Spotlight on RCP alum Jenn Gatchel

Posted: July 21st, 2017

Jennifer Gatchel, MD, PhD (RCP class of '14), has received the Outstanding Emerging Researcher Award from the BrightFocus Foundation for her research to learn about changes in the brain that track with mood and memory in Alzheimer's disease. She presented her latest research during a June 8 reception and dinner event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. 

From the MGH Research Institute Blog

As a geriatric psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, Jennifer Gatchel MD, PhD, works with adults ages 60 and over to help them cope with life’s transitions.

For many of her patients, symptoms of mental illness are often compounded by symptoms that indicate the onset of degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

“These are conditions I see every day in my practice that I find highly compelling,” says Gatchel. “Could psychiatric symptoms in older adults be driven in part by Alzheimer’s disease pathology and proteins impacting brain circuitry? If so, it would represent an important shift in the way we think about treating older adults presenting with these symptoms.”

Gatchel is using a combination of neuroimaging, cognitive testing, clinical assessments, and her ongoing interactions with patients to inform her research on the relationships between mood and anxiety symptoms and dementia.

She ultimately hopes to improve care and brain health for older patients and help them make the most of their golden years.

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