Dr. Brianne Bettcher, PhD ABPP-CN
Brianne Bettcher, PhD ABPP-CN. Dr. Bettcher is a neuropsychologist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Bettcher’s research program focuses on understanding biological mechanisms for different aging trajectories. Her lab focuses on how immune health history and immune regulation might impact aging-related processes and cognitive functioning. Given that there is a 15+ year time lag between the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain and the later development of cognitive symptoms, she believes that there is a tremendous opportunity to understand what puts people at risk for cognitive decline and what may protect them. In her spare time, Bri enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and exploring everything that Colorado has to offer! Bri is also always in search of a good bowl of ramen.
Katrina Bengtson, BA
Katrina Bengtson is the primary research coordinator for the LIIA study on immune function, aging and memory. She graduated from Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO with a bachelors degree in Psychology. She is interested investigating how immune dysfunction may relate to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. As a coordinator, Katrina recruits prospective participants, coordinates study data collection, and works directly with participants during their study visits. Outside of the Colorado Aging Brain Lab, Katrina enjoys maintaining an active lifestyle, cooking and trying the many trendy cuisines Denver has to offer.
Erika Dallmann, BS
Erika Dallmann is the lead research coordinator for the ImTAB study that investigates immunity, Alzheimer’s biomarkers, and late life concussion. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Neurobiology and French. Erika joins our team after several years of sleep research exploring topics including hypersomnolence, meditation, and the relationship between Alzheimer’s and sleep. As a coordinator, she recruits participants, coordinates study visits, and manages data collection. Erika hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and focus on developing novel treatment options for mood and anxiety disorders. Outside of the lab, she enjoys exploring the backcountry with a backpack or bike, eating large amounts of pho, and playing guitar.
Trevor Sooy, BA
Trevor Sooy graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a degree in Psychology, Business, and Classical Studies in December of 2018. He is a PRA working as the coordinator for Dr. Bri Bettcher’s Longitudinal Biomarker and Clinical Phenotyping Study. He organizes and conducts regular study visits for insight into the causes and treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease, Down Syndrome, and other neurocognitive disorders. Trevor hopes to move onto graduate school and get his PhD in Clinical Psychology and focus on adolescents who come from a background with a history in trauma. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling around the country to race his mountain or road bike, climb 14ers, and skiing.
Jennifer Krupa, BA
Jennifer (‘Jenny’) Krupa administers the Cognitive Testing assessments for the LIIA study, and several other protocols for the Department of Neurology. She graduated with her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Park University, a private college in her hometown of Kansas City, MO. She comes to us with several years of experience as a Research Coordinator, with an emphasis on data collection, quality assurance and data analysis. As a cognitive tester, she vaguely enjoys frustrating poor, innocent, healthy controls but also enjoys actively working with patients living with Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Down Syndrome. Jenny aspires to someday attain a graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Psychology, with an emphasis on Nutrition. Outside of work, she enjoys spending as much time as possible with her friends and Rottweiler Omar in the Colorado sunshine!
Michelle Stocker, BA
Michelle Stocker is a back-up coordinator and cognitive tester for the LIIA and BioAD studies. She is also the Communications Professional for the center, and she helps facilitate events in the community that promote education on healthy brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease, and helps with recruitment for studies. Michelle graduated from Elon University in North Carolina in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and Neuroscience and Biology minors. Her research interests focus on memory and learning across the lifespan, and she completed her undergraduate thesis on healthy older adult memory. In the winters, you can find Michelle skiing in the mountains, and in the summers camping, hiking, white water rafting, or playing a pick-up game of volleyball.
Natalie Lopez-Esquibel, BS
Natalie Lopez-Esquibel is the lead research coordinator for the Alector FTD study that is investigating whether an experimental drug is effective and safe in treating individuals with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). She is also a recruitment specialist for the Colorado Aging Brain Laboratory recruiting for the ImTAB and LIIA studies. She is motivated by patient-focused care in study recruitment and coordination, as well professional development and life-long learning in neurology. In May 2019, Natalie graduated summa cum laude from Regis University with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience. As a born and bred Coloradoan, she enjoys exploring nature by running, cycling, hiking, backpacking, and stand up paddle boarding.
Victoria S. Pelak, MD
Victoria S. Pelak, MD, is a Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with subspecialty fellowship training in Neuro-ophthalmology and subspecialty certification in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. She specializes in assessing and treating patients with visual problems related to neurological diseases, and she has clinical expertise in vision symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, and similar disorders. She built and founded the Brain and Vision Laboratory at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in order to study higher order visual perception, and she has a particular research interest in visual motion processing. She sees patients at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado Hospital outpatient pavilion located in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Pelak completed her medical degree in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, at Wayne State University School of Medicine and her residency in Neurology and fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania.
Christina Coughlan, PhD
Christina Coughlan is a Senior Faculty Research Instructor in the lab of Dr. Potter in the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center. Dr. Coughlan’s research interests are focused on finding biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and screening drugs for their ability to inhibit the development and progression of AD. Dr. Coughlan received her BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology and Toxicology and her PhD in Pharmacology from University College Dublin, Ireland. As a postdoctoral fellow at Ninewells Hospital and Medical school in Scotland, Dr. Coughlan received an Alzheimer’s Disease Society of Great Britain fellowship, an award only granted to ten in the UK at that time. Previous to joining UC Denver, Dr. Coughlan did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and was an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Denver.
Ashesh Thaker, MD
Dr. Thaker is a neuroradiologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He grew up in Greeley and attended CU Boulder – go Buffs! He completed medical school at UCLA, residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Thaker’s research interests focus on applying advanced neuroimaging techniques, predominantly MRI and PET, to the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders. He works closely with the team to ensure research imaging studies are safe and contribute to our understanding of neurologic disease. In his spare time, Ashesh stays busy with his two young sons and enjoys the Colorado outdoors.