Meet some of our recent additions to the FTDC team! Today, the spotlight is on Annabess Ehrhardt and Yvonne Balgenorth. Let’s get to know them a bit better!

Both Yvonne and Annabess joined the FTD Center in July. They are instrumental in the coordination of some of the research studies that we do here. Yvonne helps coordinate the ARTFL, LEFFTDS, and HCP projects, and Annabess coordinates the 4RTNI study. You may meet them if you come in for a consent, family history, cognitive testing, a blood draw, an MRI scan, and/or a PET scan! Should you come in for any of these activities, Yvonne and Annabess say there’s no need to be nervous – just do the best you can, and if you get tired, let them know! They’ll make sure you get the break you need and will try to make it as painless and (dare we say) fun as possible.

Yvonne is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, but went to college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Her favorite part about Anchorage is its beautiful natural landscape, as her favorite activity back home is hiking. Growing up, Yvonne had a half-wolf, half-Siberian husky named Casey. Appropriately, her favorite animals are wolves. A fun fact about Yvonne is that she’s an amazing pianist, and has been studying classical piano for the past 17 years! For college, Yvonne made a trip across the country to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Currently, Yvonne’s future goal is to apply to medical school, where she intends to pursue the study of Cognitive Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. She has a particular interest in factors that influence creative expression over time. She is also hoping to become fluent in Spanish!

Yvonne enjoys reading, biking, listening to podcasts, and of course, playing the piano. So far Yvonne is loving the first real city she’s ever lived in; she appreciates how walkable and accessible Philadelphia is. She is excited to be here and be a part of the FTD Center team!

Annabess grew up all the way across the country from Yvonne in New York City. She loves the unique mix of people and cultures you see in NYC and that you never know with whom you wind up striking up a conversation. As much as she loves New York, Annabess decided to go down south for college at Emory University, where she graduated May 2018. A fun fact about Annabess is that she was born on Leap Day, so she only has an official birthday every four years! Her next birthday is in 2020!

Annabess’s current plans are to pursue a PhD, although she is not entirely sure which specialty. She is leaning towards either a cognitive or clinical psychology PhD, with a particular interest in studying how languages work in the brain. Annabess is particularly interested in studying aphasias to help improve the lives of those who have these language difficulties.

In her spare time, Annabess enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring new places, and cooking (although she’s not so good at the latter, but she’s working on it). Although she does not have one currently, Annabess love dogs and plans to have many. Annabess loves the diversity that we see in the different neighborhoods of Philadelphia, and is looking forward to exploring the city more in the future; perhaps with her many dogs!

Welcome to the FTD Center, Yvonne and Annabess!