Udall logo by Peter Brown

 

Core A: Administrative Core

Principal Investigator/Core Leader: David Eidelberg, MD

Center Administrator: Christine Edwards, MA

The Administrative Core oversees the daily operations of the Udall Center at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (FIMR) in scientific and financial management, procurement, property and personnel management, website management, and the coordination of meetings of the Executive Committee and External Advisory Panel.

In addition, Administrative Core personnel assist other specialized cores with data management and sharing, outreach activities, and training and education activities. Administrative personnel participate in the Annual Udall Center Directors meeting.

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Core B: Clinical Research Core

Core Leader: Andrew Feigin, MD

Research Coordinators: Toni Fitzpatrick, MA, and Loreta Quartarolo, BS

The primary objective of the Clinical Research Core (CRC) is to provide comprehensive programs for recruitment, community outreach and education, core clinical assessments, and genotyping and biological sample storage for all projects of the Udall Center.

The CRC coordinates between projects and cores to ensure that all subjects participating in the projects of the Udall Center at FIMR complete a minimal multidisciplinary dataset, including the following: clinical ratings (off-state UPDRS, a standardized neuropsychological testing battery) (see Cognitive and Behavioral Core); off-state FDG PET; off-state, routine anatomical MRI; DNA banking; and brain donation and banking (when applicable). Data collected through the CRC are shared with other Udall centers and Parkinson’s disease (PD) investigators at other institutions through the PD-DOC registry (see Statistics and Data Management Core).

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Core C: Cognitive and Behavioral Core

Core Leaders: Paul Mattis, PhD, and Mark Gluck, PhD

The Cognitive and Behavioral Core (CBC), based jointly at the Center for Neurosciences at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Center for Neuroscience at Rutgers University-Newark, provides neuropsychological and psychometric assessments for all Udall Center projects.

In addition, the core provides complementary support in the following two synergistic domains: (1) the design, analysis, and development of novel cognitive neuropsychological tasks for assessing the functionality of the fronto-striatal brain circuits during the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and during its treatment (Projects 1-3); and (2) the development of neurocomputational and mathematical models of the fronto-striatal circuits that patients use in feedback-driven reinforcement learning and in neuro-economic decision making. These models inform the development of new behavioral tasks, and they provide behavioral measures that inform the analysis of the brain-imaging data taken while patients are performing these tasks (Project 2).

The interdisciplinary integration of these cognitive and behavioral neuroscience methods with brain imaging and clinical assessments and treatment is part of what makes the Udall Center at The Feinstein Institute uniquely capable of furthering our understanding of the neural systems mediating higher cognitive functioning in PD patients and in healthy control subjects.

Core D: Imaging Core

Core Leaders: Vijay Dhawan, PhD, Yilong Ma, PhD, and An Vo, PhD

Co-Investigator: Phoebe Spetsieris, PhD

Imaging Data Manager: Shichun Peng, PhD

The Imaging Core provides essential support for the Udall Center’s positron emission tomography (PET) studies (Projects 1-3) and magnetic resonance (MR) studies (Project 2). In these studies multiple radiotracers are administered intravenously to all research participants; the participants then undergo PET scans that detect the concentrations of the radiotracers throughout each participant’s brain.

In Project 1, Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and healthy volunteer subjects are scanned with [18-F]-FDG PET (to measure glucose metabolism) and [15-O]-H2O PET (to visualize cerebral blood flow).

In Project 2, PD patients are scanned with [18-F]-FDG (for glucose metabolism), [11-C]-PIB (to detect protein aggregation), and [18-F]-FPCIT (to trace striatal dopamine transporter binding).

In Project 3, Subjects are scanned with [18-F]-FDG. In addition, subjects enrolled in the REM behavior disorder study also undergo FPCIT PET imaging.

Core E: Statistics and Data Management Core

Core Leaders: Martin Lesser, PhD, and Chris Tang, PhD

Co-Investigators: Nina Kohn, MBA, MA, and James Tsang, PhD

The Statistics and Data Management Core provides support for statistical analysis and data management for the three Udall projects. The biostatistics component of this core serves two purposes. First, it supports the three projects by providing statistical advice on design and then by performing statistical analyses. Second, the core explores new methods of statistical classification for application to Project 3 for discriminating among three groups of patients with parkinsonism.

Core F: Research Training and Education Core

Core Leader: David Eidelberg, MD

The Research Training and Education Core provides the resources and personnel to train students, residents, and junior faculty in the conduct of interdisciplinary Parkinson’s disease research. This core works within an already expanding framework for training and education at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Clinical education is carried out through neurology training programs at the affiliate hospitals; research training is done largely through The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Trainees are exposed to all aspects of Parkinson’s disease translational research through direct, hands-on participation in the Udall research projects and cores, as well as through robust, established programs comprising coursework, lectures, seminars, and one-on-one mentorship. Trainees receive instruction in data acquisition, management and sharing, biostatistics and bioinformatics, the responsible/ethical conduct of research, grant writing, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, responsible authorship, and addressing the particular challenges of translational and clinical patient-oriented research.

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