Sierra Pacific (VISN 21) MIRECC Directors and Cores - MIRECC / CoE
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Sierra Pacific (VISN 21) MIRECC Directors and Cores

Sierra Pacific Mirecc

Directors & Cores



Director Jerome Yesavage, M.D.
Administrator Edward Wakabayashi
National Advanced Fellowship  
Director Ruth O'Hara,Ph.D.
Co-Director Sherry Beaudreau, Ph.D., ABPP
Clinical Unit  
Dementia Jared Tinklenberg, M.D.
PTSD Thomas Neylan, M.D.
Research Core  
Neuroimaging Michael Weiner, M.D.
Epidemiology/ Risk Factors Kristine Yaffe M.D.
Neurochemistry Joachim Hallmeyer Ph.D., Ruth O'Hara Ph.D.
Health Services Craig Rosen, Ph.D.
Sleep Chronobiology Leah Friedman, Ph.D.
Biostatistics & Data Management Laura Lazzeroni, Ph.D.
Education Unit  
Dementia Allyson C. Rosen, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
PTSD Leanne Williams, Ph.D.

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Research Core Descriptions

Neuroimaging Core / Brain Health Registry Core

The goal of the Neuroimaging Core led by Michael Weiner is to use advanced brain imaging technology to study neurodegenerative diseases with the aim of improving diagnosis, progression, and treatment. The MIRECC served to launch what developed in to the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a multisite study of Alzheimer’s Disease and controls and ADNI DOD a study of Veterans with postraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury to study these risk factors for dementia. Additionally the Brain Health Registry Core’s goal is to assist the recruitment of and research reach of veterans who wish to participant in or learn more about brain-related research studies, as well as, assist VA researchers with study recruitment.

Key Personnel: Michael Weiner, M.D., Scott Mackin, Ph.D., Diana Truran-Sacrey, Derek Flenniken.

For more information refer to

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Epidemiology/Risk Factors Core

The focus of epidemiology core led by Kristine Yaffe is the study of cognitive function and dementia in aging populations throughout the United States. The lab aims to improve the outlook of cognitive aging by conducting research focused on identifying risk factors for cognitive impairment, understanding the mechanisms that contribute to cognitive decline, and determining effective strategies to prevent and treat cognitive disorders in older adults. Studies from the lab have led to numerous publications that have increased our understanding of cognitive aging and decline. Results have shown an association between several health and lifestyle related factors and cognitive function, including associations with cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, kidney function, physical activity, sleep disturbances, depression, and neuropsychological disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some of the biomarkers that have been studied include inflammatory markers, plasma beta amyloid, markers of cardiovascular health, measures of oxidative stress, structural brain MRI measures, and genetic markers of risk.

Key Personnel: Kristine Yaffe, M.D.

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Neurochemistry Core

The goal of the Neurochemistry Core, led by Drs. Joachim Hallmayer and Ruth O'Hara, is to provide the infrastructure to acquire, assay and analyze the biological and genetic markers being implemented as part of our ongoing MIRECC Investigations. Psychiatric research has underscored the importance of biological and genetic factors in the development of psychopathology. Biological and genetic markers can provide key insights into the etiological basis of psychiatric disorders. They may be differentially expressed based on their past or current environmental exposures. In an era of personalized medicine, biological and genetic markers also have the potential to be critical predictors of which patients may be more vulnerable to specific psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD and Dementia and which patients respond better or worse to specific treatments. This information is essential for providing personalized care to our Veterans with these psychiatric disorders. However, biological and genetic studies require specialized sample acquisition, assay development, data management, quality control procedures, nucleic acid extraction, genotyping, DNA and RNA sequencing with a variety of rapidly-evolving technological platforms, and data quality checks and statistical analysis. The MIRECC Neurochemistry Core provides these services to all ongoing MIRECC Investigations, thus facilitating the successful development of studies and grants as well as supporting the development and training of students and fellows.

Key Personnel: Joachim Hallmayer, M.D., Ruth O’Hara, Ph.D., Tamara Beale, Phoebe Liao

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Health Services Core

The health services research core led by Craig Rosen aims to improve processes and outcomes of mental health care for people suffering from post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders. The primary focus is improving the processes and outcomes of VA services for Veterans with PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. A second emphasis is using telemedicine technologies to expand access to effective mental health care.

Key Personnel: Craig Rosen, Ph.D., Mark Greenbaum, Ph.D.

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Sleep Chronobiology Core

The Sleep Chronobiology Core led by Leah Friedman focuses on cognitive impairments and complications produced by sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, along with the overall impact on PTSD. The efficacy of various treatment plans, including behavioral and pharmaceutical, are evaluated for implementation.

Key Personnel: Leah Friedman, Ph.D.

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Biostatistics & Data Management Core

The purpose of the Biostatistics & Data Management Core is to provide statstical guidance and support for investigators and to evaluate different aspects of the program to inform continuous modification and improvement. Laura Lazzeroni advises about statistical analysis approaches for research projects. Art Noda implements analyses and manages data including ensuring random assignment in clinical trials.

Key Personnel: Laura Lazzeroni, Ph.D., Art Noda

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