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MEET OUR TEAM AND COLLABORATORS

Nancy J. Donovan, MD

Principal Investigator

Nancy J. Donovan MD is Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Associate Researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. She obtained her M.D. from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed clinical and research training at Stanford University Medical Center, Cambridge Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. ​

Dr. Donovan’s research investigates brain changes associated with emotional and behavioral symptoms in aging and early Alzheimer’s disease. She is a co-investigator in the Harvard Aging Brain Study at Massachusetts General Hospital. She provides clinical care for patients with late-life psychiatric and cognitive disorders through the Center for Brain Mind Medicine at BWH.​

When not working, Dr. Donovan loves to play tennis and travel to Grand Slam tournaments.​

Soyoung Lee, MD

BWH Geriatric Neuropsychiatrist

Soyoung Lee MD is a Geriatric Neuropsychiatrist in the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She obtained her MD from the Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, and completed her research training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and clinical training at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on the neurobiology of psychiatric/neurobehavioral symptoms in older adults in the context of aging and cognitive decline. She treats patients with various psychiatric and neurocognitive problems in late life at the Center for Brain Body Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Outside of work, Dr. Lee enjoys reading, writing, and traveling with her family.

Nichola Haddad, MD

BWH Psychiatry Resident

Nikki Haddad grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended college at Brown University, where she concentrated in Health & Human Biology with a focus in Brain and Behavior. While at Brown, she created her own class entitled “Music as Medicine.” She then attended the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where she conducted research in female reproductive health and co-founded the Medical Humanities Society. Nikki is currently a second-year psychiatry resident in the Brigham & Women’s/Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Residency Program, where her interests include geriatric psychiatry, consult-liaison psychiatry, and women’s mental health. Her current research interests include the impact of music therapy on loneliness in older adults, neuromodulation for anhedonia, and women’s mental health.

Outside of work, Nikki enjoys singing R&B/jazz, reading, barre class, and taking long walks around Jamaica Pond.

Maria Hernandez, MD

Music Therapist

Maria Hernandez was born in Miami and grew up in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Hernandez earned her medical degree at the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, and later went on to earn a degree in Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music.  She is a board certified music therapist and has worked as a music therapist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and as a music therapy intervention specialist in a research project on the Family Medicine Inpatient unit at Boston Medical Center. In the Spring 2021, Maria joined Dr. Donovan and her research team on a Zoom-based music therapy feasibility study focused on the impact of music therapy on loneliness in older adults. She currently lives in Miami, Florida where she is developing a Music Therapy program at the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center. Maria joins the music therapy sessions and the team’s research meetings remotely.

In her spare time, Maria enjoys spending time with her nieces and family, composing music and playing tennis.

Abby N. Altman, PhD

Geriatric Psychologist

Dr. Altman is a fellowship (VA Boston Healthcare) trained Geropsychologist. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University, with specific training in geriatric clinical settings. She also worked in eldercare as a behavioral consultant on dementia and supporting those working in assisted living and nursing homes.

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she is currently an Associate Psychologist with clinical work focused on older adults and evidence-based psychotherapy. She is the co-director of the RENEW (Resilience through Neurologic and Emotional Wellness) Program, the Psychology Lead for BWH’s Behavioral Health Integration Program in Primary Care, and the Clinical Lead (BWH) for the iCBT program. She is the co-director of the Principles of Motivational Interviewing CME course through Harvard Medical School and part of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Current research interests include motivational interviewing and behavior change, asynchronous communications, CBT adaptations for cognitive impairment, caregiving, and loneliness.  Her work on CBT adaptations for cognitive impairment was published as “Psychological Interventions in Neuropsychiatry” in the Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology: Principles and Practice text.

Outside of work, Dr. Altman enjoys crafting, musical theater, and watching Netflix.

Kelsey D. Biddle, BA

Harvard Medical Student

Kelsey D. Biddle is a current 2nd year student at Harvard Medical School.  After completing her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at Dartmouth College, Kelsey spent 2.5 years working as a research assistant at BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital where she performed clinical assessments for the Harvard Aging Brain Study and assisted Dr.  Donovan with her research. Kelsey’s research investigates social relationships, levels of social activity and cognitive outcomes in healthy older adults. She is an advocate for creating connections across generations and is interested in developing interventions to decrease social isolation and preserve health and function in older adults. Kelsey is pursuing a career in medicine and hopes to specialize in neurology or psychiatry.​

Outside of school, Kelsey spends her time hiking, learning new sports, and exploring New England with friends and family.​

Benjamin S. Zide, BA

Research Assistant

Benjamin S. Zide is a research assistant in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Ben graduated from Dartmouth College in 2022 majoring in Neuroscience and Classics, and is currently attending graduate school for Greek and Latin Literature at Oxford. Ben has helped recruit participants for clinical research and coordinate events as part of MADRC’s Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement core and assists Dr. Donovan with projects focused on social ties and social engagement in late life. In the future, Ben plans to pursue a career in medicine.​

​Outside of the lab, Ben enjoys playing solo and chamber piano music and spending time with Tali (his favorite pup) and his other 2 dogs.​

Twisha Bhardwaj, BA

Research Assistant

Twisha Bhardwaj is a research assistant in the Neuropsychiatry of Aging Research Group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Twisha graduated from Dartmouth College in 2022, having studied Neuroscience and Government. In the past, Twisha has pursued research at Dartmouth and the Penn Memory Center, exploring the interface between neuroethics and dementia. Her interests include garnering a deeper understanding of current and future directions of geriatric care in a clinical context. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine.

Outside of the lab, Twisha enjoys playing cello, scrap journaling, and listening to political podcasts.

MEET OUR COLLABORATORS

Heidi I. L. Jacobs, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor in Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Honorary Associate Professor, Maastricht University,
The Netherlands

Suzanne Hanser, EdD

Chair Emerita, Professor, Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music,
President, International Association for Music & Medicine

ALUMNI

Fred d'Oleire Uquillas, MS

Former Neuroimaging Research Assistant

Pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience at Princeton University

Federico attended UC Berkley for his undergraduate studies and worked with Dr. Donovan as a neuroimaging research assistant from 2016 to 2019. He is currently pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at Princeton University.

Isabella Levesque, BS

Former Research Intern

Currently a Research Assistant at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment

Isabella attended University of Massachusetts Amherst and worked with Dr. Donovan as a research intern in 2020. She currently works as a research assistant at the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at BWH and plans to pursue a career in medicine.

Jennie Davidow, MD

Former MGB Geriatric Psychiatry Fellow, 2021

Currently an attending geriatric psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Davidow completed the Mass General Brigham Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship in 2021 and worked with Dr. Donovan and other members of the team to publish a systematic review of interventions for spousal bereavement for older adults. Her research interests include bereavement, anxiety disorders, and management of behavior symptoms of dementia.

Hema Kher, MD, MPH

Former BWH Psychiatry Resident and Fellow in Consultation-Liason Psychiatry, BWH/ DFCI

Currently an attending psychiatrist at ____

Dr. Kher worked with Dr. Donovan and other members of the group to author a textbook chapter on the Neuropsychiatry of Alzheimer’s Disease, published in 2021, and was a co-investigator for the Music Therapy Intervention during Covid-19.

Anagha Kumar

Former Research Intern

Current MD candidate at Mount Sinai in NYC

Anagha attended Harvard College and graduated in 2022 majoring in the History of Science and Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she was the director of the Harvard Concordium program and was a co-investigator with Dr. Donovan and the team on the Intergenerational Friendly Visit study during Covid-19.

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