s prior research has focused on using advanced imaging techniques including resting state functional connectivity MRI and PET to understand learning and aging related changes in the resting human brain.
Dr. Vaishnavi is accepting new patient appointments through the Penn Memory Center. To schedule an appointment, call 215-662-7810.
Clara D. Boyd, MD
Dr. Clara D. Boyd is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She is board certified in neurology and UCNS-certified in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry.
Dr. Boyd received a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University, a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Columbia University and a medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She completed her neurology residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, followed by a behavioral neurology fellowship at Columbia University, where she also finished a Master of Science in Biostatistics from the Mailman School of Public Health.
Dr. Boyd’s career is primarily clinically-based. She cares for many patients at the Penn Memory Center and manages a variety of cognitive disorders.
Her research involves visuoperceptual disturbance in corticobasal syndrome, and her clinical interests lie in atypical presentations of Alzheimer’s disease. She is also interested in teleneurology and clinical trials.
Alysa Krain, MD
Dr. Krain joined the Penn Memory Center in 2014 as an Instructor in the Division of Geriatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her medical degree at Jefferson Medical College and completed her Internal Medicine residency program at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Krain completed her Geriatrics fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She will be working with Dr. Jason Karlawish, Associate Director of the Penn Memory Center, evaluating and treating patients with memory concerns.
Aaron Koenig, MD
Dr. Koenig joined the Penn Memory Center in 2014 as part of Penn’s Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2010, and completed a Residency in Adult Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic in 2014. In addition to performing clinical assessments in the PMC, Dr. Koenig continues to pursue his research interests related to the discovery of evidence-based pharmacotherapies for late-life depression and the related domain of cognitive disorders.
Katherine Levine, MD
Dr. Levine is a fellow in geriatric psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, obtained her MD at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and completed her psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sean McBride, MD, PhD
Dr. McBride is a psychiatry resident at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree from Swartmore College, took post baccalaureate classes at the University of Pennsylvania while working as a research associate in the Department of Physiology, and then earned his M.S., Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and M.D. degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, PhD
Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Neuropsychology from Drexel University. She completed her internship at Brown University and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Penn Memory Center as an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry in 2012.
Dr. Mechanic-Hamilton’s research has focused on memory systems and functional imaging. Her clinical focus at the Penn Memory Center is on neuropsychological assessment and cognitive and behavioral intervention in patients with cognitive impairment. She is a co-facilitator of the Cognitive Fitness Program.
Marianne Watson, RN
Marianne Watson, senior research nurse, has been with the Penn Memory Center since 1993. Marianne conducts screening evaluations and assessments of research participants, handles a wide range of research recruitment, and provides patient and family support. She has extensive clinical experience with the dynamics of the Alzheimer patient and their family.
She manages key aspects of our NACC program including the normal control cohort, our brain donation program, and biological samples collection. She is also involved in various aspects of our diagnostic and investigational drug trial research.
Marianne’s commitment to research extends beyond her professional role at the PMC. She is a long-time participant in the Harvard Nurses Health Study II, the size, duration and scope of which is unmatched in the history of women’s health research.
Melissa G. Livney, PsyD
Dr. Melissa Livney is a licensed clinical psychologist.
She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She completed a predoctoral internship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. Her training at all levels emphasized work with older adults.
She initially joined the Section of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2007 as a postdoctoral researcher. Through Geriatric Psychiatry, she sees older adults, including Penn Memory Center patients or their family members, for individual psychotherapy related to depression, anxiety, and/or later life transitions such as retirement, physical difficulties, memory loss, and grief. She also leads a psychoeducational group for caregivers of family members with dementia.
Dr. Livney is accepting new patients for psychotherapy through the Section of Geriatric Psychiatry, located in Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut St. For an appointment call 215-662-4508.
Felicia Greenfield, LCSW
Felicia Greenfield joined the Penn Memory Center in 2006. As the Associate Director for Clinical and Research Operations, Felicia manages the day-to-day operations for the Penn Memory Center. She is involved in long-term strategic planning for the Center and oversees PMC program development.
A licensed clinical social worker, Felicia supervises MSW interns who provide counseling and education to patients and their families, she facilitates support groups for individuals (and their care partners) who have been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and she is a co-facilitator in the Cognitive Fitness program. Felicia holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul J. Moberg, PhD, ABPP
Dr. Moberg serves as the consulting faculty neuropsychologist for the Penn Memory Center / Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). He is also consulting neuropsychologist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Dr. Moberg is an Associate Professor of Neuropsychology in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Otorhinolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is the Director of Clinical Services for the Brain-Behavior Laboratory (BBL) in the Neuropsychiatry program and is the Co-Director of the Olfaction and Gustation Laboratory in the BBL.
He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology/ Neuropsychology from the University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School and completed an internship and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Moberg is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) of APA, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA), and the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN). He is board certified in Clinical Neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
Selam Negash, PhD, MSc
Dr. Negash is a Research Associate in the Penn Memory Center. She received her doctoral training in neuroscience from Georgetown University. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic Rochester, where she also obtained a Master’s of Science degree in the Clinical Research Program.
Her work focuses on investigating factors associated with successful cognitive aging, including lifestyle factors such as cognitive activity, and in developing interventions that enhance cognitive fitness in older adults. She also studies successful cognitive aging in minority populations, particularly African Americans. Her other area of work focuses on examining implicit and explicit learning and memory systems in healthy aging and in mild cognitive impairment.
Sharon Xie, PhD
Dr. Sharon Xie is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Biostatistics Core of Penn’s Alzheimer’s DIsease Core Center (ADCC).