Neurology Central

Imaging Alzheimer’s: an interview with early career researcher, Collin Luk

Collin Luk is a second year Adult Neurology Resident at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada). He completed his PhD in neuroscience and his medical school training at the University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada). His PhD research (supervised by Naweed Syed) focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse formation as well as biotechnology development in the areas of brain computer interfaces and lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices. His current research focuses on the utilization of 3D texture analysis of MR images to detect early changes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and ALS.
In this interview, Collin tells us about his research, how neuroimaging could be utilized in the future to predict progression from mild cognitive impairment to AD, and what it’s like to be an early career research in the rapidly growing area of Alzheimer’s research.

What led you to work in AD and neuroimaging?

AD is a life altering illness not only for the patient, but for their friends and family. As we are a collection of our experiences and memories, the understandable anxiety associated with the loss of these faculties has often spawned the question of “my memory seems worse, do I have Alzheimer’s disease”. The truth, however, is that our ability to predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI – those who have memory complaints but are not functionally impaired) progress to dementia is not very accurate.

The idea of utilizing neuroimaging to predict which MCI patients will convert to Alzheimer’s dementia came about while working with my current supervisor, Sanjay Kalra (University of Alberta), who had been developing texture analysis in ALS research. Therefore, we came up with the research question of whether texture analysis could also be applied to AD research.

Could you tell us about your current work?

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