This grant is being requested to support the mentoring activities of Dr. Maria Luisa Gorno Tempini, a behavioral neurologist and cognitive neuroscientist. Dr. Gorno Tempini is a leader researcher and clinician in the fields of neurology and neuroscience of language, with specific expertise in atypical neurodegenerative diseases that present as language disorders. Her research has concentrated on primary progressive aphasia (PPA), and used cognitive neuroscience and advanced neuroimaging techniques to study its clinical variants and the neural basis of language symptoms. Dr. Gorno-Tempini has a proven commitment and a track record of success in mentoring both clinicians and scientists in patient-oriented research (POR) related to language disorders. The goals of this proposal are: 1) to support time for Dr. Gorno Tempini to mentor a growing number of clinicians and researchers interested in language and neurodegenerative disorders; 2) to support time to build a structured teaching and mentoring program, and to become a leading mentor at UCSF; and 3) to pursue novel lines of research in PPA that her mentees may participate in. To accomplish these goals, she will build a formal mentoring program using the excellent resources available at the UCSF Memory and Aging, Dyslexia, and Sandler Neuroscience Centers, and at the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Gorno- Tempini's mentees will train through planned didactics, such as lectures, workshops, journal clubs and one-on- one sessions, and their progress will be monitored using Individual Development Plans. Dr. Gorno-Tempini's experience in basic cognitive neuroscience and neurological methodologies gives her unique multidisciplinary expertise that can benefit trainees with backgrounds in neurology, neuroscience, and speech pathology. The research project proposed here will investigate prospectively the prevalence of neurodevelopmental differences in PPA, and will determine the effect of language-based learning disabilities on the PPA phenotype. Furthermore, she will apply novel molecular neuroimaging techniques to study the distribution of tau in the living brain of patients with PPA. The study will improve our knowledge of PPA presentation and provide data on the selective vulnerability of language networks to neurodegenerative diseases. This grant will be instrumental in supporting the pursuit of Dr. Gorno-Tempini's goals to mentor the next generation of clinician scientists in the neurology of language and neurodegenerative aphasias.
The work proposed in this application will train the next generation of clinician scientists in language disorders and neurodegenerative disease. The research will further our knowledge regarding the susceptibility of the language system to neurodegeneration.
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