Epidemiology is an inherently multidisciplinary, translational field of study that examines the distribution and determinants of disease in the population. Although its basic building blocks of prevalence, incidence, and risk factors are widely acknowledged, its role in clinical and translational research is less well appreciated and utilized. Epidemiology can contribute to guiding clinical trials design, to validating diagnostic criteria and biomarkers, to identifying - at the population level - signals of potential disease mechanisms to be investigated at the clinical and laboratory levels. The Candidate is a seasoned psychiatrist and neuroepidemiologist. This K07 Leadership Award in Aging will allow her to develop a new program at the University of Pittsburgh in the epidemiology of brain and behavior in aging. Specifically, 3 groups of activities are proposed: (1) A multi-level curriculum in Aging Brain-Behavior Epidemiology, with several classes and seminars targeting clinical residents and fellows, psychology interns, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty in neurology, psychiatry, geriatric medicine, psychology, and epidemiology, building on and expanding currently available educational offerings. (2) A multidisciplinary Research Forum on Cancer and Neurodegeneration, based on intriguing epidemiologic evidence of an inverse relationship between neurodegeneration and certain cancers. This Forum will bring together researchers from clinical, basic, and translational neuroscience, neuroepidemiologists, oncologists, cancer epidemiologists, geneticists, immunologists, and related disciplines, to review and discuss emerging science, generate innovative hypotheses leading to pilot studies, and collaborative research. (3) A range of Research Practice offering mentored research opportunities to early stage investigators, including (i) a novel study of cognitive impairment in a cohort of middle-aged women who have been well-characterized for alcohol and cannabis use and followed for 22 years;(ii) secondary analyses of data from the Candidate's four large epidemiologic studies of cognitive impairment and dementia;(iii) pilot studies derived from the forum on cancer and neurodegeneration. This program will also organize conferences to broadly disseminate results of research as well as curricular efforts. Thus, it will introduce educational enhancements and catalyze innovative multidisciplinary translational research with a population perspective. It will not only generate new science but result in the development of a multidisciplinary cadre of investigators who will be equipped with a sound grasp of critical epidemiological principles and methods to inform their research into brain disorders of aging.

Public Health Relevance

This K07 Leadership Award in Aging will allow the Candidate, Dr. Mary Ganguli, to develop a research education and training program in the Epidemiology of Aging Brain and Behavior at the University of Pittsburgh. This program will offer classes and seminars to trainees and faculty across disciplines that study brain disorders (psychiatry, neurology, and neuroscience), provide mentored research opportunities in epidemiology, and also develop a multidisciplinary forum to discuss and study the intriguing relationships between brain degeneration and certain cancers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
Program Officer
Wagster, Molly V
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Ganguli, Mary; Sun, Zhaowen; McDade, Eric et al. (2018) That's Inappropriate! Social Norms in an Older Population-based Cohort. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 32:150-155
Beer, Joanne C; Snitz, Beth E; Chang, Chung-Chou H et al. (2018) Does a cognitive stress test predict progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia equally well in clinical versus population-based settings? Int Psychogeriatr 30:1435-1445
Ganguli, Mary; Albanese, Emiliano; Seshadri, Sudha et al. (2018) Population Neuroscience: Dementia Epidemiology Serving Precision Medicine and Population Health. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 32:1-9
Kassem, Ahmed M; Ganguli, Mary; Yaffe, Kristine et al. (2018) Anxiety symptoms and risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in the oldest old women. Aging Ment Health 22:474-482
Ganguli, Mary; Jia, Yichen; Hughes, Tiffany F et al. (2018) Mild Cognitive Impairment that Does Not Progress to Dementia: A Population-Based Study. J Am Geriatr Soc :
Snitz, Beth E; Wang, Tianxiu; Cloonan, Yona Keich et al. (2018) Risk of progression from subjective cognitive decline to mild cognitive impairment: The role of study setting. Alzheimers Dement 14:734-742
Kassem, Ahmed M; Ganguli, Mary; Yaffe, Kristine et al. (2017) Anxiety symptoms and risk of cognitive decline in older community-dwelling men. Int Psychogeriatr 29:1137-1145
Ganguli, Mary (2017) The times they are a-changin': cohort effects in aging, cognition, and dementia. Int Psychogeriatr 29:353-355
Dodge, Hiroko H; Zhu, Jian; Hughes, Tiffany F et al. (2017) Cohort effects in verbal memory function and practice effects: a population-based study. Int Psychogeriatr 29:137-148
Graziane, Julie A; Beer, Joanne C; Snitz, Beth E et al. (2016) Dual Trajectories of Depression and Cognition: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 24:364-73

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