Mechanisms of Aging and Dementia Training Program (M.A.D.)

The multidisciplinary Mechanisms of Aging and Dementia (M.A.D.) Training Program provides a select group of postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees a comprehensive research and training opportunity in fundamental and clinical aspects of aging and dementia, especially Alzheimer’s Disease, that is not available through the individual departmental or graduate programs. Program courses and research activities provide a broad overview of the different areas of aging and dementia research, including molecular/cell biology, signaling, systems, neuropsychology and behavioral neuroscience and brain imaging. In particular, the proposed program brings molecular/cellular approaches together with cognitive neurological and clinical approaches, which are a major strength in the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Medical School.

An important feature of the Training Program is that it brings together researchers in fundamental and clinical neuroscience, providing a highly productive, interdisciplinary research environment for trainees in aging and dementia. In addition to providing research training, the program will help trainees develop skills in written and oral communication, grant writing/grantsmanship, networking and career development. Instilling a clear awareness of ethical issues facing neuroscientists and responsible conduct in science is also a major training goal.

The M.A.D. Training Program supports 4 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral trainees per year. Trainees are selected by a Steering Committee from among nominations solicited from preceptors. Selection is based on outstanding evaluations from research rotation and thesis advisors, strong performance in coursework, strong letters of support from faculty, and a detailed research plan consistent with the training program objectives.


John Disterhoft, PhD
Robert Vassar, PhD

Associate Director:

Sandra Weintraub, PhD

Steering Committee:

John Kessler, MD
William Klein, PhD
Ken Paller, PhD
Jeffrey Savas, PhD
Joel Voss, PhD

View list of all Faculty Profiles associated with this grant


Mark Bevan Marek-Marsel Mesulam Joel Voss
Eileen Bigio Richard Miller Lei Wang
Savio Chan Richard Morimoto Sandra Weintraub
Anis Contractor Daniel Nicholson Patrick Wong
John Csernansky Puneet Opal Beverly Wright
John Disterhoft P. Hande Ozdinler Phyllis Zee
Daniel Dombeck Ken Paller
Adriana Ferreira Peter Penzes
Changiz Geula Paul Reber
John Kessler Emily Rogalski
William Klein Gordon Shepherd
Dimitri Krainc Teepu Siddique
Nina Kraus D. James Surmeier
Liming Li Geoff Swanson
Yongchao Ma Robert Vassar

Predoctoral Trainees:

Shiloh Cooper (Advisor: Thorsten Kahnt, PhD)
Elizabeth Daley (Advisor: Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD)
Michaela Novakovic (Advisor: Murali Prakriya, PhD)
Matt Russo (Advisor: Dan Nicholson, PhD)

Predoctoral Affiliate Trainee:

Mingzheng Wu (Advisor: Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy, PhD)

Postdoctoral Trainees:

Jackie Bonds, PhD (Advisor: John Kessler, MD)
Jason Climer PhD (Advisor: Daniel Dombeck, PhD)
Elif Tunc-Ozcan, PhD (Advisor: John Kessler, MD)

For more information, contact Dr. John Disterhoft: