Nicole (she/her) received her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2016 and a MS in Health Psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2018. As a masters student, she worked in the Psychiatric Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory with Israel Liberzon, MD and in the Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory with J. Todd Arnedt, PhD in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Nicole joined the Stanford Memory Lab in the Departments of Psychology and Neurology at Stanford University led by Anthony Wagner, PhD and the Mormino Lab led by Elizabeth Mormino, PhD in June 2018 to explore the memory mechanisms behind neurodegenerative disease. Nicole has since joined the Day Lab led by John W. Day, MD, PhD in the Department of Neurology at Stanford University in 2022 as a data and imaging research scientist to continue exploring neurological disease with the hopes of obtaining a PhD in the future. In addition to her research, she is also a grant writer for faculty affiliated with the Department of Medicine's Team Science hub.
Honors & Awards
Graduate of the Last Decade Alumnus of the Year, University of Michigan (Fall 2022)
Education & Certifications
MS, University of Michigan, Health Psychology (2018)
BA, University of Michigan, Psychology (2016)
Performance of a fully-automated Lumipulse plasma phospho-tau181 assay for Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's research & therapy
2022; 14 (1): 172
BACKGROUND: The recent promise of disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) has reinforced the need for accurate biomarkers for early disease detection, diagnosis and treatment monitoring. Advances in the development of novel blood-based biomarkers for AD have revealed that plasma levels of tau phosphorylated at various residues are specific and sensitive to AD dementia. However, the currently available tests have shortcomings in access, throughput, and scalability that limit widespread implementation.METHODS: We evaluated the diagnostic and prognostic performance of a high-throughput and fully-automated Lumipulse plasma p-tau181 assay for the detection of AD. Plasma from older clinically unimpaired individuals (CU, n = 463) and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 107) or AD dementia (n = 78) were obtained from the longitudinal Stanford University Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the Stanford Aging and Memory Study (SAMS) cohorts. We evaluated the discriminative accuracy of plasma p-tau181 for clinical AD diagnosis, association with amyloid beta peptides and p-tau181 concentrations in CSF, association with amyloid positron emission tomography (PET), and ability to predict longitudinal cognitive and functional change.RESULTS: The assay showed robust performance in differentiating AD from control participants (AUC 0.959, CI: 0.912 to 0.990), and was strongly associated with CSF p-tau181, CSF Abeta42/Abeta40 ratio, and amyloid-PET global SUVRs. Associations between plasma p-tau181 with CSF biomarkers were significant when examined separately in Abeta+ and Abeta- groups. Plasma p-tau181 significantly increased over time in CU and AD diagnostic groups. After controlling for clinical diagnosis, age, sex, and education, baseline plasma p-tau181 predicted change in MoCA overall and change in CDR Sum of Boxes in the AD group over follow-up of up to 5 years.CONCLUSIONS: This fully-automated and available blood-based biomarker assay therefore may be useful for early detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring of AD.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13195-022-01116-2
View details for PubMedID 36371232
Association of CSF Biomarkers with Hippocampal-dependent Memory in Preclinical Alzheimer Disease.
To determine if memory tasks with demonstrated sensitivity to hippocampal function can detect variance related to preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers, we examined associations between performance in three memory tasks and CSF Aβ42/Aβ40 and p-tau181 in cognitively unimpaired older adults (CU).CU enrolled in the Stanford Aging and Memory Study (N=153; age 68.78 ± 5.81 yrs; 94 female) completed a lumbar puncture and memory assessments. CSF Aβ42, Aβ40, and phosopho-tau181 (p-tau181) were measured with the automated Lumipulse G system in a single-batch analysis. Episodic memory was assayed using a standardized delayed recall composite, paired associate (word-picture) cued recall, and a mnemonic discrimination task that involves discrimination between studied 'target' objects, novel 'foil' objects, and perceptually similar 'lure' objects. Analyses examined cross-sectional relationships between memory performance, age, and CSF measures, controlling for sex and education.Age and lower Aβ42/Aβ40 were independently associated with elevated p-tau181. Age, Aβ42/Aβ40, and p-tau181 were each associated with a) poorer associative memory and b) diminished improvement in mnemonic discrimination performance across levels of decreased task difficulty (i.e., target-lure similarity). P-tau mediated the effect of Aβ42/Aβ40 on memory. Relationships between CSF proteins and delayed recall were similar but non-significant. CSF Aβ42 was not significantly associated with p-tau181 or memory.Tests designed to tax hippocampal function are sensitive to subtle individual differences in memory among CU, and correlate with early AD-associated biomarker changes in CSF. These tests may offer utility for identifying cognitively unimpaired older adults with preclinical AD pathology.
View details for DOI 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011477
View details for PubMedID 33408146
Visual Read Protocols for Clinicians Analyzing 18F-PI-2620 tau PET/MRI Images
SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC. 2020
View details for Web of Science ID 000568290501466
Hippocampal and cortical mechanisms at retrieval explain variability in episodic remembering in older adults.
Age-related episodic memory decline is characterized by striking heterogeneity across individuals. Hippocampal pattern completion is a fundamental process supporting episodic memory. Yet, the degree to which this mechanism is impaired with age, and contributes to variability in episodic memory, remains unclear. We combine univariate and multivariate analyses of fMRI data from a large cohort of cognitively normal older adults (N=100) to measure hippocampal activity and cortical reinstatement during retrieval of trial-unique associations. Trial-wise analyses revealed that (a) hippocampal activity scaled with reinstatement strength, (b) cortical reinstatement partially mediated the relationship between hippocampal activity and associative retrieval, (c) older age weakened cortical reinstatement and its relationship to memory behaviour. Moreover, individual differences in the strength of hippocampal activity and cortical reinstatement explained unique variance in performance across multiple assays of episodic memory. These results indicate that fMRI indices of hippocampal pattern completion explain within- and across-individual memory variability in older adults.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.55335
View details for PubMedID 32469308
Tau PET imaging with 18F-PI-2620 in aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging
In vivo measurement of the spatial distribution of neurofibrillary tangle pathology is critical for early diagnosis and disease monitoring of Alzheimer's disease (AD).Forty-nine participants were scanned with 18F-PI-2620 PET to examine the distribution of this novel PET ligand throughout the course of AD: 36 older healthy controls (HC) (age range 61 to 86), 11 beta-amyloid+ (Aβ+) participants with cognitive impairment (CI; clinical diagnosis of either mild cognitive impairment or AD dementia, age range 57 to 86), and 2 participants with semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA, age 66 and 78). Group differences in brain regions relevant in AD (medial temporal lobe, posterior cingulate cortex, and lateral parietal cortex) were examined using standardized uptake value ratios (SUVRs) normalized to the inferior gray matter of the cerebellum.SUVRs in target regions were relatively stable 60 to 90 min post-injection, with the exception of very high binders who continued to show increases over time. Robust elevations in 18F-PI-2620 were observed between HC and Aβ+ CI across all AD regions. Within the HC group, older age was associated with subtle elevations in target regions. Mildly elevated focal uptake was observed in the anterior temporal pole in one svPPA patient.Preliminary results suggest strong differences in the medial temporal lobe and cortical regions known to be impacted in AD using 18F-PI-2620 in patients along the AD trajectory. This work confirms that 18F-PI-2620 holds promise as a tool to visualize tau aggregations in AD.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00259-020-04923-7
View details for PubMedID 32572562