Alzheimer's Research


Our mission is to apply cutting edge technology to understand dementia and ideally prevent or ameliorate the

suffering caused by it. We study healthy adults and patients with dementia using state of the art

MRI technology. Along with many other labs in the world, we are interested in how the shape and

neuronal connections in the brain differ between successful and impaired aging. However, we bring

uniquely powerful ability to also study brain chemistry noninvasively. Using ultra-high magnetic

field (7 Tesla) MRI, we can see more than a dozen relevant chemicals, including the antioxidant vitamin

C. We have noticed that our methods pick up subtle differences in the brain chemistry of people who

have Alzheimer’s disease. We partner with dementia care specialists and data science experts to design

relevant research and make the best possible use of the data we collect. Embedded in our mission is a

practical understanding of the importance of engaging and serving underrepresented groups in our

program. Our team includes scientists at various career stages including undergraduate, all of whom

make valuable contributions toward serving our mission of ultimately improving quality of life for



2023 MRM 7T USTE GABA.pdf
2019 HCP-A.pdf
2019 Marjanska et al JAD.pdf
2017 Marjanska_Neurosci.pdf
2004 vitC.pdf
2002 GABA Terpstra.pdf

Meet the Team

Dr. Melissa Terpstra, Ph.D.

Team Leader/Principal Investigator

B.S. Physics, Ph.D. Medical Physics

Professor, Radiology and Director of the NextGen Imaging Facility

Hometown: Milaca, MN

A statement from Dr. Terpstra:

I selected my graduate program consistent with my goal to apply my technical skills and abilities to advance human wellness. When I discovered human brain imaging technology for vitamin C, I realized that this might help us to understand oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s disease. My goal is to keep making discoveries, and not give up on this challenging disease. Our unique work stands a chance of helping patients who need a better solution.”

Nanan Nuraini

Graduate Student

Hometown: Indonesia

Mary York

Graduate Research Assistant

Hometown: Lonedell, MO

Mia Ruppel

Graduate Research Assistant

Hometown: Lake Saint Louis, MO

Reagan Bradley

Student Intern

Hometown: Park Hills, MO

Contact Us

NextGen Precision Health Institute


8 AM–5 PM Monday-Friday

Phone: (573) 882-8571