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Spotlight: Victoria Poole, PhD

Victoria Poole, PhD

Victoria Poole, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, RUSH Medical College
Biomedical Engineer, RUSH Alzheimer's Disease Center

Victoria Poole, PhD, is a neuroimaging specialist and assistant professor in the RUSH Alzheimer’s Disease Center (RADC) with a joint appointment in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Her research uses advanced MRI to investigate the neural mechanisms contributing to motor impairments, cognitive decline and disability in older adults.

Poole completed her bachelor's at Oakwood University, a small Historically Black University in Huntsville, Alabama. She then leveraged her applied mathematics and chemistry background at Purdue University to study brain metabolism following sports concussions. After receiving her doctorate, Poole completed her postdoctoral training and a KL2 award at Harvard Medical School, where she used structural and functional neuroimaging methods to investigate fall-related risk factors in older adults.

In 2019, Poole joined RADC and began an NIA K01 award, which allows her to investigate motor impairments as early markers of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the Memory and Aging Project. At that time, she was also selected as a STAT News Wunderkind.

In 2020, Poole joined the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and led the Building Up study intervention at RUSH, a national career development program designed by the University of Pittsburgh for postdocs and junior faculty who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. She says this experience helped solidify her "passion for building collaboration and community to promote the spirit of inclusion and improve the overall representation of the diverse human experience in academia."

Fun fact: 

Poole once met the "Neils" – Neil Armstrong and Neil deGrasse Tyson – while she was an intern at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Poole especially appreciated Armstrong's graciousness and Tyson's sense of humor. She admits being starstruck by Armstrong and curious about Tyson. While discussing rapid prototyping in space, Tyson pretended to repeatedly hit the esteemed astronaut on the head with a plastic femur bone. This memory helps her to redefine what it means to enjoy work.