• graduation of behavioral fellow, resident group photo

The Mission of the UCD Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship in Neurodegeneration and Aging is to produce Clinical Neurologists and Psychiatrists that are expert in the clinical assessment, treatment, and management of cognitive and behavioral disorders, neurodegenerative and vascular dementias in a diverse patient population with complex diseases and age-related changes of the nervous system.

Program Aims

  1. Train experts in the clinical assessment and management of cognitive and behavioral disorders, neurodegenerative and vascular dementias in a diverse patient population (multi-ethnic clinical patient populations and research cohorts).
  2. Graduates will be able to utilize state-of-the art diagnostic, biomarker and ancillary tests (e.g. PET, MRI, EEG) effectively in their clinical practice, thereby increasing diagnostic accuracy and quality of care.
  3. Train academic faculty to provide high-quality specialty patient care and to perform high-quality research.

The Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) at UC Davis is offering a one- to two-year fellowship program in neurodegenerative disease. The first year is dedicated to clinical training. A research-intensive second year is optional but encouraged. UCNS has accredited this fellowship; it is not ACGME-accredited.

The Center offers a rich clinical exposure to a variety of cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. It maintains one of the largest and most diverse dementia cohorts in the nation, well-characterized with brain imaging, neuropsychology, extensive clinical data, and banked DNA and serum. Mentors with particular strength in brain imaging, neuropsychology, ERPs, neuropathology, and biostatistics are available.

Fellows choosing a second year are expected to seek funding (intramural and/or extramural) to support a targeted second year research project. Resources to develop, mentor, and support research are extensive, spanning basic to social sciences with a strong emphasis on clinical translational research. The Center has a 30 year history of state, federal, and privately funded research projects and is currently supported by both NIA and State of California Alzheimer’s Disease Center grants.

A rich clinical exposure to a wide variety of cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. A community-based, multi-ethnic cohort (i.e., approximately 28% Hispanic, 25% African American) recruited from a very large geographical region of Northern California.

Clinics are conducted at two sites: the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA and the UC Davis ADRC’s East Bay Alzheimer’s clinic in Walnut Creek, CA.

Three specialty dementia clinics which often see complex dementia cases.

A large cohort (n>100) of participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment unique for its ethnic diversity (~1/3 Hispanic, 1/3 African American, 1/3 Caucasian).

A cohort of approximately 500 elders, over half of whom are minorities spanning a wide range of cognitive function.

  • A wealth of clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and neuropathology data available for hypothesis-driven analyses of current interest.
  • An extensive biorepository that includes serum, plasma, and DNA samples, with over 900 individuals genotyped.
  • A leader in the investigation of heterogeneity of cognitive aging and transitions to dementia (i.e., contributions of cerebrovascular disease, ethnicity, vascular, and socioeconomic risk factors).
  • A variety of clinical trials for AD, from Phase I, II, & III clinical drug trials, to primary prevention and instrument trials. Our center also remains one of the most active in the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging study (ADNI-1,2 and now ADNI-3) and maintains collaborations with UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.
  • One of the largest dementia cohorts in the nation, well characterized with: Multi-modal brain imaging (structural and functional MRI, amyloid and FDG PET)
  • Genetics/serum banking
  • Specialized neuropsychology
  • Extensive clinical data
  • Cognitive ERPs/EEG
  • A wide range of intensive research opportunities, including specialization in structural MRI, functional MRI, amyloid & tau PET imaging, neuropathology, and cognitive ERPs/EEG.

This is a clinically-oriented fellowship with abundant research opportunities. Duties will be roughly 90% clinic-based and 10% research-based in year 1. In the optional second year, priorities reverse to approximately 80% research and 20% clinical duties.

The first year is largely dedicated to clinical assessments of dementia patients, patients with mild cognitive impairment, and cognitively normal elderly research participants. Clinical activities include various rotations in Neurology specialty clinics (~6 per week), and opportunities to attend General Neurology Clinic, reviewing and interpreting diagnostic tests and evaluating patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, FTD, and/or CVD. Nine months of the first year will be dedicated to Behavioral Neurology, with three one-month block rotations: Neuropathology & Neuroanatomy, Neuropsychiatry, and a one-month elective.

10% of the fellows' time in Year 1 will be protected to allow work on a mentored individual research project. Fellows choosing to continue with a second research-intensive year should also use this time for writing a proposal to seek funding support for a targeted second-year research project.

Scholarly activities will include:

  • AD research Journal Club - held monthly with Neurology faculty to discuss research topics in AD and related disorders
  • Neurology Grand Rounds presentation
  • Participation in monthly ADC Clinical Pathological Case conferences, featuring complex and unusual cases of neurodegenerative and vascular dementias
  • Attendance at annual meeting(s) of the American Academy of Neurology or the American Neurological Association
  • Second-year research-focused fellows will be encouraged to prepare a poster or talk for the annual neurology meetings, followed by a manuscript submitted for publication.

Dr. Olichney in a white coatJohn Olichney, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Fellowship Director

Dr. Olichney specializes in cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. His philosophy is to provide individualized, comprehensive neurological care to each of his patients. His research interests include EEG, ERP and fMRI studies of language and memory, and clinical treatment trials for Alzheimer's disease.

In addition to Dr. Olichney, other faculty from several disciplines will be involved in the educational opportunities presented by this fellowship. Those with specific expertise in neurodegenerative disease include:

Other teaching faculty participating in the fellowship, with their associated areas of expertise, include:

Qualified candidates will hold an M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited institution and will have completed a residency in Neurology, Child Neurology, or Psychiatry. Candidates must possess a California medical license prior to the start date of the fellowship and should apply for this at least 4 months prior. Foreign medical graduates will be considered if they have completed a U.S.-based residency program.

Candidates who have a high level of interest and potential in pursuing pre-clinical/ translational or clinical research as a major focus of their career plan and who have a long-term goal of entering clinical research as a career will be preferred. Candidates seeking a long-term specialty clinical practice in dementia, geriatric neurology, or behavioral neurology will also be considered.

This fellowship is funded in perpetuity by an endowment form the Victor and Genevieve Orsi Trust to the Regents of the University of California for the support of Alzheimer's disease research.

We will consider applicants the year and a half prior to the start date of July 1. Interviews are scheduled on a rolling basis as we receive completed application packages.

If interested in pursuing this fellowship training opportunity, qualified applicants must submit three Letters of Recommendation, Curriculum Vitae, and Letter of Intent to the Fellowship Coordinator, and complete the online Fellowship Application survey.