This is an application for a K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award to promote the candidate's development as an independent researcher in clinical neuroscience, with a focus on understanding the neurophysiological abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and eventually, in other dementia syndromes. Dr. Ranasinghe's long-term career goal is to develop a deep knowledge base on brain- behavior relationships associated with specific pathophysiological processes in neurodegenerative diseases. The current research project proposes a multimodal, longitudinal brain imaging study, integrating magnetoencephalographic imaging (MEGI) with positron emission tomography (PET), and with progressive trajectories of neurodegenerative processes, in AD patients.
AIM -1 examines the distinct patterns of network synchronization deficits in patients with AD using MEGI, and their specific associations to PET-derived molecular markers of amyloid beta and tau.
AIM -2 conducts longitudinal MEGI assessments of network deficits combined with cognitive and volumetric measures with annual follow-ups for two years. The results will uncover neurophysiological signatures of aberrant neuronal functions in AD, in humans, and will have important implications for translational research and clinical trials. This K08 will provide Dr. Ranasinghe with the support necessary to accomplish the following goals: (1) Training in application and analysis of multimodal neuroimaging techniques; (2) Clinical training in patient evaluations and longitudinal follow-up; (3) Gaining greater depth of knowledge in mechanisms of AD; (4) Training in advanced biostatistical analyses in clinical research; (5) Training in grant writing, career development, and research ethics. To achieve these goals, Dr. Ranasinghe has assembled a mentoring team including her primary mentor: Dr. Katherine Rankin (a neuropsychologist with expertise in neurodegenerative diseases); and two co-mentors: Drs. Gil Rabinovici (a behavioral neurologist with expertise in molecular imaging), and Srikantan Nagarajan (a neuroscientist with expertise in magnetoencephalography). The collaborators of Dr. Ranasingh'e project include Drs. Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini (a behavioral neurologist with expertise in neuroimaging), Joel Kramer (a neuropsychologist with expertise in cognitive ageing), Lea Grinberg (a neuropathologist with expertise in neurobiology of AD), and Maria Glymour (a biostatistician). The candidate is a physician-scientist with a strong commitment to a career in neurodegenerative dementia research. The University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center is an ideal environment for the proposed training, being a top dementia research institute in the nation with access to world leading experts in clinical and translational research. The research and training experience described in this proposal will enable the candidate's goal of developing a strong independent research career in the field of neurophysiological assessments in neurodegenerative diseases.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and currently has no cure. This study will use the novel and promising technique of magnetoencephalographic imaging in AD patients to characterize abnormal neural firing associated with the pathological protein depositions in the brain and with progressive cognitive deficits, in AD. A better understanding of neurobehavioral associations is crucial for designing and developing disease-modifying strategies to counter this debilitating disease.