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O'Dell, Mecca Awarded Travel Scholarships

February 07, 2020
by Jordan Sisson

Ryan O’Dell, MD, PhD, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Adam Mecca, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, were both awarded the Human Amyloid Imaging 2020 Travel Scholarship for the organization’s annual conference in January 2020.

The scholarship award, given by the Human Amyloid Imaging Conference, helps defer the cost for flights, hotel, and registration to the annual conference. This year’s conference was held Jan. 15-17 in Miami, Fla.

At the conference, O’Dell presented a poster that described his investigation into the association of both local and global brain amyloid accumulation on synaptic density using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in a human population diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Mecca presented a poster describing the association between brain tau protein accumulation on synaptic density using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in a human population diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease. He was also featured in an oral presentation at the conference, where he discussed his findings of widespread synaptic loss in early Alzheimer’s disease using a novel PET radiotracer, [11C]UCB-J.

Additionally, O’Dell was awarded the Chair’s Choice 2020 Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) Travel Fellowship Award. The $2,000 award, given by the Society for Biological Psychiatry, helps defer the costs for flights, hotel, and registration to the annual conference, scheduled for later this spring in New York City. Recipients also receive a waived registration fee for the 2020, 2021, and 2022 annual meetings. Selection criteria for the award included past excellence in scholarly work, potential for scholarly growth in biological psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, and overall excellence.

O’Dell said he plans to present two posters at the conference. The first will describe his investigation into the association of both local and global brain amyloid accumulation on synaptic density using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in a human population diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease. The second will investigate the validation of a simplified tissue-to-reference ration method (SUVR, or standardized uptake value ration) for estimating synaptic density in a novel PET radiotracer, [11C]UCB-J.

“Such simplified methods of image acquisition and quantification would facilitate the use of synaptic density imaging as a practical tool in multicenter longitudinal studies,” O’Dell said.

Together, O’Dell and Mecca have been co-mentoring a Yale undergraduate student who plans to submit and present a poster at SOBP.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on February 07, 2020