The Healthy Aging & Alzheimer's Research Care Center

HAARC Center Faculty and Staff

Faculty

Dr. Emily Rogalski, PhD

Dr. Emily Rogalski, PhD

Director

Dr. Emily Rogalski is the Rosalind Franklin Professor of Neurology and the Director of the Healthy Aging & Alzheimer’s Care (HAARC) Center. She is a clinical and cognitive neuroscientist researching aging, Alzheimer’s, and related dementias. Her investigations use a multimodal approach focused on two aging perspectives: primary progressive aphasia (PPA), in which neurodegenerative disease invades the language network, and SuperAging, in which 80+-year-olds are resistant to memory decline associated with typical cognitive aging. Her PPA research helped to characterize its clinical and anatomical features, drivers of disease progression, identification of risk factors, and refinement of cognitive neuroscience of language. She leads a global randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of Communication Bridge a novel nonpharmacologic intervention delivered by expert clinicians via telemedicine for individuals with PPA and their communication partners. She operationalized the SuperAging phenotype, and lead studies to establish its unique biologic, molecular, genetic, and psychosocial features. She leads the international SuperAging Research Initiative, which holds promise for identifying protective factors for avoiding Alzheimer’s disease, optimizing health span, and reducing stigma associated with aging.

Dr. Adam Martersteck, PhD

Dr. Adam Martersteck, PhD

Director of Neuroimaging Initiative

Adam Martersteck, PhD is the director of Computational Neuroimaging Initiatives in the Department of Neurology’s Healthy Aging & Alzheimer’s Research Care (HAARC) Center. He uses MRI and PET imaging to study “typical” aging, unusually successful cognitive aging (SuperAging), Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementia syndromes with multi-etiology presentations. Dr. Martersteck and his lab aim to bridge the fields of computational and clinical neuroscience by using machine learning techniques, with an emphasis on interpretability, to disentangle the heterogeneity of aging and disease.

Dr. Kaitlin Seibert, MD

Dr. Kaitlin Seibert, MD

Neurologist

Kaitlin Seibert is a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. She joined the faculty at the University of Chicago after completing her training as a resident and the inaugural fellow in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Prior to that, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science and Music Performance at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and her Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio. Her research interests include exploring the impact of creative arts therapies such as art and music in neurodegenerative disorders, exploring social cognition deficits across memory disorders and cultures and increasing access to care for patients with memory disorders and their caregivers.

 

Administration

Janine Grohar

Janine Grohar

Center Administrator

Janine received her BA in Organizational and Interpersonal Communications from Loyola University. She started her research career at the University of Chicago and has been in several research and leadership roles over the last 21 years. Janine spent the last 4 years in the Department of Surgery as the Director of Surgery Research Administration.  Janine participated in multiple Division lead initiatives where she provided her expertise and Institutional knowledge. She was on the Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) Steering Committee, a member of the Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) Workforce Initiative and collaborated with multiple Departments and Units within the University

Elizabeth Addison

Elizabeth Addison

Program Administrator

Elizabeth Addison is an experienced administrator, previously in the nonprofit sector and more recently in academia. She was educated in theatre and literature and has channeled her background in the arts into a love for organization and communication. She has a passion for administration and enjoys finding creative solutions to complex problems. Elizabeth is thrilled to be a part of the HAARC Center and assist in managing Dr. Rogalski’s exciting projects and important research.

Beata Samelko

Beata Samelko

Grant Administrator

Beata Samelko holds a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from Rush University. She began her career as a researcher in the Orthopedic department at Rush University Medical Center. In this role, she gained valuable experience in research administration. After nearly 8 years with the Orthopedic Surgery department, Beata was promoted to the position of manager and transferred to the Nephrology department. Throughout her career, Beata’s main focus has been on research administration, but she has also actively engaged in bench research and contributed to various scientific publications. After spending over 14 years at Rush University, Beata decided to join the Research Administration team at Northwestern University. In her role, she managed research portfolios, both pre and post-award, as well as clinical trials at the Mesulam Center. As of February 1, she has joined the HAARC Center at the University of Chicago as Grants and Contracts Administrator.

Hanna Clem

Hanna Clem

Social and Digital Media Communications Coordinator

Hanna has been working in social and digital media for the past five years across the restaurant, sports, and education industries. She started her professional career at the University of Kansas as a communications coordinator in 2021 and recently joined the HAARC Center this past February. Hanna has a passion for leveraging digital platforms to not only engage and inform, but inspire. She has experience in digital marketing, branding, graphic design, social media content creation, social media management, web creation, web content management, video creation, and production. Hanna is excited to learn and grow with the HAARC Center!

Leadership Staff

Becky Devine

Becky Devine

Director of Clinical Research and Regulatory Operations

As the Regulatory Operations Manager, Becky Devine is responsible for overseeing and managing regulatory compliance at the HAARC Center.  With over 20 years of clinical research experience, Becky has a strong background in clinical research operations and clinical research program management.  In her role, she works closely with research teams to ensure that clinical research conducted at the Center adheres to both local and federal guidelines and follows all relevant policies, procedures, and standards

Rhiana Schafer

Rhiana Schafer

Director of Data Management

Rhiana Schafer is the HAARC Center’s Director of Data Management. With nearly a decade of experience working in dementia research in varying roles, Rhiana brings a well-rounded understanding of data collection, manipulation, visualization, and storage. They are passionate about inclusivity in research and illuminating systemic bias in research data collection methods. They are excited to share their experience and enthusiasm for dementia research with the University of Chicago and surrounding community. 

Phyllis Timpo

Phyllis Timpo

Director of Community Engagement, Outreach, and Recruitment

Phyllis Timpo is a dedicated advocate with over 15 years of experience in fostering health equity within communities. Currently serving as the Director of Community Engagement, Outreach and Recruitment at The Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Research Care (HAARC) Center at the University of Chicago, she spearheads initiatives to diversify research cohorts in National Institute of Aging funded programs and clinical trials. Phyllis specializes in cultivating partnerships between historically marginalized communities and academic research institutions, with the aim of mitigating health disparities among Black older adults. Her efforts concentrate on increasing awareness and research opportunities related to brain health, healthy aging, and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias within minoritized populations with a primary objective of addressing social determinants of health through community engagement.

Trainees

Dr. Chandler J. Zolliecoffer

Dr. Chandler J. Zolliecoffer

Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Chandler J. Zolliecoffer is a clinical neuropsychology post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She completed her doctoral internship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of California San Diego. At UChicago Medicine, Dr. Zolliecoffer sees patients in the Adult Neuropsychology Service where she conducts neuropsychological evaluations for individuals with complex presenting concerns. Within the HAARC Center, she assists with community-engaged recruitment efforts and provides neuropsychological consultation for the SuperAging study. Dr. Zolliecoffer’s pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice has been lifelong, and these are values that she is committed to centering in her clinical, research, and personal contexts.

Ollie Fetger

Ollie Fetger

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student

Ollie (she/her) hails from the suburbs of Chicago and is currently a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student with Dr. Rogalski. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Brigham Young University, where she studied brain injury and epilepsy. She completed her master’s degree in clinical psychology at Northwestern University, and her doctoral work is focused on using non-pharmacological interventions to support communication and quality of life in persons living with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and related dementias.

Bram Diamond

Bram Diamond

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate

Bram is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program within the Neuropsychology Major Area of Study at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. His research is focused on the use of functional neuroimaging to uncover the neural mechanisms of successful cognitive aging in older adults. His long-term research interest is in the application of MRI within the field of cognitive neurology to uncover unique pre-clinical biomarkers for distinct dementia syndromes, improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy for patients with major neurocognitive disorders, inform preventative and/or treatment interventions for neurodegenerative diseases, and promote behavior associated with successful cognitive aging. 

Study Teams

Communication Bridge

Matt Bona

Matt Bona

Operations Manager

Matt has ten years of experience working in clinical research and operations. His previous work has primarily focused on managing clinical trials in psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Matt currently serves as the operations manager of the Communication Bridge clinical trial, leading activities associated with both Communication Bridge and Primary Progressive Aphasia. He is excited to collaborate with the University of Chicago on other clinical trials and research.

Emily Cummings

Emily Cummings

Speech Language Pathologist

Emily Cummings is a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) and a member of the Communication Bridge team. She has clinical experience working across the continuum of care in the outpatient, rehabilitation, and acute care settings. She has a special interest in supporting effective communication and life engagement for people living with aphasia. Emily is excited to work with the HAARC Center in advancing our understanding of SLP interventions for primary progressive aphasia.

Tom Hopkins

Tom Hopkins

Health Economist

Tom is a pharmacist by trade and has been working as a health economist for the past six years. He has spent most of his career in the pharmaceutical industry doing research from a cost and health outcomes perspective. Here at HAARC, he is working with the Primary Progressive Aphasia team in the cost analysis of the clinical trial and in incorporating health-related quality-of-life into research. Tom is excited to be at the University of Chicago and is eager to see the HAARC center evolve and grow.

Emily Kaderabek

Emily Kaderabek

Research Assistant

Emily Kaderabek joins the HAARC Center as a Research Technical Assistant. Emily has a background in neuroscience and public health and is eager to build upon her experience working with an aging population. As a member of the Communication Bridge team, she is excited to contribute to the PPA community and integrate her passions for research and patient-centered care. With six years of volunteer service at the University of Chicago Center for Advanced Care, Emily is now looking forward to engaging with the UChicago community in new ways.

Sydney Branson

Sydney Branson

Speech Language Pathologist

Sydney is a licensed speech-language pathologist who received her Master’s degree in Speech, Language, and Learning from Northwestern University. She has worked across the continuum of health care settings, specializing in adult and geriatric patient populations. Her special interests include neurodegenerative diseases, patient-centered care, and the application of research within clinical practice. Sydney is thrilled to be a part of the HAARC center and the advancement of therapeutic interventions for primary progressive aphasia with Communication Bridge.

SuperAging

Kianna Hearns

Kianna Hearns

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Kianna Hearns is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the HAARC Center for the SuperAging Research Initiative. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a wealth of experience in neuropsychology, patient-facing roles, as well as liaising between different departments in healthcare organizations. Her responsibilities revolves around organizing participant enrollment, training research assistants, and facilitating efficient communication and collaboration throughout the study. She is a strong advocate for community engagement assists with tasks supporting outreach and recruitment efforts.

Hannah Peirce

Hannah Peirce

Project Manager

Hannah Peirce is the Research Project Manager and team lead for the SuperAging Research Initiative at the HAARC Center. As project manager, Hannah is responsible for managing the multi-site study at both the coordinating site level and the local University of Chicago site level. At the coordinating site level, Hannah is responsible for managing study operations from the top down and maintaining a solid support structure for our local site teams as the study grows and evolves. Additionally, as team lead at the local University of Chicago site, Hannah is responsible for managing the local study team and overseeing local study activities.

Ethan Flowers

Ethan Flowers

Research Assistant

Ethan Flowers is a Research Assistant for the SuperAging Research Initiative at the HAARC Center. As a research assistant, Ethan engages with SuperAgers across multiple stages of their participation, from recruitment to in-clinic visits. As a visit leader, he administers neuropsychological testing, collects biomarker data, and completes other research-related tasks.

Sophia Moore

Sophia Moore

Research Assistant

Sophia Moore is a Research Assistant for the SuperAging Research Initiative at the HAARC Center. As a research assistant, Sophia engages with SuperAgers across multiple stages of their participation, from recruitment to in-clinic visits. As a visit leader, she administers neuropsychological testing, collects biomarker data, and more. Sophia additionally supports the SuperAging research by developing materials that aid in data collection and help facilitate successful participant visits.

Neuroimaging

Siobhan McDermott

Siobhan McDermott

Data Scientist

Siobhan McDermott serves as Data Scientist for the HAARC Team. Siobhan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the Ohio State University and will receive her Master’s in Data Science from the University of Chicago in Fall 2024. Her prior experiences include working with neurological research and clinical trials management. She is deeply passionate about using brain imaging and analytics to advance understanding of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Karthik Sreenivasan

Karthik Sreenivasan

Neuroimaging

Karthik Sreenivasan is a researcher at the Healthy Aging & Alzheimer’s Research Care (HAARC) Center in the Computational Neuroimaging lab. His research interests revolve around signal and image processing, exploring brain connectivity through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data, and utilizing machine learning techniques for brain state classification. His current focus is on developing and implementing new and existing methods to investigate changes in functional connectivity and study changes in the topological organization of brain networks due to aging and disease.

Maria Kharitonova

Maria Kharitonova

Data Scientist

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