McKnight Clinical Translational Research Scholarship Winners

Meet the scholars

The McKnight scholars represent the best and brightest early career physician scientists, and their projects have been vetted and selected by the American Academy of Neurology’s Science Committee and three Donor Trustees of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

The current McKnight scholars are engaged in interdisciplinary research projects that range from studies exploring the role of sleep in memory formation, to the impact of kidney disease on cognitive impairment and memory loss, to the correlation between hearing loss and scam susceptibility in older adults. Hailing from seven universities across the country, their interdisciplinary research projects are advancing the understanding of age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.

Meet the 2023 Scholars

Headshot of Eva Klinman

Eva Klinman, MD, PhD
Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Project: Assessing Trajectories of Discrete Measures of Speech Behavior in Age-Related Decline
While neurodegenerative conditions associated with aging, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, have been studied for years, we still do not understand the underlying mechanisms that make the aging brain prone to degeneration. Dr. Klinman's project will look at neurons, directly converted from skin cells, from old and young individuals to identify age-related changes in the structures and machinery inside cells that may predispose the aging brain to the development of neurodegenerative diseases and identify possible targets to rejuvenate old neurons. 

Sheena Baratono, MD, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Harvard Medical Center, Boston, MA

Project: Using Atrophy Patterns to Better Understand and Diagnose Visuospatial Dysfunction
While many elderly patients present with memory loss, visuospatial dysfunction is common and a direct contributor to falls, car accidents, loss of independence, and increased caregiver and socioeconomic burden. Visuospatial dysfunction improves with practice in patients with early diagnosis. If we can predict which patients will develop visuospatial dysfunction based on routine clinical MRI scans, we might intervene before the patient becomes symptomatic. Dr. Baratono's goal is to use atrophy patterns to predict dysfunction and ultimately identify targets for neuromodulation.

Past Recipients

Headshot of Michael Kleinman
2022 Recipient

Michael Kleinman, PhD
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL

Project: Assessing Trajectories of Discrete Measures of Speech Behavior in Age-Related Decline
Headshot of Sarah Szymkowicz
2022 Recipient

Sarah Szymkowicz, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN

Project: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation to Enhance Targeted Cognitive Remediation in Older Adults with Depression
Headshot of Reem Waziry
2021 Recipient

Reem Waziry, MBBCh, MPH, PhD
Columbia University, New York, NY

Project: Biological Age and Cognitive Resilience: with Special Emphasis on Ischemic Stroke Survivors
Headshot of Wai-Ying Wendy Yau
2021 Recipient

Wai-Ying Wendy Yau, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Project: Quantifying Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Aging Mediated by White Matter Injury and Tau
Headshot of Brian Baxter
2020 Recipient

Brian Baxter, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Project: Characterizing and enhancing sleep oscillations to improve memory: developing a scalable treatment for healthy aging and age-related memory loss
Headshot of Sarah Getz
2020 Recipient

Sarah Getz, PhD
University of Miami Department of Neurology, Instructor of Neuropsychology

Project: Neurocognitive correlates of scam susceptibility in age-related hearing loss
Headshot of Christian Camargo
2019 Recipient

Christian Camargo, MD
University of Miami Department of Neurology, Assistant Professor of Clinical

Project: Reducing the effects of aging on cognition with therapeutic intervention of an oral nutrient – the REACTION Study
Headshot of Sanaz Sedaghat
2019 Recipient

Sanaz Sedaghat, PhD
Northwestern University, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology

Project: Cognitive aging in kidney impairment: role of uremic toxins
Headshot of Kimberly Albert
2018 Recipient

Kimberly Albert, PhD
Vanderbilt University, Research Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Project: Changes in attention network dynamics related to performance in aging
Headshot of Brice McConnell
2018 Recipient

Brice McConnell, MD, PhD
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Neurology

Project: Development of transcranial electrical stimulation for modulation of sleep and cognitive performance in aging adults
Funding Guidelines

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The Foundation champions research to better understand and eliminate the effects of age-related cognitive decline and memory loss. Find out how you can join the team of researchers working to advance our mission of helping people achieve a lifetime of cognitive health.
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