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2023 REC Scholars

The Duke/UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) Research Education Component (REC) Core is pleased to announce our 2023 REC Scholars: Rashmita Basu, PhD (East Carolina University); Michael Fernandes de Almeida, PhD (UNC-Chapel Hill); and Aaron Reuben, PhD, MEM (Duke University). REC scholars will be supported in their development as investigators in Alzheimer’s disease. REC scholars have access to training in the core research competencies necessary for success as an independent scientist; training in basic, clinical, and translational research concepts necessary for success in furthering innovative research on Alzheimer’s disease; and mentorship to advance their research independence.

Rashmita Basu, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Public Health
East Carolina University

Dr. Rashmita Basu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Dr. Basu holds a PhD in Health Economics from Washington State University. Before joining ECU, she conducted research with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Baylor Scott & White Health.

Dr. Basu’s research interests include the delivery and financing of long-term care services and support (LTSS) for older adults, especially for people with ADRD. She is also interested in evaluating payment and reimbursement policies on post-acute care use among people with ADRD. Focusing on psychosocial outcomes to capture the lived experience of people with ADRD and their caregivers is also one of her research interest areas.


Michael Fernandes de Almeida, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Pharmacology Department
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Michael Almeida is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He holds a PhD in Integrative and Comparative Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and an MS in Experimental Physiopathology from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Almeida is a former research specialist and lab manager at the Alzheimer’s disease laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he currently serves as an adjunct researcher.

Dr. Almeida’s research interests primarily revolve around aging modifications of protein quality control and their association with age-related dementias. He also explores how the synaptic machinery is affected by the aging process of the brain and investigates life experiences (i.e., seizure episodes, exposure to neurotoxins, metabolic disorders, and TBI). Currently, Dr. Almeida’s focus is on lifestyle strategies, particularly the impact of exercise and diet, in regulating proteostasis and synaptic integrity to understand how these lifestyle factors contribute to the prevention of cognitive deficits during brain aging in pre-clinical models.


Aaron Reuben, PhD, MEM
Clinical Neuropsychology & Environmental Health
NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Scholar
Psychology & Neuroscience Department
Duke University

Dr. Aaron Reuben is a US-National Institutes of Health-funded Postdoctoral Scholar in neuropsychology and environmental health at Duke University and the Medical University of South Carolina. Aaron holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Duke University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University. He is a former study coordinator for Columbia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, an environmental policy researcher at the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, a presidential policy intern at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and a communications officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Aaron investigates social determinants of healthy brain development and aging, focusing on modifiable environmental factors, including air quality, water quality, natural amenities, and diverse aspects of the built environment. His work seeks to inform urban design, environmental policy, and preventive medicine for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently focused on integrating environmental risk factors into the holistic assessment of ADRD risk across the lifespan to identify new targets for primary and secondary dementia prevention.