Faculty and Staff Directory » Auriel Willette

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Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Food Science and Human Nutrition

Office: 224D MacKay, Ames, IA 50011-1078
Phone number: +1 (515) 2943110
Email: awillett@iastate.edu

View resume/vita


Research interests

  • Obesity, Metabolic Dysfunction, and Brain Outcomes using MRI, EEG, and PET
  • Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
  • Neurological Disorders (Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Biomedical Data Mining

Selected Publications

Pappas C, Wang Q, Klinedinst BS, Lee LY, Le S, Larsen B, Pollpeter A, Li T, Lutz MW, Gottschalk WK, Swerdlow RH, Nho K, Willette AA. APOE4 independent associations of TOMM40 rs2075650 genotype on hippocampal volume. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, in press. 

Le ST, Klinedinst SB, Pappas C, Larsen B, Wang Q, Wang Y, Yu S, Wang L, Allenspach K, Mochel JP, Bennett D, Willette AA. Age, diet, and genetic AD risk factors that track fluid intelligence changes over 6-10 years. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, in press.

Gold M, Zetterberg H, Greenberg B, Gonzalez H, Bertram L, Gauthier S, Robillard, Willette AA … Mielke MM. Alzheimer’s Disease Research Enterprise in the Era of COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2020; 16(4), 587-588.

McLimans KE, Collazo-Martinez A, Mochel JP, Allenspach K, Willette AA. Serum Vitamin B12, and MTRR and Cubilin SNPs Predict Neural Outcomes across the AD Spectrum. European Journal of Nutrition. 2020; 124(2), 135-145.

Pappas C, Wang Q, Klinedinst BS, Le S, Larsen B, McLimans K, Lockhart SN, Allenspach K, Mochel JP, Willette AA. CSF glucose tracks regional tau accumulation in a Braak stage specific manner via regional amyloid deposition, AD parental family history, and gender among cognitively impaired aged adults. Alzheimer’s & Dementia (NY). 2020; 6(1):e12080.

Klinedinst BS†, Pappas C†, Le S, Yu S, Wang Q, Wang L, Allenspach-Jorn K, Mochel JP, Willette AA. Aging-related Changes in Fluid Intelligence, Muscle and Adipose Mass, and Sex-Specific Immunologic Mediation: A Longitudinal UK Biobank Study. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2019; 82: 396-405. † = Shared first authorship.

McLimans KE†, Clark BE†, Plagman A, Pappas C, Klinedinst B, Anatharam V; Kanthasamy A; Willette AA. Is CSF SOD1 a Biomarker of Tau but not Amyloid Induced Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease? Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. 2019; 31(8), 572-578. † = Shared first authorship.
Note: This paper was fast-tracked as an outstanding ‘News and Views’ article.

Wolf T, Tsenkova V, Ryff C, Davidson R, Willette AA. Metabolic Dysfunction and Task-Induced Emotional Stress Reactivity: Neural and Cognitive Correlates in Middle-Aged Adults. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2018; 80(5), 452-459.

Willette AA, Webb JL, Lutz MW, Bendlin BB, Wennberg AM, Oh JM, Roses A, Koscik RL, Hermann BP, Dowling NM, Asthana S, Johnson SC, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Family history modifies TOMM40 ‘523 memory effects in preclinical and AD cohorts. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2017; 13(11), 1217-1225.

Senthilarumugamveiluk M, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Willette AA, Ganapathysubramanian B, Nilakanta S. Big Data and Parkinson's disease: Exploration, Analyses and Data Challenges. 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2017.
Note: The accompanying journal has an Impact Factor of 13.870, ranked 47 of 4472 in bioinformatics.

Swanson A†, Willette AA†, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Neuronal Pentraxin 2 predicts medial temporal atrophy and memory decline across the Alzheimer's disease spectrum. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2016; 58, 201-208. † = Shared first authorship.

Willette AA, Modanlo N, Kapogiannis D, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Insulin resistance predicts medial temporal hypermetabolism in MCI conversion to Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes. 2015; 64(6), 1933-40.

Willette AA, Bendlin BB, Birdsill AC, Johnson SC, Christian BT, La Rue A, Hermann BP, Koscik RL, Jonaitis EM, Sager MA, Asthana S. Insulin resistance predicts lower cerebral glucose utilization in late middle-age. JAMA Neurology. 2015; 72(9), 1013-20.
Note: This was the 4th most cited article in JAMA Neurology between 2015-2018.

Willette AA, Johnson SC, Birdsill A, Sager M, Christian B, Baker L, Craft S, Oh J, Statz E, Hermann B, Jonaitis E, Koscik R, La Rue A, Asthana S, Bendlin B. Insulin resistance predicts brain amyloid deposition in late middle-aged adults. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2015; 11(5), 504-510.e1.

Willette AA, Kapogiannis D. Does the brain shrink as the waist expands? Ageing Research Reviews. 2015; 20, 86-97.

Willette AA, Xu G, Johnson SC, Birdsill AC, Jonaitis EM, Sager MA, Hermann BP, La Rue A, Asthana S, Bendlin BB. Insulin resistance, brain atrophy, and cognitive performance in late middle-aged adults. Diabetes Care. 2013; 36(2), 443-449.

Willette AA, Bendlin BB, Colman RJ, Kastman EK, Field AS, Alexander AL, Sridharan A, Allison DB, Anderson R, Voytko ML, Kemnitz JW, Weindruch RH, Johnson SC. Calorie restriction reduces the influence of glucoregulatory dysfunction on regional brain volume in aged rhesus monkeys. Diabetes. 2012; 61(5), 1036-1042.

Willette AA, Coe CL, Colman RJ, Bendlin BB, Kastman EK, McLaren DG, Field AS, Alexander AL, Allison DB, Weindruch RH, Johnson SC. Calorie restriction reduces psychological stress reactivity and its association with brain volume and microstructure in aged rhesus monkeys. 2012. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012; 37(7), 903-916.

Kastman EK†, Willette AA†, Coe CL, Bendlin BB, Kostmatka KJ, McLaren DG, Xu G, Canu E, Field AS, Alexander AL, Voytko ML, Beasley TM, Colman RJ, Weindruch R, Johnson SC. A calorie-restricted diet decreases brain iron accumulation and preserves motor performance in old rhesus monkeys. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010; 30 (23), 7940-7947.
† = Shared first authorship.

Manuscripts in Preparation/Review

Willette AA, Pappas C, Wang Q, Klinedinst BS, Cerna J, Collazo-Martinez A, Allenspach K, JP Mochel, Dantzer R. Neuroinflammation, Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease: Insights from the Kynurenine Pathway. See following permalink for MedRxiv pre-print: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.11.20172940v1. In preparation.

Antibody response to infectious diseases and other factors accurately predict COVID-19 infection and severity risk 10-14 years later: a retrospective UK Biobank cohort study. Willette AA; Willette SA; Wang Q; Pappas C; Klinedinst BS; Le S; Larsen B; Pollpeter A; Brenner N; Waterboer T. See following permalink for MedRxiv pre-print: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.09.20127092v2. In revision, Nature: Scientific Reports.

Le ST, Cerna J, Klinedinst BS, Frizell B, Willette AA. Mitochondrial Bioenergetics and Alzheimer’s Disease: Pyruvate Kinase and Associations with Neural and Cognitive Outcomes. Neurobiology of Aging, in revision.

Vlasova R†, Wang Q†, Willette AA, Styner MD, Lubach GR, Kling PJ, Rao RB, Coe CL. A history of iron deficiency affects brain development of infant monkeys even after treatment of anemia. In review.
†=Shared first authorship.

Pollpeter A, Larsen B, Pappas C, Wang Q, Meier NF, Le S, Willette AA. Associations of TOMM40 rs2075650 Genotype on Cognitive Performance, in preparation.

Larsen BT, Klinedinst BS, Pappas C, Wolf T, Le ST, Meier NF, Lim YL, Frizell B, Lanningham-Foster L, Willette AA. Pick your poison carefully: how type and amount of alcohol consumption and serum biomarkers account for body fat - a UK Biobank study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in preparation.

Le ST; Pappas C; Wang Q; Klinedinst BS; Larsen B; Pollpeter A; Li T; Lee LY; Lutz MW; Gottschalk; Swerdlow RH; Nho K; Willette AA. Effects of APOE4 and TOMM40 ‘650 polymorphisms with neural network connectivity, in preparation.

Klinedinst BS, Larsen B, Wolf TD, Obhi HK, McLimans KE, Cerna J, Lim Y, Guinness AA, Villines J, Kanthasamy AG, Anantharam V, Willette AA. Insulin Resistance and Longitudinal Variation in Brain Atrophy and CSF biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease. In preparation.

Pappas CA, Mochel J, Allenspach-Jorn K, Kanthasamy A, Anantharam V, Wang L, Willette AA. Fasting glucose, genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and neural myelination patterns. In preparation.

Rokad D, Harischandra DS, Lawana V, Sarkar S, Luo D, Jin H, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Willette AA, Kanthasamy AG. Manganese Exposure Enhances the Release of Misfolded α-Synuclein via Exosomes by Impairing Endosomal Trafficking Machinery. In preparation.

McLimans KE, Luo D, Izbicki P, Stegemoller E, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Willette AA. Ameliorative effects of IGF-1 on dopamine uptake are dysregulated in Parkinson’s disease and rodent models. In preparation.

Published works