Rebbeca Melrose, Ph. D.

Dr. Melrose is a Gero/Neuropsychologist and researcher at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.  Her research uses a combination of MRI (task based fMRI, resting state fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging) and neuropsychological testing to understand changes to the neural circuitry supporting cognition in patients at risk for Alzheimer's Disease (AD). She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Boston University in 2007, where she trained in clinical neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Melrose completed her clinical internship in Geropsychology at the VA, West LA campus in 2007.  She remained at the VA as a postdoctoral fellow and trained in the application of PET imaging to understanding neural changes and clinical symptoms in AD.  In 2010 she was awarded a VA Career Development Award aimed at using fMRI to investigate the neural circuitry of executive functioning (cognitive skills such as reasoning, problem-solving, working memory) in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a group at risk for AD.  Her work is centered on the hypothesis that alterations to frontally-mediated neural networks reflect a compensatory response to AD pathology. Preliminary analyses suggest MCI patients show increased activity in the prefrontal cortex during working memory.  Next steps in her research are to explore how the structural connectivity (via diffusion tensor imaging) of frontally-based networks impacts their functioning (via fMRI) and connectivity (via rsfMRI). Her research program seeks to advance a comprehensive understanding of how brain structure and life experiences predict compensatory responding, and how this translates to clinical symptoms in AD.