Whitney Wharton, PhD
Cognitive Neuroscientist
Principal Investigator

Dr. Wharton is a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders. She received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to complete her doctoral training at The George Washington University in Washington DC. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her research focuses on the influence of vascular risk factors on Alzheimer’s biomarkers in individuals who are at risk for the disease due to a parental history. She conducts both observational and clinical trials that investigate the extent to which blood pressure and blood pressure medications act on brain systems known to be involved in AD neuropathology. Dr. Wharton is currently conducting an NIH/NIA funded study investigating the influence of peripheral arterial function on AD biomarkers by measuring beta-amyloid levels and blood flow in the brain in individuals at risk for AD. She is also conducting a clinical trial which will determine the effects of an FDA approved blood pressure medication on Alzheimer's Disease biomarkers in African Americans. Her secondary area of research involves the influence of sex hormones and hormone therapy on cognition and AD neuropathology.

Danielle D. Verble, MA
Research Projects Manager

Danielle joined Emory as a Clinical Research Coordinator in March 2016 following Research Recruiter and Coordinator positions with the University of Pittsburgh, a pharmaceutical contract research organization (CRO) and University of Central Florida. Danielle received her B.A. in Psychology from Stetson University and M.A. in Mental Health Counseling with the University of Central Florida. Her research background includes the HHS funded Supporting Healthy Marriage project, NIMH funded Pittsburgh Girls Study, and numerous Phase One pharmaceutical studies.  

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Winnie N. Jacobs, MPH
Clinical Research Coordinator I

Winnie joined Emory as a clinical research coordinator I in February 2020. Previously, Winnie worked for Duke University School of Medicine established cord blood program at Grady Memorial Hospital as a Cord Blood Research Coordinator. She received her B.S in Molecular Cell Biology from Dominican University of CA and a Master in Public Health (MPH) with a Community Health concentration from West Chester University. Winnie has a huge interest in the research field of Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and the role AD plays in clinical research.

Kelly D.S. Likos, MPH
Clinical Research Coordinator I

Kelly joined Emory University in 2020 working on the Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials at Grady Memorial Hospital. She received her BA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Alabama and her MPH with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Florida. Kelly’s previous research includes work in reproductive health looking at contraception usage, as well as perceptions of healthcare and patient/provider relationships. Kelly is passionate about making healthcare and clinical research an accessible and welcoming environment for all.


Andrea Kippels, MSN, BSN
Nurse Practitioner

Andrea Kippels earned a BSN from Northwestern State University of Louisiana, MSN (Nursing Education, Psychiatry/Geriatrics) and Post-Masters Certificate (FNP) from Emory University. She has 20 years of experience as a Nurse Practitioner in Geriatrics and Cognitive Disorders. Since 2003, Andie has provided clinical management, education, and support for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, and Frontotemporal Dementia. She has facilitated educational support groups with Mild Cognitive Impairment clients and their families. She coordinates clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and FTD.

Harry Huang
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Harry is a 2020 graduate of Emory University from Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. He majored in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (NBB) and he is very interested in the research field of Alzheimer’s Disease and the role of clinical research in AD research. He was also a volunteer at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Now that he has received his undergraduate degree, he is continuing to work with our team as he works on his masters in biostatistics at Yale University.


Leah Elster
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Leah is a third-year undergraduate student at Emory University from Chicago, Illinois. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and is interested in risk determinants of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. On campus, she is involved with Emory’s global health organization and tutors students in chemistry. Following graduation, Leah hopes to attend medical school. 

Leanne Jeong
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Leanne Jeong is a third-year undergraduate student at Emory University from Dothan, Alabama. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and Music. As a Music major, she is on the piano performing track. She loves being involved on campus as a part of the residential hall advisor team, volunteering with GlobeMed, and playing on the club ultimate frisbee team. Her academic interests lie in neurodegenerative diseases and music therapy. She has traveled to Ghana for a medical internship during the summer of 2017 and was an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair representative for Alabama. 

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Bruno Hammerschlag III
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Bruno is a third-year undergraduate student at Emory University from Panama City, Panama. He is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minoring in Neuroethics. His academic interests include research in the prevention and development of Alzheimer’s disease. He is also passionate about the intersection of neurodegenerative diseases with human life and behavior, especially in minority communities. On campus, he is involved as a crisis director and chief of staff of Emory’s two National Model United Nations conferences. Bruno plans to attend graduate school following graduation.

Nivi Nimmagadda
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nivi is a third-year undergraduate student at Emory University from Boylston, Massachusetts and Bangalore, India. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and Creative Writing. As a Creative Writing major, her concentration is poetry. On campus, she is involved in Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach and the Alloy Literary Magazine. Her academic interests lie in how neurodegenerative diseases affect minorities and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease. After graduating, Nivi plans on attending medical school.


Our Collaborators

Lab Alumni

Morgan Hecker

Clinical Research Coordinator

Veronique King
Clinical Research Coordinator

Jaime Schechner

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Carolyn Zhou

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alexandra Nutaitis
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sonum Tharwani
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alexandra Brown
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ryan Shin
Undergraduate Research Assistant

McKayla Williams

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Veena Kumar

Medical Student Research Assistant