Research Education Component

The Research Education Component (REC) of the CADRC links new investigators in the aging and neurodegeneration research field to mentors in order to develop individualized training plans that will help them advance their knowledge and skills and guide them towards developing their own successful research programs. The goal of the REC is to promote a highly collaborative research environment among young basic scientists and physicians. 

In addition to collaborating with mentors to develop individual research projects and to secure their own grant funding, new investigators also complete additional training courses and hands-on clinical observations with physicians for experiential training linking patient care and translational research.  This unique bilateral approach ensures there will be a strong core of future researchers in the Cleveland area.

Please contact the REC administrator for more information.

Click below to view the summary of the REC and TTC 2021 Retreat.


Dr. Xiongwei Zhu, PhD, Research Education Component Leader

Sandra Siedlak, REC Coordinator

Current CADRC Early Stage Investigators

Katherine Koenig, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cleveland Clinic, is studying the longitudinal evaluation of neuroimaging and cognitive function in Down syndrome. The main research focus for the next year will be bringing subjects back for longitudinal visits.

Karin Mente, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pathology at CWRU, Neurologist at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA, Visiting Researcher at Cleveland Clinic. She will perform a retrospective study of brain MRI and neuropathologic analysis in one neurodegenerative disease, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). MRI scans are processed for diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) analysis for comparison with region-specific neuropathologic changes, such as neuronal and myelin loss, gliosis and Lewy bodies, and iron deposition.


Min-Kyoo Shin, Ph.D., Instructor, Case Western Reserve University, will comprehensively characterize the function of 19 tau acetylation sites on microtubule binding, tau seeding activity, extracellular tau secretion, tau phosphorylation, tau stability related to ubiquitination, susceptibility to cell death in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury, and alteration in tau binding partners.

Wenzhang Wang, Ph.D., Assistant professor, Case Western Reserve University, will pursue abnormal mitochondrial translation in Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary data suggested the changes of mitochondrial DNA coded proteins at protein levels and importantly, the assembly of mitochondrial ribosome were shown impaired in AD neurons.

Outstanding REC Alumna

Ignazio Cali, PhD, is a Neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University and National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC), elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the phenotypic expression of prion disease (PrD), Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy pathology. In collaboration with the NPDPSC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Cali is actively involved in several studies aimed at identifying atypical or novel prion disease phenotypes.

Jagan Pillai, MD PhD, Assistant Professor, Cleveland Clinic, will investigate CSF tau isoforms and their potential role in clinical Alzheimer’s disease variants. The underlying reasons different AD variants could have differences in levels of CSF total tau is unknown. Clarifying this question could help us understand the pathophysiology of AD variants and help develop precision therapeutic strategies against specific tau isoforms if they play a key role in different AD variants.