Jun 17, 2022

Introducing our 2022 MITO2i-TDRA Fellow

About the TDRA, Announcements, Partnerships, Research, TDRA Investigators
Dr. Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar
Image credit: Julia Soudat

The Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) has partnered with the Mitochondrial Innovation Initiative (MITO2i), an Institutional Strategic Initiative out of the University of Toronto, to co-fund an innovative new fellowship offered through the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. The fellowship supports collaborative, multi-disciplinary research that explores the role of the mitochondria in dementia.

Through a competitive process, we are pleased to introduce the 2022 MITO2i-TDRA fellow, Dr. Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar. Under the co-supervision of Dr. Tom Schweizer and Dr. Corinne Fischer at Unity Health Toronto, Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar will be leading a study that investigates the efficacy of photobiomodulation (PBM), a form of therapy that uses lights, in the treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Mitochondria are found in most cells in the human body. They generate chemical energy which powers a cell’s biochemical reactions, and this energy is stored in a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). A potential AD-causing mechanism is the dysfunction of mitochondria in the brain; however, an effective therapy that targets mitochondrial dysfunction is still missing. Photobiomodulation (PMB) is a noninvasive technique for enhancing mitochondrial function via reducing oxidative stress and increasing ATP levels. It delivers infrared light to the brain, and can be safely administered to awake outpatients. PMB is a promising novel therapy for early AD; however, the effectiveness and mechanism of action of PBM in AD remains to be studied. This is what Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar’s study will explore.

Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar is a clinician-scientist with experience in clinical and cognitive neuroscience. She completed her Medical Doctorate at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. She holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Trento University, Italy. Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar also recently successfully defended her PhD at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, Canada. As a doctoral researcher, Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar studied alterations of brain networks (i.e., MRI data analysis) in people living with AD and in those at risk for developing AD (e.g., those with remitted depression) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Through her work, Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar has gained strong experience in multi-modal neuroimaging studies and clinical trials in neurologic, psychiatric, and healthy populations.

Congratulations Dr. Rashidi-Ranjbar, and welcome to the TDRA and MITO2i communities!