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 Directors
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.
Penn Memory Center Physician Researchers
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
Sanjeev Vaishnavi, MD, PhD is an Instructor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine. He is board certified in Neurology, and has fellowship training in cognitive neurology with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases.
Dr. Vaishnavi graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Applied Biology and then studied medicine (M.D.) and doctoral training (Ph.D. in Neuroscience) at Washington University in St. Louis as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He then came to the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine to train in Neurology, including a UCNS-certified fellowship in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.
Dr. Vaishnavi specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia, including Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions, and training medical students, neurology residents, and fellows to be the next generation of leaders. His research has focused on using advanced imaging techniques including functional connectivity MRI and PET to understand learning and aging related changes in the resting human brain, and at the Penn Memory Center, he does clinical research to discover better ways to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on early diagnosis and prevention.
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.
Soumya Bollampally, DO
Dr. Bollampally, of Wall Township, NJ, joined the Penn Memory Center in 2015 as an instructor in the Division of Geriatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania, received her medical degree at the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine (formerly UMDNJ) and completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency year at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Bollampally completed her Geriatrics Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Erica Smolcic, MD
Dr. Erica Smolcic is a clinical fellow in geriatric psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in premedicine and psychology. She completed her M.D. training at Penn State Hershey Medical School and completed psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Smolcic is primarily interested in a clinically-based career. She looks forward to caring for patients throughout the adult life cycle.
Romika Dhar, MD
Dr. Romika Dhar is a clinical fellow in Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She received her medical degree and postgraduate degree in Psychiatry from Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh, India. She completed her psychiatry residency training at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
She was awarded an honors scholarship in 2014 from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation.
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.
Kathy joined the Penn Memory Center in 2015. She is working towards earning her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She currently holds a Master’s degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is licensed as a professional counselor (LPC). Under the supervision of Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, Ph.D., Kathy conducts psychometric testing and helps to facilitate the Cognitive Fitness groups.
Megan is a doctoral student in clinical psychology, specializing in neuropsychology, at Widener University. She currently is completing her predoctoral internship at the Penn Memory Center performing neuropsychological assessments with clinical and research patients and helping to facilitate the Cognitive Fitness Program. Megan originally joined PMC in 2011 as a practicum student and was subsequently employed as a psychometric tester. She received her BA in psychology from the University of Delaware and MS in health psychology from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She has previously completed neuropsychology practicum placements at Temple University Hospital and RSM Psychology Center & Sports Concussion Center of NJ. Megan is involved in research related to episodic memory performance in cognitively normal individuals with biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.
Amanda NeMoyer is a sixth-year doctoral student in Drexel University’s JD/PhD program in Law and Clinical Psychology. Her research has focused on forensic populations, with particular emphasis on justice-involved youth. In the future, she hopes to utilize knowledge gained from psychological research to inform and advocate for juvenile justice policy change.
Prior to joining the Penn Memory Center as a Neuropsychology Practicum Student, Amanda earned her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University. She also earned her B.S. in Journalism with a double major in Psychology at Northwestern University and her J.D. from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law.
Kate is a doctoral student at Temple University, where she is studying clinical psychology with a specialization in neuroscience. She is a practicum student at the Penn Memory Center for the 2015-2016 year, working with Dr. Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton to conduct neuropsychological evaluations and assist with the Cognitive Fitness program. Her research interests include the effects of cardiovascular and immune dysfunction on cognitive aging, as well as the influence of education and health disparities on risk for dementia. She earned a BS in neuroscience from Brown University in 2009 and a master’s degree in psychology from Temple University in 2014.
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).
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).