This proposal is a Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24) application for Angela Jefferson, PhD. Dr. Jefferson is a clinician-scientist whose interdisciplinary research program focuses on identification of early markers for mild cognitive impairment as well as hemodynamic factors contributing to the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dr. Jefferson is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the founding Director of the Vanderbilt Memory &Alzheimer's Center. In the 8 years since completing her training, Dr. Jefferson has demonstrated her commitment to professional education and mentorship and has established herself as a productive patient- oriented researcher in cognitive aging with strong NIH funding and a high-impact publication record. The proposed award will be instrumental in providing her protected time to expand her capabilities in cognitive aging patient-oriented research. In particular, she will gain new expertise and a practical skill set in the application of innovative biomarkers to better understand risk factors for accelerating the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of AD. Furthermore, it will allow her to use her strong research program as a platform to mentor early career investigators, including graduate students, medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty in patient-oriented research in cognitive aging. The proposal integrates the PI's interdisciplinary research team (including neuropsychology, cardiology, endocrinology, geriatrics, engineering, physics, neuroradiology, and biostatistics) with resources associated with the Vanderbilt Memory &Alzheimer's Center, the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical & Translational Research to offer a rich training environment for mentees. The training and research facilitated by this K24 mechanism will not only advance knowledge regarding early identification markers and vascular risk factors for AD, but it will also develop a cadre of next-generation cognitive aging researchers well-positioned to make meaningful contributions to the field.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding risk factors and mechanisms for Alzheimer's disease (AD) as well as enhancing early detection of mild cognitive impairment, the prodromal phase of AD, are all key steps in managing the growing public health crisis of AD, particularly as effective prevention strategies and therapeutic targets become available. This award will provide the candidate with protected time to mentor early career investigators in patient- oriented research in cognitive aging while gaining new expertise and a practical skill set in the applicatio of innovative biomarkers. This knowledge will enhance the candidate's scientific program in early detection of cognitive aging as well as better understanding risk factors for accelerating the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of AD.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-7 (02))
Program Officer
Anderson, Dallas
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Jefferson, Angela L; Hohman, Timothy J; Liu, Dandan et al. (2015) Adverse vascular risk is related to cognitive decline in older adults. J Alzheimers Dis 44:1361-73
Gifford, Katherine A; Liu, Dandan; Carmona, Hugo et al. (2015) Inclusion of an informant yields strong associations between cognitive complaint and longitudinal cognitive outcomes in non-demented elders. J Alzheimers Dis 43:121-32