About me

Appointed Associate Professor (Docent) of Neuroscience in May 2020, I am a Senior Lecturer and Research Group Leader at the Aging Research Center (ARC). I received my PhD in Psychology in 2007 at the University of Caen/Basse-Normandie (France), and continued with my postdoctoral research from 2008 to 2010 at the Department of Integrative Medical Biology (Umeå University, Sweden). I was employed as Research Associate at ARC from 2010 to 2014, and Senior Researcher from 2014 to 2021. I am also a licensed psychologist since 2004, with training in neuropsychology in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery of the Hospital of Caen.

Currently in my group:

-Farshad Falahati (Research Engineer) 

-Jonatan Gustavsson (PhD Student, main supervisor) 

-Håkan Fischer (Professor, affiliated to research) 

and also (temporary or shared):

-Amirhossein Manzouri (Research Engineer, 15%)

-Thomas Mellem (Master Student)

-Yuanjing Li (PhD student, co-supervisor)

-Charlotte Sørensen (PhD student, co-supervisor)

Research description

My main field of research is the effects of aging on structural, molecular and functional brain integrity, in relation to cognition, with a special focus on memory. I use a broad range of Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques and Positron Emission Tomography.

Projects:

I am the principal investigator of the IronAge project, in which the impact of brain iron concentration on brain activity, psychomotor and memory performance in aging is studied. Another aim is to uncover the genetic, physiological and lifestyle determinants of brain iron accumulation. We are currently investigating how blood markers of neurodegeneration (e.g., phospho-tau181, neurofilament light chain) assessed with SIMOA (Single Molecule Array) are associated with brain iron load and accumulation. At baseline (2016-2017), 208 volunteers aged 20-79 years old were included. At follow-up (2019-2020), 135 came back for a reassessment. The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council twice, Alzheimerfonden twice and Karolinska Institutet (KI grant and KID funding).

IronAgeProtocol

The StoneAge project is an additional follow-up of IronAge, with PI Goran Papenberg. A subsample of 39 individuals came back and had an assessment of neuroinflammation using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with radioligand [11C]PBR28. One hypothesis is that a higher accumulation of brain iron over the 3 years of follow-up (IronAge protocol) will be associated with higher levels of neuroinflammation.

ElastAge project: Coming soon...

I am the scientific coordinator of the MRI database of SNAC-K (PI SNAC-K: Laura Fratiglioni). The original protocol contains longitudinal structural neuroimaging data on 1002 brains (years 2001-2010). We are currently collecting new MRI data at SUBIC (Stockholm University Brain Imaging Centre) using the Siemens Prisma 3.0T scanner (structure, white-matter hyperintensities, microbleeds with susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI), iron with Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM), resting-state functional connectivity, white-matter microstructure). One project for which I am the PI is to assess the role of brain iron and microbleeds in cognitive and physical function in a population-based study on aging using a deep-learning approach. One aspect of this project is the automated segmentation of iron-rich small nuclei using deep learning. This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

AutomatedSegmentation

 

I am also involved in the long-COVID19 project (PI: Erika J Laukka) in which my main responsibility is the MRI part of the protocol. The project has a strong emphasis on olfactory function. We built 2 MRI sequences with high spatial resolution to capture the anatomy of the olfactory bulbs (0.5 x 0.5 x 1.8 mm3 and 0.2 x 0.2 x 1 mm3).

0p5_0p5_1p8mm3

ManualTracing_0p2_0p2_1mm3

 

Teaching portfolio

I am the leader of the doctoral course "Integration of neuroimaging and cognition in normal aging and dementia" (course 2846), integrated within the Neuroscience programme at KI. Next course occasion in May 2023.

I teach regularly at the undergraduate level in the Psychology programme at KI since 2011.

Since 2019, I am deputy for the division of Aging Research Center of the Committee for Doctoral Education at the NVS department.

 

Education

-Docent (Associate Professor) in Neuroscience in 2020 at Karolinska Institutet, NVS Department (Sweden)

-PhD in Psychology in 2007 at INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) / EPHE (École Pratique des Hautes Études) / University of Caen (France)

-Psychologist certificate (specialty neuropsychology) in 2004 at the University of Caen and the Hospital of Caen, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery (France)

-Master of Advanced Studies in Normal and Pathological Psychology of Cognitive Processes in 2003 at INSERM / EPHE / University of Caen (France)

-Master degree in Experimental Psychology reinforced in Neuroscience in 2002 at University Paris 5 René Descartes and University Paris 6 Pierre et Marie Curie (France)