Virginia Sturm, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. After undergraduate work at Georgetown University, she received her PhD degree in clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF. Her research centers on laboratory measurement of emotion and social behavior in patients with neurodegenerative disease.
Dr. Zachary Miller grew up in the Washington DC metro area. He obtained an undergraduate degree double majoring in Molecular Biology and Fine Arts from Haverford College. Following this he spent two years as a research assistant at MIT’s Whitehead Institutes for Biomedical Research in Dr. Harvey Lodish’s lab. He received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh and pursued medical internship as well as neurology residency training at the University of Washington.
Dr. Miller came to the UCSF Memory and Aging Center as a behavioral and cognitive neurology fellow with particular interests in enhanced creativity and visual function that can occur in the setting select neurodegenerative diseases of the language network. He completed his fellowship and is now a neurologist in the UCSF Memory and Aging Center who specializes in the care of patients suffering from cognitive decline or dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. His current research interests have grown to encompass the study of novel risk factors for the development of neurodegenerative disorders including neurodevelopment and chronic inflammation.
Prior to becoming a part of the MAC, Edgar acquired a BA degree in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley in cognitive science. As a student, Edgar studied both computer science and neuroscience and also assisted research in numerical reasoning, and later, the neurodevelopment of reasoning ability. He hopes to carry his research experiences forward into a graduate program in cognitive neuroscience.
In his spare time, Edgar is an avid cyclist and music enthusiast.
Anna Karydas joined the Memory and Aging Center in 2005 to support research activities investigating genetic causes of neurodegenerative diseases. She manages our laboratory specimens, genetic samples and genetic collaborations.
Brianne Bettcher completed her PhD degree in clinical psychology, with a concentration in neuroscience, from Temple University in 2010. During her time at Temple, she developed her research on error monitoring processes in individuals diagnosed with a dementia. Her research addressed how deficits in error monitoring affect an individual's capacity to carry out activities of daily living and function autonomously. She also developed an intervention strategy to train everyday task knowledge and demonstrated its efficacy for improving error detection. She completed her internship in clinical neuropsychology at the Palo Alto VA Hospital.
Currently, Dr. Bettcher is an Assistant Professor in Neurology and works as a neuropsychologist at the Memory and Aging Center. Her research focuses on the role of inflammation in cognitive aging and utilizes cognitive neuroscience techniques to understand how vascular and inflammatory risk factors may impact brain structure. Her research is funded by an NIH/NIA K23 Career Development Award to study the relationship between peripheral inflammation, cognitive functions and white matter microstructure in healthy, community dwelling older adults.
Lauren Wendelken graduated from Boston University in 2001 with a BA degree in neuropsychology. She completed her undergraduate thesis work under the guidance of Dr. Howard Eichenbaum, and her work in his lab focused on the neurobiology of memory in animal behavioral models. She went on to graduate school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where she joined Dr. Peter Davies' lab and earned an MS degree from the neuroscience department. Her research at Einstein focused on Alzheimer’s disease, and specifically the role of phosphorylated tau protein in neuronal pathology. After completing her master’s degree, Lauren took a hiatus from research and went to work running the New York office of an international literary agency. During her three year stint in publishing, Lauren revived her dormant French language skills and became familiar with reading habits around the world.
Lauren joined the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF in October of 2010. She works in Dr. Victor Valcour’s lab where she helps to coordinate local research into HIV dementia and aging with HIV as well as ongoing collaborations with the Thai Red Cross and the U.S. Army conducting neuroAIDS research in Thailand.