Logan Dumitrescu, PhD
Dr. Logan Dumitrescu is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a faculty member of the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center and the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, and the co-leader of the Computational Neurogenomics Team with Dr. Timothy Hohman. As a computational geneticist focused on the characterization of common genetic variants that influence common diseases and phenotypes, Dr. Dumitrescu also serves as a collaborator with the Vanderbilt Memory and Aging Project and an investigator in the Vanderbilt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Dr. Dumitrescu earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University and continued her training at Vanderbilt, where she earned an M.S. in Applied Statistics and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics. Dr. Dumitrescu joined the VUMC faculty in 2018.
Leveraging her training as a computational geneticist with expertise in applied statistics, Dr. Dumitrescu employs advanced statistical approaches to identify genetic drivers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related traits with the goal of uncovering novel treatment targets for AD. She has led numerous multi-institutional, large-scale genetic analyses of AD and cognitive aging leveraging biomarker, cognitive, neuroimaging, and ‘omic data sources to identify molecular drivers of disease.
Dr. Dumitrescu’s primary area of focus is the sex-specific genetic architecture of AD endophenotypes. Of the more than five million people in the United States afflicted with this disease, two-thirds are women. Women with AD have more neuropathology than men with AD, have more severe cognitive symptoms, and more severe neurodegeneration, suggesting that the disease affects male and female brains in different ways. The Dumitrescu’s central hypothesis is that certain genetic factors act in a sex-specific manner to drive the presentation and progression of AD. Using this framework, her team performs sex-aware analyses to identify the degree to which sex-specific genetic associations contribute to variance in AD endophenotypes, including cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, neuropathology, and cognitive changes. Elucidation of the sex-specific genetic architecture of AD endophenotypes will help clarify the underlying pathways that contribute to AD risk and could be a critical step toward personalized interventions for AD.
In addition, Dr. Dumitrescu is particularly interested in resilience to AD. Approximately 30% of older adults have all of the neuropathological features of AD (plaques and tangles), but never show clinical symptoms. That is, they are able to endure substantial brain injury without displaying memory or cognitive difficulties. Dr. Dumitrescu has helped developed a phenotype to define and identify these resilient individuals and is applying advanced genomic and proteomic approaches to characterize the molecular drivers of resilience. Dr. Dumitrescu’s overall research goal is to move the field toward precision interventions and provide a sex-aware analytical framework by which the genetic architecture of AD risk and resilience can be comprehensively explored.