Adam Gerstenecker, Ph.D.

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2020

National Academy of Neuropsychology

Winner

Adam Gerstenecker, Ph.D.

University of Alabama – Birmingham

Dr. Gerstenecker earned his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Louisville in 2014, where he was awarded the John Richard Binford Memorial Award for excellence in scholarship and leadership, one of only two awards given to doctoral‐level graduates, regardless of discipline. After completing his degree requirements, Dr. Gerstenecker completed a 2-year postdoctoral neuropsychology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology since that time.

Dr. Gerstenecker currently is primary investigator on an NIH-funded K23 research grant. The focus of the study is to investigate the effects of systemic inflammation on hippocampal internal architecture, cognition, and daily functioning in persons diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Gerstenecker hopes to use data from this grant to target mechanisms of cognitive decline in future projects. Dr. Gerstenecker also serves as Co-Investigator and lead neuropsychologist for the NIH-funded Alabama Udall Center. The central hypothesis of the Alabama Udall Center is that innate and adaptive immune cells are activated early in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and that inhibiting their activities will protect from further PD-linked neurodegeneration. Alabama Udall Center investigators propose that a brain inflammatory response initiated by abnormal forms of α-synuclein, and leading to the entry and pro-inflammatory differentiation of peripheral monocytes and T-cells, is a key driver of PD neurodegeneration, which underlies both the motor and cognitive symptoms of the disorder. Finally, Dr. Gerstenecker also serves as Co-Investigator on an NIH-funded study that aims to develop commonly used clinical measures for online use and thus more rapid screening of older adults for inclusion in clinical trials. In terms of scholarship, Dr. Gerstenecker has been author or co-author on 42 peer-reviewed papers that are either published or in-press, with several other papers in various stages of peer review. Dr. Gerstenecker has been published in a number of well-respected journals including Neurology, Movement Disorders, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Psycho-Oncology, and Cancer. Much of Dr. Gerstenecker’s work has offered specific recommendations to the clinical community about appropriate ways to evaluate risk of cognitive and functional decline in neurologically vulnerable populations, thus, providing clear benefit to the medical community and society as a whole.