University of Nebraska Medical Center

CoNDA Pilot Projects

Dr. Valentina Gumenyuk | UNMC

Bioelectrical Brain Markers for Early Diagnosis of Neurodegeneration in Temporal and Frontal areas in patients with FTD, LDB and AD: EEG/MEG study

Led by Dr. Valentina Gumenyuk, PhD

Dr. Valentina Gumenyuk is an Assistant Professor of Neurophysiology and the Director of the CoNDA's MEG Core at UNMC. Her Pilot Project aims to collect clinical and scientific data measured by Magnetoencephalography (MEG) to test the working hypotheses. MEG is a noninvasive method to measure and evaluate neurophysiological activity related with cognitive functions (language, attention, and memory) or with sensory-motor, -auditory and -visual primary functions. MEG data will be recorded from patients with different forms of dementia while they are performing cognitive tasks. Dr. Gumenyuk will use brain localization analysis to differentiate the abnormal brain activity between participants, specifically across temporal and frontal brain regions. In this Pilot study, the sleep onset parameters in all participants will be evaluated while they perform the sleep-nap during the MEG recording. The goal of this study is to identify the early onset impairments in the brain activity caused by the frontotemporal dementia and dementia Lewy body.


Dr. Jee-Yeon Hwang | Creighton University

Neuroinflammation in Neurodegeneration and Cognitive Impairment associated with Global Ischemia

Led by Dr. Jee-Yeon Hwang, PhD

Dr. Hwang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at Creighton University. The goal of her research is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of neurological diseases and disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. Another goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets for these devastating diseases. This CoNDA Pilot Project examines the role for TREM1-mediated neuroinflammation in global ischemia-induced neuronal death and cognitive deficits.They seek to establish TREM1 inhibition asa novel therapeutic strategy for the amelioration of global ischemic stroke. To perform the proposed research, they utilize small animal MRI system, hippocampal based learning and memory behavioral assays.


Dr. Yutong Liu | UNMC

CEST MRI for Neuropathology of ART and Nicotine

Led by Dr. Yutong Liu, PhD

Dr. Yutong Liu is an Associate Professor of Radiology at UNMC, the Bioimaging Core Lab Director, and Director of the CoNDA Center’s Small Animal MRI Core. The goal of Dr. Liu’s Pilot Project is to deploy “novel” magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques developed in his team’s laboratories to noninvasively track drug and metabolites linked to neuropathological and neuroprotective outcomes resulting from the synergetic effects of ART and nicotine. The MRI techniques developed employ a novel contrast coined as “chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST)”. The overarching goal is to develop CEST as a reliable biomarker for measures of ART neurotoxicity in the context of SUDs that can be translated for future human clinical research.


Dr. Vijaya Bhatt | UNMC

Neural Basis of Cognitive Impairments in Older Adults with Myeloid Malignancies

Led by Dr. Vijaya Raj Bhatt, MBBS, MS


Dr. Bhatt is an Associate Professor and Medical Director of the Leukemia Program in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology. He has also completed a Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research. He manages patients with acute leukemia, myeloid malignancies and other hematologic disorders and those who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplant. He finds great joy in interacting with his patients and working in a multidisciplinary team to support patients through the course of their treatment. Dr. Bhatt's CoNDA Pilot Project will identify the nature, prevalence, severity, and the underlying neural mechanisms of cognitive impairments in older adults with myeloid malignancies, utilizing EEG/MEG and fMRI technology.