Emily Roll and Jess Bove are new members of the Penn FTD Center. You might meet Emily and Jess when you come to participate in research or a clinical trial, so let’s get to know them both a little better!

Emily originally hails from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Drexel University here in Philadelphia. Ultimately, Emily hopes to pursue a PhD in Neurosicence and is interested in studying biomarkers associated with neurodegenerative diseases like frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Lewy body dementia. When Emily is not the lab, she loves to go for bike rides and explore new places in the city, especially any restaurants serving vegetarian fare! She also enjoys reading, writing, and relaxing with her cat Pebble.

The PET studies Emily coordinates are relatively new to the Penn FTD Center. So, what should you expect if you come in for a study visit with Emily? Emily explains, “A PET scan is a very standard procedure, so there’s no need to be nervous! We start with an injection of a radiotracer, which is used so the PET scanner can pick up on a target protein in the brain. After a waiting period, we have the PET scan, which only lasts for 20 to 30 minutes. The PET scanner looks similar to an MRI, but it is much more open and doesn’t make any noise. If you imagine the MRI scanner to be a cannoli, the PET scanner would be more like 2 doughnuts. We will give you a blanket to make you comfortable, and some of patients even like to take a nap!”

Like Emily, Jess is also a native Pennsylvanian. Jess grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from Ursinus College. Jess is interested in both traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease, and hopes to specialize in one of these areas in her future career as a Clinical Neuropsychologist. In her spare time, you might find Jess cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, eating sushi at Shanghai Station, or exercising. Jess also adopted a dachshund two years ago, so if you come in and meet Jess, be sure to ask for pictures!

Within the center, Jess is in charge of coordinating visits for ARTFL/LEFFTDS consortium and conducting in-house cognitive testing. When coming in for an ARTFL or LEFFTDS day, Jess explains: “you will have a clinic visit with Dr. Grossman or Dr. Irwin, followed by an MRI, blood draw, cognitive testing, and family history. You and your caregiver will also answer questions about how you have been doing lately. Sometimes, we also pair this with a lumbar puncture. Finally, if you are concerned about your family history, we also have a new genetic counselor (Kaylee Naczi) who can speak with you about genetic testing.”

Emily and Jess both agree that their favorite part of working at the FTD Center has been the opportunity to meet and work with the wonderful patients and families who make our research possible. They look forward to meeting even more families in the coming months!