About Adam J Woods, Ph.D.
Dr. Woods is Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory (CAM) in the McKnight Brain Institute at UF. Dr. Woods is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at UF, with a joint appointment to Neuroscience. Dr. Woods completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at George Washington University. His undergraduate training in Psychology was completed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has expertise in non-invasive brain stimulation, neuroimaging, and cognitive training for working memory and speed of processing/attention. He is a national leader in the field of neuromodulation, leading the largest transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) and near infrared photobiomodulation trials to date, multiple cognitive training trials, publishing the first comprehensive textbook in the field of tES, and multiple field standards papers. Dr. Woods’ research specifically focuses on discovery and application of novel non-invasive interventions for enhancing cognitive function in adults with and without neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Woods has expertise in multi-disciplinary cognitive neuroscience methodologies (MRI/fMRI, electrophysiology, non-invasive brain stimulation), extensive experience with aging-related cognitive disorders, cognitive training applications, and past research with neurological diseases. Over the past five years, Dr. Woods has established one of the largest and most well-funded neuromodulation laboratories in the United States. He is PI of the first and largest phase III RCT for tES using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and cognitive training, the ACT study (R01AG054077, n=360), the largest phase II near infrared photobiomodulation trial (R01AG064587, n=168), one of the largest phase II tES trials, the Stimulated Brain Study (K01AG054077, n=80), as well as an R21 and U01 investigating the effects of neuromodulation on the aging brain (R21MH112206, U01AG062368). He also serves as co-I on multiple other NIH funded grants focused on neuromodulation of cognitive aging, chronic pain, and mobility using transcranial electrical stimulation (RF1MH114290, R37AG033906, R21AG053736). Each of these studies attempts to enhance cognitive and brain function in older adults and prevent dementia through neuromodulation.
Cognitive Aging and Dementia: Cognitive function declines as we age. As our thinking and memory skills decline, the rate of functional dependence, mortality, and acute illness requiring hospitalization increases. Increased rates of cognitive and functional decline associated with dementia represent a growing concern in light of our rapidly aging population. There are currently a paucity of effective treatments for preventing dementia or recovering age-related cognitive decline. A variety of methods have been proposed to counteract cognitive aging and/or slow onset of dementia (e.g., cognitive training). Unfortunately, these techniques have limited degrees of success and transfer to everyday life. My work demonstrates that combining treatments like cognitive training with non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS, tACS) facilitates neural plastic response, improves cognitive abilities (specifically working memory, attention, and speed of processing), and leads to long-term improvement. In combination with modern multimodal neuroimaging and electrophysiology recording, this work not only identifies mechanisms underlying improvement, but also provides information important for further optimizing treatment effectiveness. This work has recently led to funding of the largest and only Phase III randomized clinical trial for tDCS as an adjunctive method with cognitive training to combat cognitive aging and slow dementia onset. In addition, my lab is funded to investigate mobility enhancement in older adults, treat chronic knee osteoarthritic pain, and enhance working memory using a variety of non-invasive electrical brain stimulation methods in Phase II trials. At present, my lab maintains over 7 million dollars in NIH funding to investigate non-invasive brain stimulation-related interventions. In addition, my lab also maintains funding to investigate a variety of non-pharmacological compounds in a Phase II pilot clinical trials to investigate novel methods for improving brain metabolism, neuroplasticity, and cognitive function. This work capitalizes on novel methods for imaging mitochondrial function and cerebral energy metabolism in the brain, as well as state of the art diffusion-weighted and functional imaging methods. Collectively, my work aims to slow or reverse the effects of cognitive aging and slow the onset of dementia using non-invasive and minimally invasive approaches. In addition, the extension of my work to chronic pain and mobility decline in older adults represents an exciting new arm of my intervention work.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Clinical Translational Neuroscience
- Cognitive Aging
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- MR imaging
- Neuroimaging Methods
- Non-invasive Brain Stimulation
- Speed of Processing
- Working Memory