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Mechanisms of Aging & Dementia Training Program

The multidisciplinary Mechanisms of Aging & Dementia (MAD) Training Program provides a select group of postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees a comprehensive research and training opportunity in fundamental and clinical aspects of aging and dementia, especially Alzheimer’s Disease, that is not available through the individual departmental or graduate programs. Program courses and research activities provide a broad overview of the different areas of aging and dementia research, including molecular/cell biology, signaling, systems, neuropsychology and behavioral neuroscience and brain imaging. In particular, the proposed program brings molecular/cellular approaches together with cognitive neurological and clinical approaches, which are a major strength in the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at the medical school.

An important feature of the training program is that it brings together scientists in fundamental and clinical neuroscience, providing a highly productive, interdisciplinary research environment for trainees in aging and dementia. In addition to providing research training, the program will help trainees develop skills in written and oral communication, grant writing/grantsmanship, networking and career development. Instilling a clear awareness of ethical issues facing neuroscientists, rigor and reproducibility, and responsible conduct in science is also a major training goal.

The MAD Training Program supports four predoctoral and four postdoctoral trainees per year. Trainees are selected by a steering committee from among nominations solicited from preceptors. Selection is based on outstanding evaluations from research rotation and thesis advisers, strong performance in coursework, strong letters of support from faculty and a detailed research plan consistent with the training program objectives.


Our Team


  • Robert Vassar, PhD

Associate Director

  • Sandra Weintraub, PhD

Steering Committee

  • John Kessler, MD
  • William Klein, PhD
  • Ken Paller, PhD
  • Jeffrey Savas, PhD
  • Joel Voss, PhD


  • Mark Bevan
  • Marek-Marsel Mesulam
  • Joel Voss
  • Richard Miller
  • Lei Wang
  • Savio Chan
  • Richard Morimoto
  • Sandra Weintraub
  • Anis Contractor
  • Daniel Nicholson
  • John Csernansky
  • Hongxin Dong
  • Tamar Gefen
  • CongCong He
  • Evangelos Kiskinis
  • Puneet Opal
  • Loukia Parisidou
  • Murali Prakriya
  • Jeff Savas
  • Patrick Wong
  • Beverly Wright
  • John Disterhoft
  • P. Hande Ozdinler
  • Phyllis Zee
  • Daniel Dombeck
  • Ken Paller
  • Adriana Ferreira
  • Peter Penzes
  • Changiz Geula
  • Paul Reber
  • John Kessler
  • Emily Rogalski
  • William Klein
  • Gordon Shepherd
  • Dimitri Krainc
  • Teepu Siddique
  • Nina Kraus
  • D. James Surmeier
  • Liming Li
  • Geoff Swanson
  • Yongchao Ma
  • Robert Vassar

Predoctoral Trainees

  • Nalini Rao
    Advisor: Jeff Savas, PhD
  • Amira Affaneh
    Advisor: Jack Kessler, MD
  • Bryan McClarty
    Advisor: Hongxin Dong, PhD
  • Andrew Fleming
    Advisor: Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD

Predoctoral Affiliate Trainee

  • Jane Stocks
    Advisor: Lei Wang, PhD

Postdoctoral Trainees

  • Patrick Skelton, PhD
    Advisor: Loukia Parisiadou, PhD
  • Cat Lammert, PhD
    Advisor: Peter Penzes, PhD
  • Kelly Jarvis, PhD
    Advisors: Emily Rogalski, PhD and Todd Parrish, PhD
  • Diptaman Chatterjee, PhD
    Advisor: Dimitri Krainc, MD

Contact Us

For more information, contact Bob Vassar, PhD, at

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