AD Data Initiative Researcher Roundtable: Innovative Imaging Modalities and Advancements in Dementia Research

At this roundtable event, a panel of esteemed imaging experts from diverse institutions, including Amsterdam UMC, the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translation Medicine, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared valuable insights into the substantial role of brain imaging in enhancing our understanding of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology and progression. Moderated by Natalia Vilor-Tejedor from the Barcelona Beta Brain Research Center (BBRC), the discussion delved into:

  • gaps in imaging technologies relevant to AD research,
  • recent advancements in brain imaging such as ultra-high field MRI and portable MRI devices,
  • cost setbacks to imaging research in the global north vs global south,
  • promising applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in imaging,
  • and the challenges and advantages of data sharing in advancing AD research.

See timestamps below:

00:00 - 01:40 Kick-off
01:40 - 07:10 Panelist Introductions
07:10 - 13:20 How has brain imaging contributed to what we know about AD today?
13:20 - 20:51 Has imaging stifled our progress in AD research (eg. given us false conclusions or offered misleading evidence)?
20:51 - 26:14 Do you believe therapeutics prescribed based on imaging results are a feasible way to treat AD?
26:14 - 38:10 What do you see as the most exciting advancement in brain imaging in the past 5-10 yrs?
38:10 - 45:30  What promising imaging applications or innovations do you see coming in the near future?
45:30 - 55:22 How might data sharing help (or hinder) the use of brain imaging to progress our understanding of AD?
55:22 - 1:02:43 As a field, what could we do better to enable wider access of images for primary or secondary analyses?
1:02:43 - 1:11:25 Q&A

 Frederik Barkhof, MD, Ph.D. | Amsterdam University Medical Centers

Frederik Barkhof, MD, Ph.D., is a neuroradiologist who led the development of the Barkhof Criteria for using MRI findings to predict conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. Since 2001 he serves as a full Professor in Neuroradiology at the department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine at VUmc. In 2015 he was appointed as full Professor of Neuroradiology at institutes of Biomedical Engineering and Neurology at UCL in London (UK) to translate novel imaging techniques. Dr. Barkhof’s research interests focus on childhood white matter disease, multiple sclerosis, ageing, and dementia. He (co)authored >1100 papers referenced in PubMed, has an H-factor of 164 (Google Scholar) with >110,000 citations, and is listed among 3000 most influential scientists world-wide by Thompson-Reuters. He is the author of the books “Neuroimaging in Dementia”, “Clinical applications of functional brain MRI” and “Clinical Neuroradiology – the ESNR textbook.”


Sean Deoni, Ph.D. | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation MNCH D&T

Sean Deoni, Ph.D., is the Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington. Bringing extensive expertise in pediatric MRI research and neurodevelopment, Dr. Deoni has made significant contributions to understanding brain anatomy and behavior, particularly in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Deoni has been involved in groundbreaking research projects, including investigations into white matter development in infancy and early childhood. His various publications encompass studies on brain anatomy, magnetic field correction, and infant brain myelination. Dr. Deoni continues to play a pivotal role in advancing neurodevelopmental research and global health.


Barbara Marebwa, Ph.D. | The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF)

Barbara Marebwa, Ph.D., is the Associate Director at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF). Dr. Marebwa applies her expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience to expedite the advancement of new therapies and diagnostics for this debilitating disease. With over five years of experience, Dr. Marebwa has successfully conducted and managed cutting-edge research projects in biomedical imaging, cognitive science, and bioinformatics, all with a dedicated focus on enhancing global health and well-being.


Michael Schöll, Ph.D. | University of Gothenburg

Michael Schöll, Ph.D., is a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Gothenburg and a principal research fellow at the University College London. His research team is associated with the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine, where Dr. Schöll conducts research using neuroimaging and other biomarkers to facilitate early identification of pathological changes in the brain prior to the development of clinical Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, as well as research to facilitate the clinical application of those biomarkers. In 2023, Dr. Schöll was named one of the world's most highly cited researchers for the second year in a row by Clarivate, based on the significance and broad influence of his and his team's work in the field of neuroscience and behavior. In 2021, Dr. Schöll was one of eight top young researchers in Sweden to be elected to the Young Academy of Sweden, was awarded the Birger Karlsson Prize by the Royal Society for Arts and Sciences, and in 2018 the Queen of Sweden’s Award to a Young Scientist.


Natalia Vilor-Tejedor, Ph.D. | Barcelona Beta Brain Research Center & Gates Sr. AD Fellow

Natalia Vilor-Tejedor, Ph.D., leads the genetic neuroepidemiology and biostatistics team at Barcelona Beta Brain Research Center, Spain. Her research focuses on genetic (non-modifiable) and environmental (modifiable) factors in the development of neurological disorders and related traits. In 2023, Dr. Vilor-Tejedor was appointed co-chair of the Brain Imaging Genetics working group at the PIA for Neuroimaging of the Alzheimer's Association. Additionally, Dr. Vilor-Tejedor was one of 7 researchers awarded ADDI’s William H. Gates Sr. Fellowship, where she is developing a modeling framework that can generate functional predictive omics scores to identify endophenotypes of neurodegeneration at early, preclinical, and advanced stages. She graduated from Pompeu Fabra University, Spain, with a Ph.D. in biomedicine.