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CLINICAL CORE

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The Clinical Core provides standardized assessment of research participants, focusing especially on longitudinal changes in cognitive abilities, mood, behavior and neurological function. These data are uploaded by the Data Core to the National Alzheimer Coordinating Center (NAAC). Blood samples are sent to the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer Disease (NCRAD). Limited cerebrospinal fluid samples are stored in the Pathology Core. The Core recruits and follows a pool of participants who can be invited to participate in research studies, including clinical trials, observational studies [link to vascular cohort study], and the brain donation program [link to Brain Research Program]. To discuss recruit of participants for research studies, contact Dr. Schneider: email lschneid@usc.edu.

Leadership team

Lon Schneider MD, Leader, Clinical Core.

Lon Schneider is internationally recognized in clinical drug development for Alzheimer disease and cognitive disorders, neuropsychiatric, and behavioral disorders, has led numerous clinical trials for AD and MCI therapeutics, consults with numerous development programs, participated in the design and operations of several early and later phase proprietary development programs for AD, directed multicenter trials in AD and major depression, including the paradigm shifting CATIE-AD trial. More recently, he examined evidence for secular changes in AD trials characteristics and outcomes, and is conducting work using trials simulations from large metadatabases to assess the effects of Alzheimer-related biomarkers and genotypes on the efficiency of targeted clinical trials in order to improve trials methods. He serves on the steering committees of the NIH ADCS, the NIH ADNI, and the Banner Alzheimer Prevention Initiative.

Freddi Segal-Gidan, PA, PhD., Co-Leader, Rancho Satellite

Freddi Segal-Gidan has extensive experience as both a clinician and researcher in the field of cognition and aging. She is the Director of the California Alzheimer Disease Center (CADC), located at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, CA. In addition, as Co-Leader of the ADRC Clinical Core, Dr. Segal-Gidan directs all clinical and research operations at the Rancho site. The Rancho satellite has a particular focus on recruiting and following Spanish speaking Latinos in the ADRC research cohort.

Michael Harrington, MD. Co-Leader, HMRI satellite

Dr. Harrington directs the clinical core-affiliated satellite at Huntington Medical Research Institute (HMRI). His research is directed at understanding brain pathophysiology in order to improve therapy. His strategy employs compositional studies of blood and cerebrospinal fluid to identify molecular changes that are correlated with clinical dysfunction; then to elucidate specific underlying mechanisms. Recently, his lab found evidence of central dysregulation of lipids in asymptomatic (preclinical) Alzheimer’s disease from CSF brain-derived membranes. Notably, the changes included stage specific changes that differ between NCI, preclinical AD, MCI, and AD.

Clinicians and research staff

Mauricio Becerra

Mr. Becerra is the clinical trial study coordinator, focusing on recruitment, study visits, participant safety, and data collection. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Helena Chui MD

Dr. Chui is board-certified neurologist with subspecialty training in behavioral neurology. She is an internationally known clinical neurologist with expertise in Alzheimer disease, vascular cognitive impairment and other related disorders. She has conversational fluency in Spanish.

John Danner, LCSW

Mr. Danner is the recruitment coordinator for the Brain Donation Research program. As a liaison between the ADRC and community service programs, he is well positioned to provide information about community resources to our research participants.

Nadine Diaz, MSW

Ms Diaz is the recruitment coordinator for ADRC clinical research studies, including clinical trials. She serves a liaison between the ADRC and community leaders.

Lina D’Orazio, PhD

Dr. D’Orazio received her PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California, and recently completed fellowship training at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration. She joined the USC ADRC in 2014. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Kecia Watari Knoell, PhD

Dr. Knoell received her PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California. During the past decade, she has served as co-investigator of the Aging Brain program project and ADRC.

Gerald Lim, MD

Dr. Lim is a neurologist with subspecialty training in behavioral neurology. He performs standardized research assessments for ADRC clinical research studies. He is fluent in Burmese, as well as English.

Collins Liu, MD

Dr. Liu is a board certified neurologist and nuclear medicine physician, with subspecialty training in behavioral neurology and neuroimaging. He is the Co-Director of the Memory Assessment Center at Eisenhower Medical Center, where he provides consultations through telemedicine. Dr. Liu directs the Lumbar Puncture Clinic at the USC ADRC. He is bilingual with native fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

Carol McCleary, PhD

Dr. McCleary received her PhD in psychology from Boston University. She has extensive experience in the neuropsychological assessment of Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological disorders. She directs the ADRC neuropsychology assessment team, which includes doctoral and post-doctoral students

Sonia Pawluczyk, MD

Dr. Pawluczyk is a psychiatrist with subspecialty training in geriatric and forensic psychiatry. She is an expert in the management of affective and behavioral symptoms associated with Alzheimer disease and related disorders, and has extensive experience in clinical trials. She is bilingual and a native Spanish speaker.

Liliana Ramirez-Gomez, MD

Dr. Ramirez is a board certified neurologist with subspecialty fellowship training in behavioral neurology. She sees patients at the California Alzheimer Disease Center (CADC) at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, as well as the USC health science campus. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Maya Slowinska- Clinical Core Administrative Coordinator

Maya manages the flow of participants, data, and biospecimens across the Clinical Core. She coordinates activities with the pharmacology study unit (clinical trials), vascular cohort study, and brain research study.

Liberty Teodoro, RN

Ms Teodoro had many years experience as a clinical nurse, before becoming the ADRC research nurse coordinator 10 years ago. She works closely with participants and their families who are enrolled in the brain research program, clinical trials, and other research studies.