OUR TEAM

Our laboratory consists of a diverse team with a wide range of clinical and research abilities, including neurologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists, among others. Each team member brings a unique perspective that enhances the creation of high-quality scientific work. The interdisciplinary nature of our team enables us to place our research findings in a broader context and effectively communicate them to a diverse audience.

 


Principal Investigators:

Budson small photo

Dr. Andrew Budson, M.D.

Co-Director of the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience

Andrew E. Budson, M.D. is Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, Associate Chief of Staff for Education, and Director of the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Associate Director and Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ORE) Core Leader at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Professor of Neurology at Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine, and Lecturer in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. His training included graduating cum laude from Harvard Medical School, being chief resident of the Harvard-Longwood Neurology Residency Program, pursuing a fellowship in dementia at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and studying memory as a post-doctoral fellow in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience at Harvard University. Dr. Budson has had government research funding since 1998, receiving a National Research Service Award and a Career Development Award in addition to a Research Project (R01) grant. He has given over 800 local, national, and international grand rounds and other academic talks. He has published over 150 papers, reviews, and book chapters and is a reviewer for more than 50 journals. He has co-authored or edited eight books, including Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Dementia: A Practical Guide for Clinicians (translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese), Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory (translated into Korean and Simplified Chinese), Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: A Guide for Families, and Why We Forget and How to Remember Better: The Science Behind Memory. He was awarded the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology in 2008 and the Research Award in Geriatric Neurology in 2009, both from the American Academy of Neurology. His current research uses the techniques of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience to understand memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In his memory disorders clinic at the VA Boston Healthcare System, he treats patients while teaching fellows, residents, and medical students.

Dr. Budson’s CV

 

Dr. Katherine Turk, M.D.

Co-Director of the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience

Dr. Turk is a board-certified Neurologist specializing in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. She earned her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and then completed her Internship and Neurology residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. She completed her fellowship training in Behavioral Neurology at Boston University/VA Boston. She sees patients at the Boston VA Memory Disorders clinic and is also a principal investigator and co-director of the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience lab (CTCN) at VA Boston. She serves as the co-leader of the Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement core of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She has received research funding from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Doris Duke Foundation, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Turk’s primary research interests include studying the impact of mindfulness on memory, cognition and self-representation among older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. She is also broadly interested in behavioral interventions for autobiographical memory loss in veterans with Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Dr. Turk’s CV

 


Senior Research Fellow:

Renée DeCaro, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Renée DeCaro earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Tufts University and joined the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow in August 2020. During her Ph.D. program, she investigated how people update misconceptions as a function of healthy aging and confidence in their initial beliefs and the consequences for self-regulated learning. Since joining the CTCN lab, she has extended this work to individuals with cognitive impairment, including Veterans with Alzheimer’s disease. As an Instructor of Neurology at BUSM and postdoc at the CTCN lab, Dr. DeCaro advises and co-mentors others on a range of different projects to better understand 1) false memories in patients with memory disorders, 2) the impact of social factors (e.g., isolation, stereotype threat, neighborhood) on health-related outcomes and diagnosis, and 3) neural correlates of memory in patients using a variety of different paradigms (e.g., false memory, sleep).

 

 


Post-Doctoral Researcher:

 

Meltem Karaca, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Meltem Karaca joined the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience as a postdoctoral researcher in August 2022 after earning her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Karaca’s work focuses on understanding the neurophysiological, cognitive, and metacognitive factors that impact successful learning across the lifespan. In her dissertation, she examined how self-perceptions of aging influence older adults’ memory. In the CTCN lab, her goal is to extend this work to individuals with memory disorders and find effective methods to improve memory retention for older adults with and without cognitive impairment. She is also investigating the clinical utility of event-related potentials acquired through EEG in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury. 

 

 

 


Graduate Students:

 

Brenna Hagan, B.S.

Ph.D. Candidate

Brenna Hagan has attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience from Emmanuel College and is now a second-year Ph.D. student at Boston University in the Behavioral Neuroscience Program. Her research interests are understanding the various aspects of cognitive changes, neural correlates of memory and consciousness, pathophysiological mechanisms (e.g., cortical excitability and connectivity), and developing non-pharmacological interventions. She works primarily with patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

 

 


Research Assistants:

Emily Waskow, B.A.

Research Assistant

Emily graduated summa cum laude from Goucher College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Public Health. During her undergraduate studies, she worked with the Child Development Lab in original research on children’s sense of agency and locus of control and judgments in ambiguous moral situations. She also worked with the Memory Lab, focusing on math-specific growth mindset and math anxiety. As a CNA, she has experience working in multiple assisted living and memory care facilities. She is particularly interested in Alzheimer’s disease and the impact of social isolation on health-related outcomes and diagnosis, in addition to correlations with structural MRI and Event-Related Potentials. In the CTCN Lab, she is mainly working on Dr. Budson’s False Memories in Alzheimer’s Disease and Understanding False Recognition in Alzheimer’s Disease projects. Emily looks forward to continuing her education in a Ph.D. program.

email: erwaskow@bu.edu

 

Myna Chadalavada, B.S.

Research Assistant

Myna Chadalavada obtained a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Biochemistry as well as Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During her undergraduate degree, she worked in human subject research by tracking emotion regulation across a lifespan using fMRI and eye-tracking software. Myna is currently working as a Research Specialist in the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at the VA Boston Healthcare System, conducting research on the use of EEGs and surveys in the diagnosis and quality of life improvement of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury.

email: mynac@bu.edu

 

 

 


 

Clinical Fellows:

Lola Baird, LICSW

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Lola Baird, LICSW, received her BA in English Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Following an undergraduate internship with the Washtenaw County Office of the Public Defender, Lola developed a passion for advocating for underserved populations. Lola pursued a graduate degree in Social Work at Boston College and, in 2011, received her MSW with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health. Lola has been a full-time Social Worker with the VA Boston Healthcare System since February 2012 and has worked in many areas of the hospital system. Starting her career in the Community Residential Care program, Lola provided clinical case management services to Veterans with chronic mental illnesses who live in VA-contracted community group homes. Lola then transitioned to the General Mental Health clinic, where she assisted with developing the practices and guidelines for Social Work Case Management within outpatient mental health clinics, provided regular and ad hoc mental health coverage in the Brockton Urgent Care clinic, and served for 2-years as the Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator for VA Boston. Lola currently serves as the Senior Social Worker and Program Coordinator for the Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury clinic, where her primary duties include planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating the Polytrauma/TBI program at VA Boston, along with coordinating service delivery for Veterans seen in the clinic.

 

Diana Anderson, MD, M.Arch, ACH

Advanced Fellow, Geriatric Neurology

Website: www.dochitect.com 

Diana Anderson, MD, M.Arch, ACHA, is a healthcare architect, as well as a board-certified internist and geriatrician. As a “dochitect”, Dr. Anderson combines educational and professional experience in both medicine and architecture. She has worked on hospital design projects globally and is widely published in both architectural and medical journals, books, and the popular press. She is a frequent speaker about the impacts of architectural design on health outcomes. As a past Fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, she explores space design and ethics. Dr. Anderson is now pursuing a research fellowship in geriatric neurology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and exploring the impact of the built environment on health outcomes for older adults living with dementia.