Mormino Lab Research

Early Tau accumulation is detected within the medial temporal lobe using Tau PET imaging. 


Our overall research objective is to understand the risk of Alzheimer’s disease before clinical symptoms of dementia are present.  Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that impacts over 5.5 million Americans.  If this disease can be detected during the clinically silent stage, then we will be able to test preventative therapies before widespread neuronal damage has occurred.  Our research takes a multimodality approach to understand early changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  Here are the primary programs we are currently involved with:

1)    The Stanford Aging and Memory Study

This is a large multimodal imaging-biofluid study of human aging.  We have built a cohort of ~200 clinically normal older individuals that have already completed a baseline study that involved high-resolution imaging (3T fMRI and 7T structural MRI) and biofluid assessments (cerebrospinal fluid, plasma).  We will be launching a longitudinal arm to this study in early 2022, which will include repetition of previously collected measures as well as the addition of tau PET.  We hope to understand the baseline neuroimaging and biofluid predictors of memory change over time, as well as the impact of regional tau burden on brain regions supporting successful memory.  This study will also allow us to characterize the time-course of quantitative neuroimaging-based measures of neuronal integrity and how this corresponds to early AD pathological changes. 

2)    Harmonization of PET-derived phenotypes for “big-to-medium” data ADRD projects

Data sharing initiatives have promoted wide-spread access of imaging and genetic data relevant for understanding AD risk profiles.  We are involved with multiple efforts focused on the curation and harmonization of amyloid and tau PET data to contribute these data leveraging initiatives.  We are particularly interested in how the resulting large-scale datasets can enable the identification of subtypes, such as subsets of individuals that demonstrate cognitive resilience despite underlying abnormal AD processes.  We are also interested in the heterogeneity regarding disease progression related to the spread of tau throughout cortex.

3)    Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC)

We lead the collection of amyloid and tau PET imaging in the Stanford ADRC.  This includes image collection across the spectrum of Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s.  This allows ATN characterization of this cohort, which can be incorporated into research programs leveraging the ADRC.



Anthony Wagner (Psychology)

Frederick Chin (Radiology)

Michelle James (Radiology and Neurology)

Greg Zaharchuk (Radiology)

Sharon Sha (Neurology)

Michael Greicius (Neurology)

Kathleen Poston (Neurology)

Carolyn Fredericks (Neurology)

Jacob Hall (Neurology)

Other Institutions

Reisa Sperling (Harvard)

Keith Johnson (Harvard)

Dorene Rentz (Harvard)

Kate Papp (Harvard)

Tian Ge (Harvard)

Yen Lim (University of Melbourne)

Mert Sabuncu (Cornell)

Thomas Yeo (National University of Singapore)

Research Resources