Our Team

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!

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.

Jennifer Krupa, BA

Jenny Krupa is the Clinical Research Project Manager for the LIIA study offered through CU Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center. In this role she manages all aspects of the LIIA research protocol including recruitment, screening, scheduling, running in-person research visits, and training colleagues on those processes. She comes to us with several years of experience as a Research Coordinator and was previously the center’s Clinical Assessment Manager, where she administered and scored neuropsychological testing for all research protocols. Jenny is actively working toward obtaining her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and aspires to become a Mental Health Therapist. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, exploring, and spending time with her partner and their Rottweiler Oberyn 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.

Our Collaborators