This is an application for a K23 award for Dr. Katherine Possin, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center (MAC). Dr. Possin is establishing herself as a young investigator in patient-oriented clinical research of spatial cognition in neurodegenerative disease. This K23 award will provide Dr. Possin with the support necessary to accomplish the following goals: (1) to become an expert in the behavioral neurology of neurodegenerative disease;(2) to conduct clinical investigations of spatial cognition in neurodegenerative disease by adapting innovative methods from cognitive neuroscience;(3) to develop proficiency in advanced multimodal neuroimaging analyses;and (4) to develop an independent clinical research career. To achieve these goals, Dr. Possin has assembled a mentoring team comprised of a primary mentor, Dr. Bruce Miller, Director of the MAC, who conducts clinical investigations in neurodegenerative disease as the PI on a Program Project Grant (PPG) on Frontotemporal Dementia and an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC);and three co-mentors: Dr. Joel Kramer, a neuropsychologist who is an international leader in the development of neuropsychological tests;Dr. Maria Luisa Gorno Tempini, a neurologist with expertise in structural MRI including diffusion tensor imaging;and Dr. William Seeley, a neurologist with expertise in resting state functional connectivity MRI. Spatial cognitive deficits are often among the earliest symptoms of neurodegenerative disease, yet spatial function tests used in current dementia evaluations lack the anatomic specificity to differentiate between pathologic causes of dementia including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD) with cognitive impairment, and behavioral variant Frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Early diagnosis is more than merely of academic interest due to the contraindication of neuroleptic drugs in PD and the promise of molecule-specific treatments on the horizon. Dr. Possin's research will dissect the specific components of spatial function targeted by each disease using rigorous assessment methods developed and validated within a cognitive neuroscience framework, including virtual reality navigation tests (Aim 1), and her research will elucidate the neural correlates of spatial performance using structural and diffusion tensor imaging analyses (Aim 2). In addition, her research will identify the functional neural networks related to important aspects of spatial processing that are disrupted in these diseases (Aim 3). The proposed research will use the existing infrastructure of the PPG and the ADRC to enroll 31 patients with early AD, 31 patients with PD, 31 patients with bvFTD, and 31 neurologically healthy controls. Via the parent projects, a rich dataset will be made available to Dr. Possin for analysis with the spatial cognitive data that includes multimodal neuroimaging, general neuropsychological testing, neurological exam, and functional evaluation data. Public health relevance the results from this study will inform anatomically-specific methods for spatial assessment in dementia evaluations, and will provide valuable information about the neural substrates of spatial cognition.

Public Health Relevance

the results from this study will inform anatomically-specific methods for spatial assessment in dementia evaluations, and will provide valuable information about the neural substrates of spatial cognition.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
Hsiao, John
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
Zip Code
Kim, Hosung; Kim, Ji-Hoon; Possin, Katherine L et al. (2017) Surface-based morphometry reveals caudate subnuclear structural damage in patients with premotor Huntington disease. Brain Imaging Behav 11:1365-1372
Possin, Katherine L; Kim, Hosung; Geschwind, Michael D et al. (2017) Egocentric and allocentric visuospatial working memory in premotor Huntington's disease: A double dissociation with caudate and hippocampal volumes. Neuropsychologia 101:57-64
Ranasinghe, Kamalini G; Rankin, Katherine P; Pressman, Peter S et al. (2016) Distinct Subtypes of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia Based on Patterns of Network Degeneration. JAMA Neurol 73:1078-88
Ranasinghe, Kamalini G; Rankin, Katherine P; Lobach, Iryna V et al. (2016) Cognition and neuropsychiatry in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia by disease stage. Neurology 86:600-10
Possin, Katherine L; Sanchez, Pascal E; Anderson-Bergman, Clifford et al. (2016) Cross-species translation of the Morris maze for Alzheimer's disease. J Clin Invest 126:779-83
Gardner, Raquel C; Hess, Christopher P; Brus-Ramer, Marcel et al. (2016) Cavum Septum Pellucidum in Retired American Pro-Football Players. J Neurotrauma 33:157-61
Rabinovici, Gil D; Stephens, Melanie L; Possin, Katherine L (2015) Executive dysfunction. Continuum (Minneap Minn) 21:646-59
Gardner, Raquel C; Possin, Katherine L; Hess, Christopher P et al. (2015) Evaluating and treating neurobehavioral symptoms in professional American football players: Lessons from a case series. Neurol Clin Pract 5:285-295
Walker, Zuzana; Possin, Katherine L; Boeve, Bradley F et al. (2015) Lewy body dementias. Lancet 386:1683-97
Alty, Jane E; Cosgrove, Jeremy; Jamieson, Stuart et al. (2015) Which figure copy test is more sensitive for cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease: Wire cube or interlocking pentagons? Clin Neurol Neurosurg 139:244-6

Showing the most recent 10 out of 25 publications