Who Is Involved
Leading the Discovery of Treatments for Alzheimer's Parkinson's and Other Brain Disorders
Lead Scientific Investigators
Michael Weiner, MD, is a Professor in Residence in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, which is the largest observational study in the world concerning Alzheimer's Disease. He is the former Director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. After graduating from the Johns Hopkins University in 1961, he obtained his MD from SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York in 1965, and he completed his internship and residency in Medicine from Mt. Sinai Hospital in 1967. From 1967-1968, Dr. Weiner completed a residency and clinical fellowship in Metabolism from Yale-New Haven Medical Center. In 1970, he completed a research fellowship in Nephrology from Yale University School of Medicine and a research fellowship in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin Institute for Enzyme Research in 1972, followed by a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine, Renal Section from the University of Wisconsin Institute in 1972. In 1974 he became an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at Stanford University, and in 1980 he became an Associate Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at UCSF. In 1983, he established the Magnetic Resonance Unit at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, which became the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases in 2000. In 1990, he became a Professor of Radiology, Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology at UCSF. Dr. Weiner’s research activities involve the development and utilization of MRI and PET for investigating and diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases. In 1980, Dr. Weiner was one of the first to perform MRS on an intact animal, and subsequently pursued his goal to develop MRI/S as a clinical tool. In 1988, his group used MRS to show that the amino acid N acetyl aspartate (NAA), a marker of healthy nerve cells, is reduced in the epileptic focus in the brain. In 2004, Dr. Weiner's group reported that reduced NAA predicts development of Alzheimer's disease in mildly impaired elderly subjects. During the past 25 years he has worked to develop and optimized the use of MRI, PET, and blood-based biomarker methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Also, Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on monitoring effects of treatment to slow progressions in Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting Alzheimer’s disease early in patients who are not demented, but risk subsequent development of dementia. He is the Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a 14-year national longitudinal study of over 1500 subjects which is aimed at validating biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease at 60 sites across the USA and Canada for cognitive testing, MRI, PET, and lumbar puncture. He also launched the BrainHealthRegistry.org which is an internet-based registry with the overall goal of accelerating development of effective treatments for brain diseases. This website registry recruits, screens, and longitudinally monitors brain function on more than 60,000 participants. His overall research goals are to participate in the development of effective treatments and methods for early detection of Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders. Recently he has focused on developing inexpensive, scalable, tools to identify normal elders at risk for cognitive decline and dementia, and to provide the Brain Health Registry software to facilitate the work of other investigators. Dr. Weiner has mentored over 120 postdoctoral fellows, has authored 821 peer reviewed research papers and 62 book chapters. He holds 19 separate research grants. He has received numerous honors including the Middleton Award for outstanding research in the Veterans Administration, the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Award for research from the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Potemkin Award for research in Picks Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders from the American Association of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation.
Dr. Mackin is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSF School of Medicine where he has served as Principal Investigator for six grants from the National Institutes of Health. His research work has focused on a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, dementia, late life depression, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Mackin has spearheaded pioneering work in the assessment of cognitive functioning pre and post treatment, and has closely examined the neuropsychiatric symptoms of underlying neurodegenerative diseases with the aim of more fully understanding the range of symptoms that can arise from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Dr. Nosheny is a neuroscientist with molecular/cellular and clinical research experience focused on age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, and AIDS Dementia. After receiving her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where she identified important synaptic and intercellular signaling abnormalities in mouse models of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Since joining the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) in 2012, her research efforts have focused on novel strategies to identify risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, using Brain Health Registry and Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) data. In 2016 she lead the development of the Study Partner Portal within BHR, a novel tool for engaging with and collecting information from study/care partners of BHR participants. A major goal of Dr. Nosheny’s current research is to validate the data collected from the Study Partner Portal in order to facilitate Alzheimer’s and aging clinical research studies and clinical trials, as well as to facilitate screening of older adults for cognitive problems in various healthcare settings.
The Brain Health Registry is supported by generous funding through:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
- California Department of Public Health
- Connie and Kevin Shanahan
- The Drew Foundation
- General Electric
- Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation
- Larry L. Hillblom Foundation
- The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund
- The Rosenberg Alzheimer’s Project
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Diana Truran-Sacrey is the Brain Health Registry’s executive director. She is the lead on several Brain Health Registry projects, including the significant validation study funded by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center. She is Manager of Operations, Administration and Imaging for the Center for Imaging of Neurodegnerative diseases (CIND). She oversees operations for 60+ staff, faculty and administrative core, who are in turn responsible for more than $80 million in research projects. She began her career at CIND as a research assistant on an early HIV imaging grant. She quickly built a small imaging group into a large, multidiscipline imaging core with up to 26 MRI imaging technicians, and 30+ grants, clinical trials and projects. She studied Social Welfare at the University of California Berkeley.
Derek Flenniken is the Information Technology (IT) director for the Brain Health Registry. He has over 14 years experience in software development. As lead developer for the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND), he has overseen development of a web application that manages the recruitment, scheduling and data collection on over 12,000 participants in 40 studies. He has also overseen the development of applications which manage image processing through several different processing pipelines in a heterogeneous Windows & Windows environment that has help the CIND efficiently process over 70,000 images. He works closely with UCSF privacy officers to continue to protect data associated with the Brain Health Registry. He has a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology; Neurobiology from the University of California Berkeley.
Aaron Ulbricht is a Web Developer at the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND). He helps develop and maintain the Brain Health Registry. His main focus is building user interfaces, but he also works on data collection and analysis. He graduated from Indiana University with an M.S. in Psychology and an A.S. In Computer Science.
Joshua Hwang is a Web Developer at the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND). He helps develop and maintain the Brain Health Registry. He has helped to integrate new technologies and other services with the Brain Health Registry platform. Prior to working at Brain Health Registry, Joshua obtained a M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Rice University and worked as a developer at Rand Group.
Alexander Happ is a Web Developer at the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND). He helps develop and maintain the Brain Health Registry. He builds new features for the Brain Health Registry aimed at improving the functionality and user experience. Prior to working at Brain Health Registry, Alexander worked as a product manager at Imaginary Foundation.
Rewel Garcia is a Software Engineer at the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND). He helps develop and maintain the Brain Health Registry. He builds new features for the Brain Health Registry aimed at improving the functionality and user experience. Prior to working at Brain Health Registry, Rewel worked as lead engineer for 8Heroes.
Miriam Ashford is an assistant scientist for the Brain Health Registry. Under the supervision of the lead scientists, she is involved in the analysis and publication of ongoing BHR research related to using online cognitive tests to identify risk of cognitive decline and dementia, as well as registry diversity. She received her Ph.D. in Health Psychology from City University of London. Prior to joining the Brain Health Registry, she taught research methods and statistics at Palo Alto University to psychology students and worked as a researcher at a parenting-app start-up company.
Monica Camacho helps manage daily operations of the Brain Health Registry. She coordinates recruitment of new members, with a focus on building partnerships within the medical and nonprofit sectors. She helps coordinate activities related to the capture of the Registry’s longitudinal data – the process by which members return for follow-up questions and tests. She graduated with honors from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Psychology. Monica assisted in MRI acquisition and processing, for various Alzheimer’s disease and aging brain research studies at the Center of Imaging for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) prior to joining the Brain Health Registry.
Juliet Fockler is a Project and Grant Manager for the Brain Health Registry. She manages all activities associated with specific BHR projects, including contact with investigators and sites, setting up contracts and monitoring budgets. She plans, evaluates and tracks tasks and deliverables to ensure milestones and goals are attained. Juliet also works as the Grant Manger for Dr. Weiner’s Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) projects. Prior to CIND, Juliet worked at UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute where she served as the Program Coordinator for a campus-wide funding agency and award program.
Taylor Howell is a Project Manager for the Brain Health Registry (BHR). She implements BHR projects by working with collaborators to define the overall scope and specific aims. She also works to manage the workflow of key activities to ultimately ensure the successful completion and delivery of projects. Additionally, Taylor coordinates with Regulatory Affairs to ensure ethical compliance of BHR with the Institutional Review Board. She was previously involved in the recruitment and engagement of BHR participants by facilitating communication and community outreach. Taylor received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and a minor in Psychology from UC San Diego.
Winnie Kwang is a Project Manager for the Brain Health Registry (BHR). She provides project planning, coordination, and management for internal and external BHR projects. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to joining the Brain Health Registry, she worked as a recruiter and screener for Dr. Weiner’s study investigating the effects of TBI and PTSD on Alzheimer’s disease in Vietnam veterans.
Shivam Parmar is a Project Manager for the Brain Health Registry (BHR). He implements BHR projects using project planning, management skills, and specifically is working on increasing diversity outreach in underrepresented populations. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Psychology/Biopsychology. Prior to joining the Brain Health Registry, he worked with the UCSF Office of Clinical Trials Activation (OCTA).
Joseph Eichenbaum manages study communications that includes responding to participant feedback and inquiries. He assists with referral programs between collaborators and the Brain Health Registry. He also leads community outreach through social media and other channels. Joseph holds a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining BHR, Joseph was a researcher at the Neuroscience of Language Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Anna Aaronson is a Project Coordinator for the Brain Health Registry. She manages study communication, including the Brain Health Registry newsletter and participant support. In addition, she facilitates collaborations between BHR and other researchers. Anna holds a B.A. in English, with a minor in Neuroscience from Haverford College, and an M.S. in Science Journalism from Boston University. Prior to joining the BHR, she held positions in both the clinical research and science communication fields.
Adrienne Kormos is Executive Assistant to the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND), and provides administrative support to the Brain Health Registry. She also provides administrative support to the Registry’s founder, Dr. Michael Weiner. She is involved in community outreach and events for the Brain Health Registry. She has a history in legal work, and event coordination, and graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Humanities.
Affiliations & Partners
It’s easy to join!
(You must be 18 years or older)
1. Sign Up
You can join as an individual or with a partner.
2. Tell Us About Yourself
Answer some questions about your medical history, current health, and lifestyle.
3. Do Some Online Brain Tests
These tests exercise your memory, and are like games.