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Department of Neurology

Department of Neurology

Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship
in Neurodegeneration and Aging

Overview of Fellowship Program

The Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) at UC Davis is offering a one- to two-year fellowship program in neurodegenerative disease. The first year is dedicated to clinical training. A research-intensive second year is optional but encouraged. UCNS accreditation is pending; it is not ACGME-accredited.

DeCarli & patients The Center offers a rich clinical exposure to a variety of cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. It maintains one of the largest and most diverse dementia cohorts in the nation, well-characterized with brain imaging, neuropsychology, extensive clinical data, and banked DNA and serum. Mentors with particular strength in brain imaging, neuropsychology, ERPs, neuropathology, and biostatistics are available.

The first year of the fellowship focuses on clinical assessments of dementia patients, patients with mild cognitive impairment, and cognitively normal elderly research participants. Time will be divided between our Sacramento and Richmond/East Bay sites. Participation in weekly ADC case conferences, research meetings, journal clubs, and monthly CPCs are included.

Fellows choosing a second year are expected to seek funding (intramural and/or extramural) to support a targeted second year research project. Resources to develop, mentor, and support research are extensive, spanning basic to social sciences with a strong emphasis on clinical translational research. The Center has a 25 year history of state, federal, and privately funded research projects and is currently supported by both NIA and State of California Alzheimer’s Disease Center grants.

Clinical Resources

  • A rich clinical exposure to a wide variety of cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders.
    • A community-based, multi-ethnic cohort (i.e., approximately 28% Hispanic, 25% African American) recruited from a very large geographical region of Northern California.
    • Clinics are conducted at two sites: the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and LifeLong clinic in Richmond, CA.
    • Three specialty dementia clinics which often see complex dementia cases.
    • A large cohort (n=150) of participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment unique for its ethnic diversity (1/3 Hispanic, 1/3 African American, 1/3 Caucasian).
  • A leading center that has a focus on elucidating the contributions of cerebrovascular disease (e.g., infarcts, white matter hyperintensities, vascular risk factors) to pathological brain aging and transition to cognitive impairment.
  • A leading center in cross-cultural cognitive assessments, particularly important for the development of normative measures necessary to reliably diagnose cognitive impairment in primary Spanish speakers.

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Research Resources

Brain scans

  • A cohort of over 500 elders, over half of whom are minorities spanning a wide range of cognitive function.
  • A wealth of clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and neuropathology data available for hypothesis-driven analyses of current interest.
  • An extensive biorepository that includes serum, plasma, and DNA samples, with over 400 individuals genotyped.
  • A leader in the investigation of heterogeneity of cognitive aging and transitions to dementia (i.e., contributions of cerebrovascular disease, ethnicity, vascular, and socioeconomic risk factors).
  • A variety of clinical trials for AD, from Phase I, II, & III clinical drug trials, to primary prevention and instrument trials. Our center also remains one of the most active in the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging study (ADNI and now ADNI-2) and maintains collaborations with UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.
  • One of the largest dementia cohorts in the nation, well characterized with:
    • Multi-modal brain imaging (structural and functional MRI, amyloid and FDG PET)
    • Genetics/serum banking
    • Specialized neuropsychology
    • Extensive clinical data
    • Cognitive ERPs/EEG
  • A wide range of intensive research opportunities, including specialization in structural MRI, functional MRI, amyloid & tau PET imaging, neuropathology, and cognitive ERPs/EEG.

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Program Curriculum

This is a clinically-oriented fellowship with abundant research opportunities. Duties will be roughly 90% clinic-based and 10% research-based in year 1. In the optional second year, priorities reverse to approximately 80% research and 20% clinical duties.

The first year is largely dedicated to clinical assessments of dementia patients, patients with mild cognitive impairment, and cognitively normal elderly research participants. Clinical activities include various rotations in Neurology specialty clinics (~6 per week), and Neurology Clinic (1 per month), reviewing and interpreting diagnostic tests and evaluating patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, FTD, and/or CVD. Nine months of the first year will be dedicated to Behavioral Neurology, with three one-month block rotations: Neuropathology & Neuroanatomy, Neuropsychiatry, and a one month elective.

10% of the fellows' time in Year 1 will be protected to allow work on a mentored individual research project. Fellows choosing to continue with a second research-intensive year should also use this time for writing a proposal to seek funding support for a targeted second-kyear research project.

Scholarly activities will include:

  • AD research Journal Club - held monthly with Neurology faculty to discuss research topics in AD and related disorders
  • Neurology Grand Rounds presentation
  • Participation in monthly ADC Clinical Pathological Case conferences, featuring complex and unusual cases of neurodegenerative and vascular dementias
  • Attendance at annual meeting(s) of the American Academy of Neurology or the American Neurological Association
  • Second-year research-focused fellows will be encouraged to prepare a poster and paper for the annual neurology meetings

Program Director

The fellowship program is directed by John Olichney, MD, Professor of Neurology at UC Davis. Dr. Olichney serves as Clinical Core Leader of the Alzheimer's Disease Center. He is also the Director of the Cognitive Electrophysiology and Neuroimaging Lab (CEaN) in the Center for Mind and Brain (CMB).

Dr. Olichney has a strong interest in behavioral neurology, with particular expertise in memory and language disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and their interactions with cerebrovascular disease. His research interests focus on the use of electrophysiology (ERP/EEG), functional neuroimaging, and other cognitive neuroscience techniques to characterize the effects of brain aging, cerebrovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease on cognition.

Faculty Resources

In addition to Dr. Olichney, other faculty from several disciplines will be involved in the educational opportunities presented by this fellowship. Those with specific expertise in neurodegenerative disease include:

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Eligibility Criteria

Qualified candidates will hold an M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited institution and will have completed a residency in Neurology. Candidates must possess a California medical license prior to the start date of the fellowship and should apply for this at least 4 months prior. Foreign medical graduates will be considered if they have completed a U.S.-based residency program.

Candidates who have a high level of interest and potential in pursuing pre-clinical/ translational or clinical research as a major focus of their career plan and who have a long-term goal of entering clinical research as a career will be preferred. Candidates seeking a long-term specialty clinical practice in dementia, geriatric neurology, or behavioral neurology will also be considered.

To Apply

If interested in pursuing this fellowship training opportunity, qualified applicants should contact Lori Simperman, Education Programs Manager, and/or Dr. John Olichney. Please send a Curriculum Vitae and brief Statement of Interest.

Lori Simperman
Education Programs Manager
Department of Neurology
University of California, Davis
4860 Y St., Suite 3700
Sacramento, CA 95817
Email: lori.simperman@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
Phone: (916) 734-3514
Fax: (916) 734-6525

John Olichney, M.D.
Professor of Neurology
Department of Neurology
University of California, Davis
4860 Y St., Suite 3700
Sacramento, CA 95817
Email: jmolichney@ucdavis.edu
Phone: (916) 734-6284
Fax: (916) 734-6525