AG Dr. Dorothea Hämmerer: Developmental cognitive neuroscience across the lifespan and neuroimaging in dementia

 AG DR. HÄMMERER

Description of the working group

At each stage of our lives across the lifespan, we have different cognitive capacities and challenges, which go hand in hand with changes in our brain. Some of these cognitive neurodevelopmental changes are to be expected as they form part of our normal cognitive and brain development, whereas others like cognitive and behavioral changes related to a decline in our brains’ health in dementia are more severe and should be counteracted. In my working group we aim to understand ‚normal’ cognitive changes across the lifespan related to changes in neuromodulation which reflects in changes in our ability for attentional control, memory encoding and decision making. To investigate this, we use brain imaging methods like EEG and MRI and behavioral modeling of cognitive experimental tasks. We are also interested in understanding why neuromodulatory brain systems show a particular vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. To investigate this, we develop new structural and functional brain imaging tools that allow to capture changes in the noradrenergic locus coeruleus. We are also investigating whether boosting noradrenergic modulation in ageing and Alzheimers with drug interventions or brain stimulation (transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation) can improve cognitive functions. For more info on our research please see my personal website: https://haemmererdcn.weebly.com/.  

Together with Dr. Matthew Betts, we are also organising the LC imaging meeting series in Magdeburg. For more info on this, please see here:  http://www.iknd.ovgu.de/LC+Meeting+2019.html

 

Ongoing projects:

  • Stimulation of the noradrenergic system as a personalized therapeutic intervention (CBBS Neural Network)
  • Dopaminergic modulation of memory consolidation in ageing (CRC 1315) 
  • The noradrenergic system’s contribution to neural resource in ageing (CRC 1436) 
  • Stimulation of the noradrenergic system as a personalized therapeutic intervention (CBBS Neural Network) 
  • Noradrenergic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (ARUK senior research fellowship) 
  • Neuroimaging of the noradrenergic Locus Coeruleus (Collaboration with Martina Callaghan, UCL) 
  • Noradrenergic Biomarkers of agitation in Alzheimer’s disease (Collaboration with Kathy Liu, Jon Roiser and Robert Howard, UCL) 
  • Cardiovascular correlates of noradrenergic changes across the lifespan (Collaboration with CamCAN Ageing Study, Daniela Femminella (University of Naples), Steffen Oeltze-Jaffra (OvGU), Katja Neumann (OvGU)