Aging Brain Center Team at the Institute for Aging Research

Aging Brain Center Team

Director: Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH
Dr. Sharon K. Inouye is the Director of the Aging Brain Center, which she established at the Institute for Aging Research in 2005.  She holds the Milton and Shirley F. Levy Family Chair and is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Currently she is the overall principal investigator of the Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study, an $11 million dollar Program Project on delirium funded by the National Institute on Aging.  Dr. Inouye's research focuses on delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older patients, with more than 170 published articles to date.  She developed and validated the Confusion Assessment Method, the most widely used tool for the identification of delirium, as well as the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), a multicomponent intervention strategy designed to prevent delirium.  Dr. Inouye has been awarded many of the highest accolades in her field, and in 2011 she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She teaches and mentors extensively, and conducts clinical work in geriatric medicine.  See her biography and list of publications here.

Associate Director: Eva M. Schmitt, PhD
Dr. Eva M. Schmitt is the Associate Director of the Aging Brain Center and the SAGES Study Director.  She holds a Ph.D. in Social Gerontology from the University of Kassel, Germany.  Prior to joining the Aging Brain Center she was the Director of Program Evaluations at the Institute on Aging's Research Center in San Francisco, and an evaluator of educational programs at the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Faculty: Tamara G. Fong, MD, PhD
Dr. Tamara G. Fong is an Assistant Scientist II at the Aging Brain Center and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fong's research focuses on the causes and treatments of cognitive decline and dementia and is supported by a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging.  Her clinical activities include an outpatient clinic at in the Cognitive Neurology Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where she evaluates and treats patients with Alzheimer's disease, diffuse Lewy body disease, fronto-temporal dementia, vascular dementia, and mild cognitive impairment.  Dr. Fong teaches clinical didactics at Harvard Medical School and has lectured on topics including delirium care in the elderly, outpatient evaluation and diagnosis of dementia, and treatment strategies in dementia.  See her biography and list of publications here.

Faculty: Richard N. Jones, ScD
Dr. Richard N. Jones is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Aging Research and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology.  He joined the Aging Brain Center in 2005, where he is currently a principal investigator and Core leader of the SAGES study.  His primary research interests include measurement, assessment, and methodology development in the areas of mental health and quality of care.  Substantive areas include depression, delirium, dementia and cognitive impairment.  Application areas include clinical epidemiology, health disparities, cognitive and brain reserve, measurement bias, and interventions.  His teaching activities include annual workshops in psychometrics and facilitating tutorials in clinical epidemiology and population health at Harvard Medical School.  See his biography and list of publications here.

Clinical Research Associate: Sarah Dowal, MSW, LCSW
Sarah Dowal is a Clinical Research Associate with the SAGES study and the program coordinator for HELP.  She received her master's in Social Work in May 2010 from Boston University and is currently in school part-time for her master's in Public Health. Sarah's clinical interests and experiences include conducting cognitive behavioral therapy with both individuals and groups and working with people with hoarding disorder.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Alden Gross, PhD, MHS
Alden Gross is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aging Brain Center with an appointment as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in December, 2010 with a Ph.D. in mental health, master's degrees in biostatistics and mental health, and a certificate in gerontology. Alden's graduate work focused on cognition and everyday function among older adults, including the utility of memory tests and broader cognitive domains in predicting everyday function. His work culminated in his dissertation on memory strategies older adults use in daily life, and how these strategies relate to improved functioning and health-related quality of life. At the Aging Brain Center, Alden's postdoctoral research focuses on the impact of delirium on trajectories of cognition and function in older adults with Alzheimer's disease. See his biography and list of publications here.

Data Manager: Daniel Habtemariam
Daniel Habtemariam is a Data Manager at the Aging Brain Center, where he plays a critical role by assisting in the development of computer-based tools for inputting and analyzing data gathered in clinical research.  He received his bachelor's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins in 2005.  Daniel's work involves programming for data merging, study protocol reports, preparing derived variables, producing documentation, and data analysis.  The main goal of his research is to develop evidence-based practical applications to improve the quality of life for older persons.

Student Intern: Li-Wen Huang
Li-Wen Huang is a Student Intern at the Aging Brain Center and a third year medical student from the Duke School of Medicine with an interest in geriatrics and neurology.  She will be working closely with Dr. Sharon Inouye and Dr. Tamara Fong over the course of two years on various research projects.  Before attending Duke Medical School, Li-Wen attended Harvard University as an undergraduate.  She grew up in Atlanta and was born in Taiwan.

Data Manager: Cyrus Kosar, MA
Cyrus Kosar is a Data Manager at the Aging Brain Center.  He graduated with his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Boston University in 2010. While in school, he worked at the National Bureau for Economic Research as a Research Assistant. After a brief stint as a Research Analyst at Harvard's Center for Education Policy Research, Cyrus joined the Aging Brain Center team in 2011 working on the SAGES study. In addition to SAGES, he is interested in how social work interventions are tied to economic and medical outcomes, especially in palliative care settings.

Executive Assistant: Nina O'Brien
Nina O'Brien is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Sharon Inouye.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Simmons College in 2005 with a degree in Marketing Communications and a minor in Journalism.  While working as the marketing manager for a company in southeastern Massachusetts, she decided to make the switch to working in a healthcare setting and she hasn't looked back since.  Outside of work, Nina is a dedicated yogi who plans on completing her yoga instructor certification so that she can help improve people's lives on a more personal level.

Research Associate: Margaret Puelle
Margaret Puelle is a Research Associate at the Aging Brain Center.  Margaret moved to Boston from her home state of New Jersey after spending a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Jersey City, where she taught computer skills and financial literacy to recent immigrants.  As an undergraduate she studied cognitive neuroscience and sociology at Brown University and she plans to pursue a career in medicine.

Data Analyst: Douglas Tommet, MPH
Doug Tommet is a Data Analyst at the Aging Brain Center, where he works on SAGES and other Aging Brain Center studies.  He received his master's in biostatistics from the University of Washington in 2006 where his work focused on the trajectory of cognitive change.  He has a bachelor's degree in statistics from Winona State University in Minnesota. Doug's research interests include cognitive testing and latent variable modeling.

Clinical Research Associate: Guoquan Xu, MD, PhD
Dr. Guoquan Xu is a Clinical Research Associate at the Aging Brain Center, where he conducts medical record reviews, data quality checks, and phlebotomy  He received his bachelor's degree of clinical medicine, master's, and MD/PhD degrees of surgery in China.  He completed his surgical residency in the Seventh Hospital of Shenyang and later practiced as a general surgeon in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, China from 2001 to 2005.  Prior to joining the Aging Brain Center, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Blood Research Institute of Harvard Medical School from 2005 to 2006 and as a Clinical Research Associate at Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute of Boston University Medical Center from 2006 to 2010.

Project Director: Jacqueline Yee
Jacqui Yee is a SAGES Project Director at the Aging Brain Center, where she directs the long-term outcomes study.  Her professional career focuses on clinical research in the areas of neuropsychology and cognitive functioning in older persons. After graduating from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Jacqui worked at Tufts University, where she researched nutritional factors and their relation to dementia.  She then moved on to PAREXEL where she assisted in managing a number of clinical trials before joining the Aging Brain Center in 2009.

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