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Whitney Wharton, PhD
Cognitive Neuroscientist
Principal Investigator

Dr. Wharton is a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in the prevention of 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 identifying the mechanisms contributing to Alzheimer’s including vascular risk factors, and inflammatory markers in blood and spinal fluid in individuals who are at risk for the disease due to a parental history. She conducts both observational and clinical trials, all of which enroll participants from underserved groups, including women, Black/African American individuals, and the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr. Wharton is currently conducting multiple NIH/NIA funded studies including 1) investigating the influence of sex hormones in CSF and blood on AD and inflammatory biomarkers, peripheral arterial function, sleep and cognition 2) investigating the extent to which antihypertensive medications may alter AD neuropathology in African Americans 3) a national study designed to improve aging related resources and ensure research inclusivity among LGBTQIA+ individuals with ADRD and LGBTQIA caregivers. 4) and a multi-center trial of a dietary supplement unique to the Japanese diet (equol) in older adults without dementia. This trial tests the hypotheses that equol will slow the progression of arterial stiffness, white matter lesions, and cognitive decline.

Danielle D. Verble, MA
Associate Director of Research Projects

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

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.

Jordan Cook

Program Coordinator

Jordan joined Emory as a Program Coordinator in January 2022. Previously she worked in the field of HIV Prevention and Care. Jordan received her BA in Communication with an emphasis in Organizational Communication as well as an English Minor from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Jordan has participated in research herself and is excited at the opportunity to make research more inclusive and equitable for all.

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Alisha McCart, MPH
Clinical Research Coordinator I

Alisha joined Emory University as a Clinical Research Coordinator in 2022. She received her BA in Health Care Administration and MPH with a concentration in Biostatistics and Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Before research, Alisha worked as a Firefighter/EMT and continues to carry the passion for helping others. She is dedicated to research because it is a process of discovery and the act of finding new information and knowledge and being able to share that with others.

Amber Russ
Research Interviewer

Amber Russ is deeply passionate about the study of Neuropsychology. Many of her accomplishments involve Neurogenetics research with the Drosophila melanogaster species, where she won the Experience Award at Georgia State’s Undergraduate Conference (GSURC). Amber loves reading, attending live concerts, going to festivals, etc! Amber strives for excellence and to foster a safe space for individuals from all backgrounds of life. As a multi-ethnic individual, Amber endeavors to uplift and promote diversity and inclusion, while leaving room for expansion and growth. In addition, Amber hopes to leave her mark on the world and create a splash while doing it!

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Bruno Hammerschlag III
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Bruno is an 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.


Shreya Ramanathan
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Shreya Ramanathan is an undergraduate student at Emory University from Austin, TX. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and Anthropology, with a concentration in Medical Anthropology. On campus, her involvements include the Emory Undergraduate Medical Review, APIDA Activists, Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach, and the Emory SaRaas competitive dance team. She is also passionate about improving access to healthcare resources and promoting healthcare education amongst underserved communities. Her academic interests lie in the effect of systemic inequities, cultural norms, and comorbidities on neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in BIPOC communities. 

Rayan Virani
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Rayan Virani is an undergraduate student at Emory University from Chicago, Illinois. He is majoring in neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minoring in Spanish. On campus, he is a member of Emory’s Health and Development in Guatemala, Gift Of Life Bone Marrow Registry, the Muslim Student Association, and Sigma Beta Rho, Emory’s premier multicultural fraternity on campus. Rayan has been involved in the world of neurodegenerative diseases since 2018 when he began to volunteer in an Art Therapy Program for Alzheimer’s patients in Chicago. His passion has continued to grow, with hopes to develop an Art Therapy program close to campus and has begun a National Alzheimer’s Buddies Chapter so student volunteers can connect with those living with dementia. Rayan aims to go to Medical School and continue to raise awareness and representation for the South Asian community in Alzheimer's research and preventative programs. 

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Ammar Ul Haq
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ammar Ul Haq is an undergraduate student at Emory University from Pakistan, but most recently lived in Dubai, UAE. He is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology with a double-major in Theater Studies. His academic interests are understanding of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease and developmental disorders like Autism Spectrum Disorder. He focuses on diversity, inclusion and equity, as can be seen through his non-academic extracurriculars. He is the founder of the Ubuntu Theater Group, which focuses on casts and crews of colour and holds executive roles in AHANA A Cappella, Emory’s only multicultural, RnB A Cappella group, and the Pakistani Student Association.

Jordan Watson
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jordan is an undergraduate student from Alpharetta, Georgia. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and African American Studies. Her academic interest lies in increasing diversity and representation in clinical trials as a means of addressing inequities In health. She is passionate in her pursuit to understand how neurodegenerative diseases disproportionately affect minority populations and how access to healthcare can be improved in underserved communities. Her on campus involvements include Graduation Generation, Women’s Club Soccer, Emory Global Health Institute’s Student Advisory Committee, American Medial Student Association, and the Office of Undergraduate Admission’s Student Ambassador Program.


Our Collaborators

Lab Alumni

Leanne Jeong

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Leah Elster

Research Interviewer

Winnie N. Jacobs, MPH

Clinical Research Coordinator

Harry Huang
Undergraduate Research Assistant

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

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