The research of Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D., is geared toward developing imaging methodologies to quantify early brain changes using multimodality images and applying them to understand the mechanistic underpinnings of neurodegenerative disorders and cerebrovascular disease. She primarily works on MRI, amyloid PET, and tau PET scans.
- Resistance and resilience in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The world population is aging at an accelerated rate, and AD is one of the only leading causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. While several research studies have demonstrated the positive impact of protective factors in AD, this knowledge has yet to be translated into feasible dementia prevention trials. Understanding fundamental mechanisms through which important protective factors (lifestyle enrichment and vascular health) alter AD trajectories is crucial to facilitate bench-to-bedside translation. Dr. Vemuri investigates protective factors across the lifespan of individuals to understand how up to 30 percent those with AD-related brain changes have normal cognitive function in life, and how some individuals with advanced age and greater genetic risk of AD lack significant AD-related brain changes and resist pathologies.
- Biomarker development and validation. Dr. Vemuri is developing and validating imaging-based biomarkers and computational tools from multimodal imaging to improve the understanding and management of dementias, specifically AD and cerebrovascular disease.
Significance to patient care
A major problem with the current clinical diagnostic criteria for AD is that once patients begin to show symptoms, substantial brain damage has already occurred. From a public health perspective, developing diagnostic instruments for early diagnosis of disease-related brain changes and understanding fundamental mechanisms through which important protective factors alter aging trajectories are crucial to translate research knowledge into effective dementia prevention trials.
- Recipient, Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), National Institutes of Health, 2011-2016
- Recipient, New Investigator Research Grant, The Alzheimer's Association, 2011
- Recipient, Junior Investigator Award for Excellence in Aging and Imaging Research, American Federation for Aging Research-GE Healthcare, 2010