Physician

Aimee Kao, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Aimee Kao is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Iowa School of Medicine where she received her medical degree and a doctorate degree in physiology and biophysics studying the molecular mechanisms of insulin signaling. She completed an internship in Internal Medicine at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital in Boston and a residency in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she was Chief Resident. Dr. Kao participates in patient evaluation and management at the Memory and Aging Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the Genetics Society of America.

After completing a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, Dr. Kao received a Hillblom Fellowship to join the laboratory of Dr. Cynthia Kenyon to study the role of aging in development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, with a particular interest in Parkinson’s-related dementias including multiple system atrophy, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy and dementia with Lewy bodies. Her research interests have expanded to now include studying the role of progranulin and tau in regulating neuronal health and integrity. Her current research is supported by an NIH K08 award as well as foundation grants from the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia Research, the Tau Consortium, the Hellman Family Foundation and a UCSF ADRC grant.

Her laboratory information can be accessed at www.kaolab.org.

Lea T. Grinberg, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Grinberg is a neuropathologist specializing in brain aging and associated disorders. She received her MD and PhD degrees in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2003, Dr. Grinberg, along with colleagues from several disciplines founded a brain bank in São Paulo, Brazil, which has developed into an extremely prolific and highly regarded institution. Her PhD work was focused in the neuropathology of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Grinberg acquired expertise in neuroanatomy and in the use of state-of-the-art methods for tridimensional brain reconstruction at the University of Würzburg, Germany. This knowledge is being utilized in several projects, including a R01 funded study in which the overarching goal is to provide an integrated picture of brainstem vulnerability in AD and FTLD-TDP and to incorporate this understanding into their etiopathogenesis, testing the hypothesis that selected brainstem nuclei are interdependently and consistently involved in very early stages of AD and FTLD-TDP. Currently, Dr. Grinberg is an Assistant Professor at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. In 2009, she was the recipient of the UNESCO-L'Oréal Award "For Women in Science" and in 2010 of the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation "Distinguished Research Scholar Award." She is also the chairwoman of the HUPO Brain Proteome Project since 2013.

Please click here to visit the Grinberg Lab website.

Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology

Dr. Gorno-Tempini obtained her medical degree and clinical specialty training in neurology in Italy. Her main focus was in behavioral neurology, particularly the neural basis of higher cognitive functions such as language and memory. To pursue this research she worked for three years at the Function Imaging Laboratory, University College London, where she obtained her PhD degree in imaging neuroscience. She was part of the language group, and her thesis work consisted of several positron emission tomography (PET) and functional MRI studies investigating the neural basis of face and proper name processing.

She came to the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF in 2001, and her main research project concerns progressive aphasia. Her goal is to combine neuropsychological and imaging techniques to characterize the various language deficits that can be early symptoms of different forms of dementia.

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD

Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center

Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an MD and a PhD in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UC San Francisco, an Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, and Principal Investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS & TES). A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we can enhance our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and TES. Dr. Gazzaley has authored over 80 scientific articles, delivered over 300 invited presentations around the world, and his research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN and NBC Nightly News. Recently, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-sponsored special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”. Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.

Mary De May, MD

Hellman Master Clinician

Dr. Mary De May received her medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed an internship in medicine and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and subsequently did her psychiatry residency and fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2000, where she is the Center’s Hellman Master Clinician.

As an attending physician at the Memory and Aging Center Clinic, Dr. De May participates in the multidisciplinary comprehensive evaluation of new patients and research participants, as well as providing ongoing care. She teaches neurology residents and fellows, psychiatry interns, geriatric medicine fellows and other rotating clinicians. She also performs psychiatric evaluations for patients referred from within the Memory and Aging Center and helps them find appropriate psychiatric care within the community as needed.

Adam Boxer, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Boxer received his MD and PhD degrees as part of the NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at New York University Medical Center. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center and a residency in Neurology at Stanford University Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in behavioral neurology at UCSF.

Dr. Boxer is an Associate Professor of Neurology and the Vera and John Graziadio Scholar in Alzheimer’s Disease Research. He directs the Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia Clinical Trials Program at the Memory and Aging Center. He participates in the evaluation and management of patients in the Memory and Aging Clinic and attends on the Moffitt Inpatient Neurology Service.

Dr. Boxer’s research uses quantitative eye movement (watch a video on this study) and neuroimaging (MRI and PET) measurements to study the pathophysiology of cognitive and motor impairments in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration. He is the lead principal investigator of the first US multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of a therapeutic agent for frontotemporal dementia (memantine/Namenda®) and an international, phase 2/3, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the microtubule stabilizing agent, davunetide (NAP, Al-108), for PSP. Dr. Boxer is the recipient of the 2002 Edwin Boldrey Award from the San Francisco Neurological Society, the 2005 John Douglas French Foundation Alzheimer’s Award and a 2009 Hellman Foundation Scientist Award. He also leads the FTD Treatment Study Group (FTSG), a group looking to speed the development of new therapies for FTD.

Michael Geschwind, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Geschwind received his MD and PhD (neuroscience) degrees through the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, his neurology residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and his fellowship in behavioral neurology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). He has been at the Memory and Aging Center since 2003.

Dr. Geschwind evaluates patients in the MAC new patient clinic and participates in the management and care for these patients in the MAC continuity clinic. He is active in the training of medical students and residents at UCSF. Dr. Geschwind teaches a national course and lectures, both nationally and internationally, on the assessment of rapidly progressive dementias, including human prion diseases.

Dr. Geschwind's primary research interest is the assessment and treatment of rapidly progressive dementias, including prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Dr. Geschwind helped establish an inpatient hospital program for the assessment of rapidly progressive dementias at UCSF, one of the first of its kind in the country. He ran the first ever US treatment study for CJD. He also has an active research interest in cognitive dysfunction in movement disorders, such as Huntington's disease, corticobasal degeneration (CBD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and other Parkinsonian dementias.

Bruce L. Miller, MD

Center Director

Dr. Miller holds the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He directs the busy UCSF dementia center where patients in the San Francisco Bay Area receive comprehensive clinical evaluations. His goal is the delivery of model care to all of the patients who enter the clinical and research programs at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

Dr. Miller is a behavioral neurologist focused in dementia with special interests in brain and behavior relationships as well as the genetic and molecular underpinnings of disease. His work in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) emphasizes both the behavioral and emotional deficits that characterize these patients, while simultaneously noting the visual creativity that can emerge in the setting of FTD. He is the principal investigator of the NIH-sponsored Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and an NIH-funded program project on FTD called Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Imaging and Emotions. He oversees a healthy aging program supported through the Hellman Center, which includes an artist in residence program. In addition, he helps lead two philanthropy-funded research consortia, the Tau Consortium and Consortium for Frontotemporal Research, focused around developing treatments for tau and progranulin disorders respectively. Also, he has worked with the National Football League to help with the education and assessment of players related to brain health. Dr. Miller teaches extensively and runs the Behavioral Neurology Fellowship at UCSF.

Dr. Miller has received many awards including the Potamkin Award from the American Academy of Neurology, the Raymond Adams Lecture at the American Neurological Association, the Elliot Royer Award from the San Francisco Neurological community, the UCSF Annual Faculty Research Lectureship in Clinical Science, the UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award, and the Gene D. Cohen Research Award in Creativity and Aging from the National Center for Creative Aging. He has authored The Human Frontal Lobes, The Behavioral Neurology of Dementia and extensive publications regarding dementia. He has been featured in Fortune magazine and the New York Times, as well as on "Charlie Rose," "PBS NewsHour" and other media. For nearly three decades, Dr. Miller has been the scientific director for the philanthropic organization The John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that funds basic science research in Alzheimer’s disease.

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