My primary research interest lies in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research. I was exposed to aging populations early on in my undergraduate career, both in my coursework and my full time internship during senior year. After graduating in 2010, I began work as an activities assistant on a late-stage dementia unit. In this setting, I was exposed to the symptoms and day-to-day experience of working with dementia populations. I gained first-hand knowledge in the different types of dementia, how the symptoms manifest themselves differently in every case, and the way certain interventions and activities can modify behaviors.
One of the most inspiring parts of this job was seeing the way music was capable of reaching the residents. Even people with advanced stages of dementia reacted to the music of their youth, even if it was in some small way. Furthermore, witnessing the many ways dementia affects individuals, as well as their families and friends, urged the importance of early detection and treatment of this disease. Pursuing my master’s in psychology and neuroscience methodology provided me with the skills necessary to further understand and ultimately treat this disease.
Specifically, my interest lies in the establishment of biomarkers for early detection. Although master’s work utilized electroencephalography (EEG), I am also interested in investigating a multi-modal approach, using both EEG and other neuroimaging techniques (e.g. structural and functional MRI, PET) as methods for identifying these biomarkers. Alzheimer’s research is constantly advancing, and my research and clinical skills provide a unique perspective for playing a pivotal role in further developing treatment and understanding.