Our Mentors




Parichita Choudhury

Parichita Choudhury, M.D., MSc., FRCPC

Cognitive Neurologist, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Arizona-Phoenix
Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Dr. Choudhury is board-certified in Neurology and Dementia and practices at Banner Sun Health Research Institute. She completed her medical school at University of Alberta, Canada followed by neurology residency training at University of Calgary, Canada. She then completed her clinical fellowship in Behavioral Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In addition to providing clinical care, she is involved in multiple clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease at BSHRI. She also conducts research in the dementia care and areas of interest include early diagnosis of dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and sex differences in dementia care. She is a clinical assistant professor at University of Arizona, directs the Neuroscience Scholars Program and leads several educational initiatives at BSHRI.



Photo of Mike Malek-Ahmadi, PhD, GStat

Mike Malek-Ahmadi, PhD, GStat

Bioinformatics Scientist
Banner Alzheimer's Institute

Dr. Malek-Ahmadi earned a BS from the University of Arizona, a MS from the University of South Florida, and a PhD from the University of Westminster. He has worked in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research since 2003 and is an author on over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and normal aging. Dr. Malek-Ahmadi’s current work at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute involves the analysis of clinical, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and neuropathological data used toward identifying and characterizing pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease.



Alexander Choi

Alexander Choi, M.D.

Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Dr. Choi completed movement disorders fellowship at NIH under Dr. Hallett and Dr. Ehrlich, with the opportunity to see a variety of movement disorders and undertake mentored research in autonomic medicine as well as metabolic investigation in Parkinson’s to test the hypothesis that a short course of ketogenic diet is feasible and found to be helpful for symptom management, with exploratory measures of mobility, BDNF, blood DOPA metabolites and resting state EEG network analysis. Dr. Choi graduated from Tulane University Medical School and received training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at Harbor-UCLA, and Internal Medicine and Neurology at SUNY-Downstate. He is excited to work with the BSHRI care team to deliver thorough assessment including exploring biomarkers and non-pharmacologic approaches to therapy.



Geidy Serrano, PhD

Director, Civin Laboratory for Neuropathology
Brain and Body Donation Program
Banner Sun Health Research Institute

In 2000 Dr. Serrano graduated with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus, and worked for a year in a biochemistry laboratory at the University of Florida. In 2006 she completed her doctoral degree in Anatomy at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus, where she developed scientific skills, not only technical but also analytical. While pursuing her doctoral degree, she received the Minority in Neuroscience Fellowship from the Society of Neuroscience and had the honor to do an Internship at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Whole, MA. In 2007 she started a postdoctoral appointment at Emory University’s School of Medicine and received a National Research Service Award Training Grant (F32-NINDS). After three years of postdoctoral training, she joined the Brain and Body Donation program at Banner Sun Health Research, Sun City, Arizona. Her work allows her to contribute to brain and biospecimen research that pursues the understanding of neurological disorders around the world.

Dr. Serrano’s most recent research contributions are in neurodegeneration of aging in humans and gender differences. Her most recent publication suggests that, when affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, females progress more often to severe cognitive dysfunction, due to more severe neurofibrillary degeneration and greater loss of brain parenchyma. Other relevant work involved the search for a peripheral biopsy for Parkinson Disease and a feasibility study of frontal cortex needle core biopsy for detection of characteristic proteinopathies of neurodegenerative diseases.



Angela Kuramoto

Angela Kuramoto

Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Angela Kuramoto graduated from the University of Phoenix with a master’s degree in Health Care Administration. She also has a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University in Health Care Management. Angie has been working in leadership within the research industry for the last 25 years and is also a Respiratory Therapist. She has worked on numerous phase one through four clinical trials throughout her career. She is currently working at Banner Sun Health Research Institute as the Associate Director of Observational Research Programs. She is overseeing the cutting edge Brain and Body Donation program, the Center for Healthy Aging program, and the Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) consortium. These programs include over 1000 research participants combined, with a large variety of cognitive diagnoses to include Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and various forms of Dementia.




B. Blair Braden

B. Blair Braden, PhD

Assoc Professor, College of Health Solutions
Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences Interdisciplinary Graduate faculty

B. Blair Braden received her doctorate in behavioral neuroscience - psychology from ASU in 2012. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. She is an assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences and director of the Autism and Brain Aging Laboratory.


Postdoctoral Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital, Phoenix.
Ph.D. Behavioral Neuroscience-Psychology, Arizona State University 2012



Gene Brewer, PhD

Psychology, Associate Professor
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Brewer’s interests include behavioral and electrophysiological recording of memory processes, prospective memory, source memory, recognition memory, individual differences in working memory, and emotional effects on memory. Additionally, he is interested in statistical models of memory and other statistical applications within psychology.



Heather Bimonte-Nelson, PhD

President's Professor, Barrett Honors Faculty
ASU Department of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology Division

For over two decades Dr. Bimonte-Nelson has been conducting preclinical evaluations of multiple domains of cognitive function as related to aging, with a special focus on transitional and surgical menopause, and exogenous and endogenous hormone exposures across the lifespan. She has published over 70 peer reviewed manuscripts evaluating hormone effects on the brain and behavior from early development until old age, with her earlier work showing that female brain organization is actively feminized by estrogens, and that estrogen exposures across the lifespan impact the female phenotype. She has expertise in behavioral measurements and related neurobiological assays, especially as associated with aging and hormone milieu.



Ramon Velazquez

Ramon Velazquez, PhD

Asst Professor, ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center
Assistant Research Professor, School of Life Sciences

Ramon Velazquez is an assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences and with the Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center at the Biodesign Institute - Arizona State University. His research interests include identifying novel therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Down Syndrome (DS). In particular, he focuses on early molecular events that trigger the progression of these diseases. He is also interested in drug discovery and dietary supplementation of B-like vitamins as a way to prevent disease progression. Velazquez received his doctoral degree at Cornell University and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Strupp. Velazquez was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Pre-Doctoral fellowship as a graduate student and completed his postdoctoral training in molecular biology and neuroscience at ASU, where he was independently funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and via a NSF postdoctoral fellowship. Velazquez’s ultimate goal is to progress science while consecutively helping those who suffer from insidious neurodegenerative diseases.


Postdoctoral Fellow. ASU NDRC (2014-2019)
Ph.D. Cornell University, Ithaca NY (Aug. 2008- Aug 2014)
B.A. California State University, Long Beach (May 2002- May 2007)



Sarah Stabenfeldt, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biological and Health Systems Engineering
Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences

Sarah Stabenfeldt received her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Saint Louis University and her doctorate in bioengineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) NRSA pre-doctoral fellowship for her doctoral thesis research on developing neural tissue engineering therapies for traumatic brain injury. As a NIH postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Tech, she investigated fibrin-derived peptide-protein binding interactions, designing fibrin-based wound healing therapeutics. She joined Arizona State University’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering as an assistant professor in 2011 and leads her research team in developing regenerative medicine strategies for acute neural injury. Since joining ASU, Stabenfeldt has been awarded the Arizona Biomedical Research Consortium Early Stage Investigator Award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.


Ph.D. Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Saint Louis University



Sydney Schaefer

Sydney Schaefer, PhD

Asst Professor, Neurodegenerative Disease Associate Faculty

Sydney Schaefer is currently an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. She earned her undergraduate degree in sports medicine from Pepperdine University. She then received her doctorate in kinesiology with an emphasis in motor control from the Pennsylvania State University, and completed her postdoctoral training in stroke rehabilitation at Washington University in St. Louis in the Biomedical Engineering and Physical Therapy programs. Her current research aims to improve neurorehabilitation in older adults by studying how aging and cognitive impairment affect motor skill learning, and explores the interactions between different memory systems in the context of dementia. Schaefer's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and various non-profit foundations.


Postdoctoral Training. Stroke Rehabilitation, Washington University in St. Louis
Ph.D. Kinesiology (Motor Control), Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Sports Medicine, Pepperdine University