ORCCAMIND Academics and Training

CAM research training

The T32 is actively committed to equity, inclusion and expanding diversity within our Program. Towards this goal, the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research offers supplemental opportunities for qualifying candidates including supplemental funds for moving expenses and career development.

The Office of Civil Rights Investigations and Compliance (OCIC), formerly AAEO, exists to promote diversity and prevent discriminatory misconduct behavior by providing advice, training and support through investigations and assessments. Learn more about the OCIC and Affirmative Action at OHSU.

T32 postdoc applicants must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. 

The Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders has included a T32 institutional training grant since 2005, "CAM Research Training in Neuroscience and Stress," from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The training program provides funding for postdoctoral fellows with an interest in complementary/integrative medicine and either neurology or stress, including oxidative/nitrative and toxicologic stress. Research may encompass mind-body or natural product interventions.  Studies to date have examined botanicals, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture in preclinical, translational and clinical studies. Current research projects relate to mind-body interventions and psychological stress and studies examining neurologically active botanicals and dietary supplements. Barry Oken, MD, PhD and Amala Soumyanath, BPharm, PhD are Co-Directors of the T32.

Visit National Institutes of Health: Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name? for further description.


There are many potential mentors at OHSU, dependent upon the interests of the applicant. Please contact Drs. Oken or Soumyanath for additional options. All applicants must select a mentor/co-mentor. Primary mentors should have externally funded research, a history of prior mentorship and a history of CAM research. If the mentor selected does not have this level of experience in all areas, a co-mentor with experience in the other areas that are lacking will need to be established.


All applicants must select a mentor/co-mentor from the following list. Primary mentors should have a significant history of prior mentorship and of CAM research. If the mentor selected does not have this level of experience in both areas, a co-mentor with primary experience in the other area that is lacking will also need to be established. Other mentors could be formally added if they have important expertise and it is mutually desirable.

 Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, Director of Research and Senior Investigator, National University of Natural Medicine

As a clinical trialist, Dr. Bradley's research focuses on clinical evaluations of natural products (e.g., specialized pro-resolving mediators, xanthohumol, N-acetylcysteine, vitamin D, etc.), mind-body interventions (e.g., yoga nidra, pranayama, qigong, etc.), and wellness/whole health programs in chronic conditions including pain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Bradley is also a cardiovascular epidemiologist where he focuses on risk factor identification for increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events, including the contributions of diet and dietary supplements to risk.  

Raina Croff, PhD, Assistant Professor, Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Neurology Department, OHSU

Dr. Croff examines the implications of gentrification on Black older adults' cognitive health and their ability to successfully age in place. The Sharing History through Active Reminiscence and Photo-imagery (SHARP) study integrates walking in gentrifying historically Black neighborhoods and GPS-linked historical neighborhood images to prompt conversational reminiscence. Wearable technology records daily activity levels, sleep, and heart rate variability to understand the relationship with cognitive changes. Mixed methods examine adoption of program technology and perceived cultural significance. Walking narratives form an oral history digital archive and are central to the development of narrative-based health education and community programming. The SHARP team works closely with community partners, including PreSERVE Coalition for Black/African American Memory and Brain Health. The SHARP approach introduces a culturally celebratory way to increase physical and social activity for healthier aging that honors Black health, history, and community memory. Dr. Croff’s training is in medical anthropology, with a focus on African Diasporic cultures and histories. Her work centers the Black experience to inform asset-based, culturally meaningful approaches to brain health and thus more likely sustained engagement for better cognitive and community health outcomes.  For more information, visit www.sharpwalkingstudy.org.

Alexandra Dimitrova, MD, MCR, Assistant Professor, Dept of Neurology, OHSU

Dr. Dimitrova’s main research focus has been electrophysiologic technique-aided research into acupuncture’s mechanism of action. During her K23 period she was focused on comparison between local vs systemic acupuncture effects. She studied patients with carpal tunnel syndrome to explore the focal effects of acupuncture on the median nerve and compare those to the adjacent ulnar nerve, which served as a control. These effects were further compared within 3 groups of acupuncture – manual, low-frequency and high-frequency electroacupuncture. Findings from this project suggest that acupuncture has both immediate effects on the underlying nerve, and comparable effects on the adjacent nerve and this was not acupuncture-modality specific. Dr. Dimitrova also explored local vs systemic effects of acupuncture on heat pain, vibration and cold perception. Acupuncture appears to have both local and comparable systemic effects on the pain and temperature – mediated pathways and these effects persisted 30 minutes after acupuncture. Dr. Dimitrova’s current research involves applying pain-related evoked potentials and quantitative sensory testing to assess the cumulative temporal effects of acupuncture on nociception in patients with low back pain, during an 8-week treatment course. She is currently funded through the Collins Medical Trust. Dr. Dimitrova joined the T32 program as a post-doctoral fellow in 2012 following completion of a neurology residency at Columbia University in NY. She was able to utilize all the resources of OCTRI that included coursework leading to her Master of Clinical Research degree and the OCTRI Scholars program, which facilitated her successful K23 application and transition to faculty at OHSU in 2014.

Adrian Gombart, PhD, Linus Pauling Institute, OSU

The research the Gombart lab is focused on understanding the regulation of antimicrobial peptide expression by the vitamin D pathway. When immune cells called macrophages encounter a pathogen and become activated, the vitamin D pathway is turned on, leading to the induction of the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide if serum levels of vitamin D are sufficient. This mechanism is conserved in humans and primates but not in other mammals. The lab developed a transgenic mouse that carries the human cathelicidin gene. Using this model, the lab is testing the ability of vitamin D to protect against infection by influenza and skin pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus. Working with material scientists, they are developing nanofiber bandages that release vitamin D compounds to promote wound healing and reduce infection. Another focus of the lab is to identify additional dietary compounds that regulate the expression of the cathelicidin gene. His lab is also collaborating with Dr. Fred Stevens at the LPI to determine how the prenylated flavonoid xanthohumol and its derivatives ameliorate obesity and metabolic syndrome in diet-induced obesity models in mice. They recently discovered that xanthohumol alters the composition of the microbiota, bile acid metabolism and antagonizes PPARg, which reduces hepatosteatosis in mice. Finally, in a collaboration with Drs. Kathy Magnusson and Tory Hagen, his group is crossing the cathelicdin knockout mouse with the 5xFAD Alzheimer’s disease mouse to test the hypothesis that a lack of cathelicidin expression in the brain may influence the development of amyloid plaques in the brain.

 Alice Graham, PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatry Departments, OHSU

Dr. Graham is a developmental neuroscientist and clinical psychologist who received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. She completed her clinical internship and residency in the Child Development & Rehabilitation Center and the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU mentored by Damien Fair at OHSU and Claudia Buss at UC Irvine and Charité University of Medicine in Berlin. In the fall of 2018 she will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU. She will lead the Infant Team in the Development Cognition and Neuroimaging Lab to study the developing brain beginning soon after birth. The research team is interested in how the early environment, starting in the prenatal period, influences developing brain systems and behavioral outcomes. They use structural and functional MRI to characterize the developing brain and work on optimizing tools to assess early brain development and how it differs between individuals. They conduct intervention research with the aim of ameliorating effects of exposure to early life stress and supporting healthy brain development. This intervention research currently focuses on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for women during pregnancy. As part of a collaboration with Dr. Kristen Mackiewicz-Seghete, they investigate how this intervention may influence both maternal and infant brain functioning. The overarching goal is the prevention of psychiatric disorders and improvement of cognitive and emotional health across the lifespan. 

 Nora Gray, PhD, Neurology Department, OHSU

Dr Gray received her PhD in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley before completing a postdoctoral training in the neurology department at OHSU and joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 2017. Her research uses animal models of aging and neurodegenerative disease to examine how oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute to cognitive decline and how those pathways can be targeted for therapeutic intervention. Her recent work has investigated the neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing effects of an extract of the medicinal plant Centella asiatica in mouse models of aging and Alzheimer’s disease focusing specifically on identifying biological mechanisms and active compounds within the extract.

Emily Ho, PhD, Linus Pauling Institute, OSU

Dr. Ho is the Endowed Chair and Director of the Linus Pauling Institute, and former Director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition & Preventive Health.  She is also a Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, in the College of Health.  Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which nutrient and phytochemicals affect the initiation and/or progression of chronic diseases.   The main areas of interest in the laboratory are: 1)  Function of zinc across the lifespan:  We have found that deficits in zinc intake could also have a major impact on an individual’s susceptibility to DNA damage and risk for developing cancer. We are also interested in the effects of zinc during development and in the aging immune system. 2)  Dietary influences on inflammation and chronic disease development:   We have also found that other dietary compounds, especially those found in traditional Asian diets, such as soy, teas and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli) can limit prostate and breast cancer development 3) Bioavailability and bioactivity of natural compounds.  A new major interest in the laboratory is understanding the interaction between microbiome, epigenetic alterations in histone structure and disease risk.  More recently we have undertaken several projects utilizing metabolomics to identify the impact of phytochemicals derived from cruciferous vegetables or dietary zinc on the microbiome and the metabolome. An important strength to her approach in her research is maintaining a mechanistic focus on diet/environment interactions, and the translation of cellular mechanistic studies to human populations across her research.

Fay Horak, PhD, Neurology Dept, OHSU

Dr. Horak studies neural control of posture and gait and the effects of neurological disorders in order to improve balance rehabilitation. Of particular interest are changes in postural strategies in the elderly and in patients with pathologies common in the elderly: Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, vestibular loss, and peripheral neuropathy. Studies involve quantification of body motions, surface forces and muscle activation patterns in response to controlled perturbations of stance and gait and the ability to adapt to altered environmental conditions. Her laboratory also investigates the effectiveness of medications, surgeries and new approaches including Alexander Technique to rehabilitation on balance disorders and back pain. Dr. Horak leads a sensorimotor control journal club and lectures in a Behavioral Neuroscience course on Multisystem Understanding of Aging. Her studies have direct application to improving the diagnosis and rehabilitation of balance disorders to prevent falls in the elderly.

Jeanette “Jeni” Johnstone, PhD, MA, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU

Dr. Johnstone, a clinical psychologist, is the Director of the Science of Nutrition Affect and Cognition in Kids (SNACK Lab), which focuses on complementary and integrative interventions (multinutrient supplementation, mindfulness) for mental health concerns including ADHD, emotional dysregulation, mood, anxiety and stress. The lab’s cross-disciplinary team (psychologist, nutritionist, naturopath, psychiatrist, and epidemiologist) conducts quantitative and qualitative research. Current projects examine the biomarkers of multinutrient supplementation and response, including the microbiome and metabolites, neurotransmitter concentrations in urine and plasma, stress-related hormones and cytokines, and genetic factors, as well as looking at toxicant levels (e.g. glyphosate, lead) in urine. Other projects examine suicidality in children with ADHD, the overlap between symptoms of autism and ADHD, and parent/child concordance of symptom reporting. The lab is also conducting NIH-funded clinical trials in racially and ethnically diverse participants, with a focus on Black and Hispanic families. In future, we will be studying new multinutrient formulations in tandem with behavioral interventions.

Jeffrey Kaye, MD, Neurology Department, OHSU

Dr. Kaye is Professor of Neurology and Director of the NIA funded Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Oregon Health and Science University. Dr. Kaye’s research program has focused over the past decade on the research question of why some individuals remain protected from dementia at advanced ages while others succumb at much earlier times. In order to answer this question he has emphasized the high-risk population of people at age 85 or older (the “oldest old”). The centerpiece of these studies has been the ongoing Oregon Brain Aging Study, established in 1989. This study has made several original contributions pertaining to exceptional aging ranging from defining the role of health in delaying cognitive decline to discovery of presymptomatic markers of cognitive decline related to brain volumes, cognitive performance and genetic risk. In this context, most recently in collaboration with the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders and funded by NCCAM he has been investigating the role of standardized ginkgo biloba extract in preventing dementia in cognitively intact octogenarians. This is the first such study to apply biomarkers to the study of dementia prevention. Dr. Kaye has also conducted similar studies in Alzheimer’s disease patients where he has served as a mentor to junior investigators studying CAM compounds such as cats claw and lactoferrin.

Doris Kretzschmar, PhD, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Science and Molecular and Medical Genetics, OHSU

The goal of Dr. Kretzschmar’s research is to identify the causes and mechanisms underlying age-related neurodegenerative and behavioral changes in the Drosophila model system.  The lab has developed and characterized several fly models for age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other Tauopathies, as well has a model of hereditary spastic paraplegia. In addition to studying the causes and consequences of age-related diseases, Dr. Kretzschmar’s group also investigates mechanisms that underlie and affect normal aging, mostly focusing on how disruptions of circadian rhythms and especially sleep contribute to aging and age-related decline in cognition, locomotion, and lethality.  Dr. Kretzschmar has been working in this field for about 20 years and has extensive experience in characterizing neurodegenerative phenotypes in the fly model (including at the electron microscopic level) and in studying genes and pathways underlying age-related diseases and aging in general. In addition, Dr, Kretzschmar has a long-standing interest in identifying compounds that ameliorate disease-associated phenotypes and provide resilience to age-related decline.

Miranda M. Lim, MD, PhD, Neurology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Medicine Departments, and Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, OHSU; VA Portland Health Care System

The Sleep & Health Applied Research Program (SHARP) involves both basic and clinical studies of neurological disease with a focus on aging and neurodegeneration, including chronic sequelae of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer's disease. Central to our studies is our examination of how sleep modulates brain plasticity and neuropathology, and understanding the mechanisms underlying potential interventions to improve sleep and thereby neurodegenerative outcomes. We are particularly interested in sleep interventions that leverage complementary and integrative health practices. Current research includes investigation of potential sleep interventions such as Centella asiatica (funded by NIH NCCIH/NIA U19 BENFRA Center), bright light therapy (LION Study – funded by DoD/Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine), dietary supplementation with branched chain amino acids (SmART-TBI – funded by VA CSRD), and mindfulness meditation (IMMINENT – supported by an ORCCAMIND T32 postdoctoral fellow). Trainees in my laboratory can expect to become proficient in several preclinical methods, including rodent stereotaxic surgery, in vivo long-term sleep EEG/EMG recordings, behavioral and pharmacological manipulation of sleep, and neurological disease modeling, interpretation, and translation. On the human/clinical side, trainees can expect training in methods related to administration and analysis of psychometric surveys, wrist actigraphy, mattress sensors, overnight polysomnography, retrospective and prospective longitudinal studies, and randomized controlled clinical trials. Finally, advanced EEG signal processing and machine learning techniques are applied to both preclinical and clinical data for identification of biomarkers and seamless translation.

Kristen Mackiewicz Seghete, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU

Dr. Mackiewicz Seghete received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a pre-doctoral internship in the Child Psychiatry Department at the University of Illinois Chicago. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU and a licensed psychologist in the state of Oregon. Her lab has a strong clinical neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience focus, including an emphasis on understanding how chronic and early stress may contribute to altered cognitive and affective brain processes and basic alterations to cognitive and affective brain processes in clinical disorders. Further interests include direct translation of this knowledge to examine neurobiological mechanisms of action of behavioral interventions. Current and past projects in the lab focus on both basic and translational neuroscience. Primary methods used in the lab include neuroimaging (fMRI), neuropsychological testing, and collection of standardized clinical data. Intervention work is focused on mindfulness-based psychotherapy, such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and currently the perinatal and postpartum period. This translational treatment work is being done in concert with Dr. Alice Graham, which has allowed a collaborative approach examining the neurobiological effects of intervention on a two-generational level. 

Anusha Mishra, PhD, Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research, Neurology Department, OHSU 

Anusha Mishra has a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She obtained her PhD in Neuroscience from University of Minnesota in 2011 and completed her postdoctoral training at the University College London, UK in 2016. Her graduate and postdoctoral research investigated the signaling between neurons, glia and vascular cells that regulate cerebral blood flow in health and disease. Since joining OHSU, her lab has been studying the role of reactive astrocytes (a type of glial cell) in cerebrovascular impairments after stroke using an array of ex vivo and in vivo imaging modalities. Her lab has recently initiated studies on the long-lasting consequences of ischemia-induced cerebrovascular dysfunction to unravel how it contributes to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. A second arm of her lab focuses on the structural and function development of the neurovascular unit. She also collaborates with Drs. Amala Soumyanath and Nora Gray to study the vascular protective effects of Centella asiatica (gotu kola). Anusha recognizes that good mentorship is a vital ingredient for success in academic research. She practices individualized trainee-focused approach to mentoring while promoting a dynamic and collaborative team environment. 

Suzanne Mitchell, PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatry Departments, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, OHSU

Dr. Mitchell’s group is interested in factors that influence decision-making and the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying those decision-making processes. Her lab focuses on impulsive decision-making, risk-taking, and uses principles of behavioral economics to understand preferences. Recently she has also become interested in decisions about willingness to engage in physical or cognitive effort, and factors that influence levels of apathy and low motivation. In one of her current projects she is examining whether individuals diagnosed with ADHD are less willing to engage in tasks requiring sustained attention than healthy controls, and interventions to increase their willingness. Examples of interventions of interest include integrative medicine approaches, and follow from Dr. Mitchell’s examination of impulsive decision-making and mindfulness conducted in collaboration with Dr. Oken. Projects use an array of techniques including sophisticate computational models to understand the preferences and decision times, but physiological measures are also used to assess arousal, motivation and valuation of options in decision-making scenarios like skin conductance, heart rate, eye tracking, and pupillometry.

Cynthia Morris, PhD, MPH, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology Department, OHSU

Dr. Morris is assistant dean for admissions OHSU School of Medicine and Vice-Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, with dual appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Public Health and Preventive Medicine. As an epidemiologist, she has extensive experience in clinical trials, population?based studies, patient registries, and systematic reviews. Dr. Morris has directed the Biostatistics and Study Design Core of the ORCCAMIND project, and through this, she has coordinated the major trials as well as all the smaller, developmental studies in complementary and alternative medicine. From this endeavor, Dr. Morris recently developed a new Clinical Research Data Resource at OHSU for trial coordination and the maintenance and establishment of practice networks for research. Her principal research focus has been in the etiology of congenital malformations. She established the Oregon Registry of Congenital Heart Defects, the only population-based registry of its kind in the US; she also has established a research focus on the role of folate intake and metabolism in congenital heart disease. She is a member of the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center, and performed the systematic review on which recommendations from the US Preventive Task Force on antioxidant supplementation for cancer and heart disease prevention are based. Dr. Morris established and directs the NIH K30 funded Human Investigations Program to train faculty in fellows in clinical research. Thus far, more than 85 faculty have enrolled in the program's first three certificate cohorts, including 6 complementary and alternative medicine practitioners from outside OHSU (National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine). From this K30 program, Dr. Morris has recently proposed a Master of Clinical Research degree that has been approved at all level at OHSU and is now awaiting final approval by the Oregon University System for implementation in fall, 2004. Dr. Morris has a long record of mentoring physicians and medical students pursuing an MPH at OHSU; in addition, she is the primary mentor for one K23 grantee at OHSU, and is actively working with three others for K23 development. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Clinical Research Training Program Directors Association.

Barry Oken, MD, PhD, Neurology and Behavioral Neuroscience Departments, OHSU

The lab has a long interest in cognitive neuroscience including the age-related changes in human cognition, primarily visual attention, with particular emphasis on those mechanisms that may be remediable. For 20 years, the lab has been and is currently studying the effects of mind-body medicine, including yoga and meditation on human behavior and cognition with a particular interest in physiologic markers of psychological stress. Projects include both interventional as well as mechanistic studies. Some current studies maintain the emphasis on aging but others include populations with high stress, e.g., PTSD and chronic pain. Dr. Oken has a long-standing interest in human neurophysiology focusing on EEG and evoked potentials. This has resulted in some projects related to brain computer interface and electrocorticography recordings. Assessments include experimental cognitive tasks using accuracy, reaction time, conventional clinical neuropsychologic tests, personality traits, fatigue and quality of life. Physiologic measures include conventional EEG, digital EEG signal analysis, event-related potentials, autonomic nervous system activity (e.g., heart rate variability). Advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques are utilized.

Joseph Quinn, MD, Neurology Department, OHSU

Dr. Quinn's research program utilizes animal models and human "biomarker" studies for the purpose of developing strategies for prevention and treatment of dementia in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease.  Transgenic mouse models are used for screening therapies for translation to clinical trials.  Natural therapies evaluated in the past include lipoic acid, bile acids, and copper modulation.   Biomarker research utilizes human biospecimens to identify novel markers of neurodegenerative disease and related mechanisms for the sake of optimizing clinical trials.  The current biomarker research is focused on miRNA markers of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Lynne Shinto, ND, MPH, Neurology Department, Center for Women's Health, OHSU

Dr. Shinto's research focuses on evaluating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in chronic neurologic disorders.  Specific interests are in evaluating clinical and immunomodulatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants (alpha lipoic acid) in people with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimers' Disease (respectively).  Dr. Shinto is also interested in evaluating quality of life and pain in patients that visit clinics that utilize both CAM and conventional providers and therapies.  

Lisa Silbert, MD, MCR, Professor, Department of Neurology, OHSU

Dr. Silbert's research interests include the investigation of imaging markers of aging and dementia, with an emphasis on MRI markers of early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). The Silbert lab is located within the NIH/NIA- Oregon Layton Aging and Alzheimer ’s disease Center (OADC), which houses rare longitudinal imaging data on hundreds of well-characterized elderly subjects. Current projects focus on multi-modal MRI analysis, and include: 1) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and cerebral blood flow measures using arterial spin labeling (ASL) to elucidate mechanisms of white matter hyperintensities (WMH), a marker of cerebrovascular disease, 2) post-mortem 7T brain imaging for targeted histopathological evaluation of age and vascular-related brain changes, 3) imaging markers of brain health, including MRI and amyloid PET, in relation to continuous in-home monitoring assessments, and 4) pathological assessment of venous collagenous in relation to MRI WMH. Training opportunities include participation in the OADC Neuroimaging Core lab meetings, OADC dementia clinic, post-clinic team discussions of patient assessments, and OADC clinical-pathological conferences and lectures.

Amala Soumyanath, B.Pharm, PhD, Neurology Department, OHSU

Amala Soumyanath  has a B.Pharm degree and Ph.D. both from the University of London, UK.  Dr. Soumyanath joined the faculty of OHSU Neurology Department in 2003, through ORCCAMIND – the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Diseases.  Her area of expertise is "Pharmacognosy", the scientific study of medicinal plants. Her research encompasses the characterization and quality control of botanicals, phytochemical isolation, preclinical and clinical evaluation of botanical extracts, including bioavailabilty and pharmacokinetic studies of the active compounds in botanicals. The goals of her research are to (a) validate and understand the traditional use of botanicals through scientific study, and (b) investigate botanicals as a source of new treatments for disease or means of improving resilience to disease.  Her current research focus is on the Ayurvedic herbs, Centella asiatica (gotu kola) and Withania somnifera (ashwagandha). Collaborative preclinical and clinical studies are currently being pursued on the use of these herbs in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and mild cognitive impairment, as well as to improve cognition, mood and sleep in normal aging. She is Co-Director of this T32 program and also Director of a NIH funded Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center examining 'Botanicals enhancing neurological and functional resilience in aging".  Dr Soumyanath is affiliated with the Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at OHSU. 

Fred Stevens, PhD, Linus Pauling Institute, OSU

The research mission of the Stevens Lab is to determine the role of phytochemicals and vitamins in preventing or treating age-related diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This research group develops LC-MS/MS methods for targeted and untargeted metabolomics experiments to determine the biological effects of phytochemicals/vitamins in supplementation/deficiency studies using cell culture, animal models and humans. The lab has developed novel biomarkers to examine the role of oxidative stress and the protective effects of dietary supplements in human health and disease. One research project aims to elucidate the mechanisms by which xanthohumol, a prenylated flavonoid from the hops plant (Humulus lupulus), mitigates abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism in animal models of obesity. Using an untargeted metabolomics approach, the group discovered that oral administration of xanthohumol to obese rats leads to reduced formation of lipotoxicity products by improving beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Dr. Stevens has studied the chemistry and biology of xanthohumol since 1997 and has published 22 papers on this compound. Other projects in the lab focus on the role of vitamin C in the prevention of tolerance to nitrate therapy and on the development of bioherbicides and skin care products derived from the enzymatic degradation of glucosinolates naturally present in meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba), an oilseed crop grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Elinor Sullivan, PhD, Psychiatry Department, OHSU

Dr. Sullivan is actively involved in training future scientists through her teaching and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Sullivan’s research focuses on examining the influence of early environmental factors on child neurobehavioral regulation, with an emphasis on behaviors that relate to mental health and behavioral disorders including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

Vivek Unni, MD, PhD, Dept of Neurology, Parkinson's & Movement Disorders, OHSU

The lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration that occur in Parkinson's Disease (PD) and related disorders. Specifically, we are interested in the role of the protein alpha-synuclein. Several lines of evidence suggest that overexpression of this protein can lead to the formation of alpha-synuclein aggregates that are toxic to brain cells and lead to the symptoms of PD. Our approach has been to use mouse models that overexpress alpha-synuclein to study this process in the living brain, using advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques, like multiphoton imaging. Projects include testing the possible role of genetic influences and environmental toxins that have been implicated in PD on alpha-synuclein aggregation. We are also testing the ability of the natural product curcumin, the active compound in the spice turmeric, to remove preformed aggregates. The lab uses a variety of techniques to complement our in vivo imaging work, including protein biochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and animal behavior.

Anna Wilson, PhD, Dept of Pediatrics, OHSU

Dr. Wilson is a PI in the Advancing Research in Pediatric Pain Lab (ARPP Lab) in the Department of Pediatrics. The lab focuses on developing and testing machanistic models of prevention of chronic pain in children, adolescents, and young adults. In addition to conducting research on clinical populations, our group is studying intergenerational models, examining acute pain experiences, and studying pain experiences in the context of opioid prescriptions. In addition to a focus on parent-child factors, the ARPP Lab utilizes multimethod approaches to measure pain and related experiences and behaviors in youth, including child and parent report, lab pain testing, neuroimaging approaches, information from medical records, and actigraphic measurement of sleep and physical activity. We are interested in interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences and how these contribute to trajectories of pain and pain-related disability across development. The lab provides a welcoming environment for trainees from multiple disciplines and at different points in their training, with the aim of providing tailored research and career development for individuals interested in pursuing careers in pediatric pain and behavioral health research.

Heather Zwickey, PhD, Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine

Dr. Zwickey is the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and Director of Helfgott Research Institute at the National University of Natural Medicine. She is a professor of immunology at NUNM and has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Neurology at OHSU. As a conventionally trained immunologist, Dr. Zwickey’s research focuses on the effect of different natural therapies on immune outcomes including cytokine profiles, and T cell subsets. Her projects include clinical studies and mechanistic research. She has particular interest in neuroimmunomodulation and psychoneuroimmunology. She is currently working with researchers at University of Michigan to better understand the role of cytokines in Acupressure for Long-Term Cancer Treatment Derived Fatigue. She also works with investigators at Stanford to determine how cytokines and hormones interact in pain and catastrophizing. Her current research at NUNM investigates how different diets promote or decrease pain and inflammation.

T32 Executive Committee

Barry Oken, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Neurology and Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

Amala Soumyanath, B.Pharm., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, OHSU

Emily Ho, Ph.D., Director of the Linus Pauling Institute, Co-Director of the Center for Healthy Aging Research, OSU

Joseph Quinn, M.D., Professor, Department of Neurology, OHSU

Heather Zwickey, Ph.D., Director, Helfgott Research Institute; Research Dean and Professor of Immunology, National University of Natural Medicine

OHSU and OSU are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers