Michelle R. Caunca is a PhD in Epidemiology and 4th Year Medical Student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F30) Fellow, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and sponsored by Tatjana Rundek, MD, PhD and Clinton B. Wright, MD, MS. She is also supported by the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. Her Dissertation work focused on examining the relationships between regional MRI markers of brain aging and cognitive performance in a racially/ethnically diverse, urban sample using data from the Northern Manhattan Study. This work also addressed statistical and methodological issues inherent in epidemiologic neuroimaging datasets.
She received her BSc in Neurobiology with a minor in Psychology at the University of California, Irvine in 2013, graduating cum laude with Honors in Biological Sciences and Campuswide Honors. She worked in the The 90+ Study under the mentorship of Claudia H. Kawas, MD, and Maria Corrada, ScD, where she wrote her Honors thesis on amyloid PET imaging and cognitive performance in the oldest-old.
She aspires to become an academic neurologist and epidemiologist studying the vascular and social determinants of cognitive aging in an effort to translate epidemiological findings into public health and clinical practice.