Welcome! A bit about our investigators

Dr. Elizabeth Finger, is clinician-scientist and an experienced clinical trialist in FTD and Alzheimer’s disease. She is recognized internationally as a leader in the study of oxytocin in frontotemporal dementia.

Dr. Finger received her MD from Cornell University. She completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by residency in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Finger completed a clinical research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in the Unit on Affective and Cognitive Disorders at the NIMH.

Dr. Finger’s research focuses on understanding the cognitive, neural, and genetic substrates of abnormal decision-making, emotion, and social behavior. The research program combines neuropsychological tasks with functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, lesion studies, pharmacologic challenges, and genetic polymorphism associations to delineate the cognitive and neural systems affected in patients with frontotemporal dementia and their at-risk family members.

Dr. Stephen Pasternak received his S. B. Degrees in Chemical Engineering and in Life Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He completed the MD/PhD program at McGill University, Montreal, earning his PhD in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery in 1994 and his M.D. C.M. in 1995. Dr. Pasternak then completed his Neurology residency at the University of Toronto Fin 2000, followed by Post-Doctoral training in Cell Biology at the Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto and Fellowship training in Cognitive Neurology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Stephen Pasternak is a Neurologist specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative disease and a basic scientist at the Robarts Research Institute at Western University. At his clinic in Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital he sees patients with neurodegenerative disease and participates in academic and industry sponsored clinical trials focused on diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative disease.

The Pasternak laboratory at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario is focused on understanding the basic cell biological changes in Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting these changes using MRI imaging.  Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a toxic protein called beta-amyloid which builds up in the brain. We have attached fluorescent protein tags to a number of proteins responsible for the production of beta-amyloid. This allows us to directly visualize these proteins in the microscope, studying their movement and interactions proteins in live cells using laser-scanning confocal microscopy. We are also working with Dr. Robert Bartha, an Imaging Scientist at the Robarts Research Institute, to design MRI techniques to detect the changes of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain using very high field MRI. We hope that our work will lead to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease which will lead to diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr. MIchael Borrie is Medical Director for the Aging Brain and Memory Clinic, an investigator with the Cognitive Clinical Trials Group, Program Director of the South Western Ontario Regional Geriatric Program.

His research interests include predictors of conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer Disease (AD), including sensitive Neuroimaging techniques, and randomized controlled trials of new treatments for MCI and AD. He is President of the Consortium for Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research (C5R).

Research Interests / Specializations: Research interests include predictors of conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer Disease (AD), including sensitive Neuroimaging techniques, and the clinical evaluation of new treatments for AD, geriatric rehabilitation and falls in the elderly.

Dr. Jennie Wells is an internist/geriatrician and associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Western University. In June 2011, Dr. Wells assumed the role of Chair of the Division of Geriatric Medicine. Research Interests / Specializations: Alzheimer Disease and Geriatric Rehabilitation.
Teaching: Alzheimer’s Disease, Geriatric Rehabilitation