Woo, Ellen, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

  • Acting Director, Neuropsychology Lab

  • Director, Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab

Ellen Woo, Ph.D. - UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Contact

Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA
10911 Weyburn Avenue, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7226
Tel: (310) 794-3665
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Specialty

  • Cognitive and Clinical Neuropsychology

Current Research

  • Cognitive models of executive and memory functioning
  • Neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric predictors of everyday functioning in dementia

Biography

Dr. Ellen Woo is a neuropsychologist on faculty at the UCLA Easton Center and Director of the Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory. She has expertise in both clinical and cognitive neuropsychology and bridges these fields of research. The overarching goal of the lab is to refine neurocognitive theory and examine models of executive and memory processes in very early Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to utilizing standard neuropsychological measures, the lab employs cognitive paradigms and experimental tasks to identify the particular processes that are affected in this population. Their findings indicate that impairment in complex executive skills, such as strategy use, prospective memory, temporal order memory, and source memory, represent early changes in mild cognitive impairment. Furthermore, executive skills predict changes in everyday functioning above and beyond episodic memory ability, which is more traditionally assessed in dementia. The research of the Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab indicates the importance of identifying the novel skills that impact individuals in their everyday lives.

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Education and Training

  • B.A., Psychology, California State University, Fresno, 1992-1997.
  • M.A., Experimental Psychology, California State University, Fresno, 1997-2000.
  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology (Neuropsychology), Washington State University, 2001-2006.
  • Internship, Clinical Psychology, Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, West Los Angeles VA, 2005-2006.
  • Fellowship, Clinical Neuropsychology, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, 2006-2008.

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Honors and Awards

1998UC San Diego Scripps Research Fellowship
2000Veteran’s Administration Research Award
2001Ann C. Holland Fellowship
2001-2005Laura Asbell Fellowship
2008-2011Ramzi Dalloul Scholarship

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Publications (selected peer-reviewed publications)

  • Becker BW, Hinkin CH, Woo E. Longitudinal change in cognitive function and medication adherence in HIV-infected adults. AIDS and Behavior 2011;15:1888-1894. PMID: 21437726
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Foley J, Ettenhofer ML, Cottingham ME, Gooding AL, Jang J, Kim MS, Castellon SA, Miller EN, Hinkin CH. Antiretroviral Adherence and the Nature of HIV-Associated Verbal Memory Impairment. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 2011 (In press).
  • Teng E, Becker BW, Woo E, Cummings JL, Lu PH. Subtle Deficits in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living in Subtypes of Mild Cognitive Impairment. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. 2010;26:189-197. PMID: 20798539; PMCID: PMC2948658
  • Teng E, Becker BW, Woo E, Knopman DS, Cummings JL, Lu PH. Utility of the Functional Activities Questionnaire for Distinguishing Mild Cognitive Impairment from Very Mild Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders. 2010;24:348-353. PMID: 20592580; PMCID: PMC2997338
  • Apostolova LG, Morra JH, Green AE, Hwang KS, Avedissian C, Woo E, Cummings JL, Toga AW, Jack CR, Weiner MW, Thompson PM, and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Automated 3D mapping of baseline and 12-month associations between three verbal memory measures and hippocampal atrophy in 490 ADNI subjects. Neuroimage. 2010;15:488-499. PMID: 20083211; PMCID: PMC2847034
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. Verbal Memory Impairment in Severe Closed-Head Injury: The Role of Encoding and Consolidation. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 2010;32:728-736. PMID: 20175012; PMCID:PMC2889160
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E, Greeley DR. Characterizing Multiple Memory Deficits and their Relation to Everyday Functioning in Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Neuropsychology. 2009;23:168-177. PMID: 19254090
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Hinkin, CH, Miller EN. The Item Specific Deficit Approach (ISDA) to evaluating verbal memory dysfunction: Rationale, psychometrics, and application. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 2009;31:790-802. PMID: 19142773; PMCID: PMC2879263
  • Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. Aging and Semantic Cueing During Learning and Retention of Verbal Episodic Information. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2009;16:103-119. PMID: 18923945
  • Woo E. Computerized Neuropsychological Assessments: Pros and Cons. CNS Spectrums. 2009;14:119-120. PMID: 18955954
  • Woo E. Computerized Neuropsychological Assessments. Expert Opinion. CNS Spectrums: Expert Review Supplement. 2008;13:14-17. PMID: 18955954
  • Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Fancher JB. Metamemory in Younger and Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2008;15:68-94.
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E. Effects of Age and Divided Attention on Memory Components Derived for the Category Exemplar Generation Task. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2007;14:274-300. PMID: 17453561
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E. Memory Self-Awareness and Memory Self-Monitoring following Severe Closed Head Injury. Brain Injury. 2004;18: 997-1016. PMID: 15370899
  • Sharps MJ, Martin SS, Nunes MA, Neff A, Woo E. Relational and Imageric Recall in Young and Older Adults Under Conditions of High Task Demand. Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social. 2004;22:379-393.
  • Woo E, Sharps MJ. Cognitive Aging and Physical Exercise. Educational Gerontology. 2003;29:327-337.

Chapters

  • Siders C, Cottingham ME, Woo E, Wright MJ. Medication adherence and neuropsychological function. In Steiner A, Noggle CA, Dean RS (Eds). Neuropsychology of Psychopharmacology. New York, NY, US Springer. (In Press)
  • Wright MJ, Bachman P, Woo E. Working Memory in the Service of Verbal Episodic Encoding: A Cognitive Neuropsychological Perspective. In E. S. Levin (Ed.). Working Memory: Capacity, Developments, and Improvement Techniques. Nova Publishers. 2011:pp 141-174.
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Barclay TR, Hinkin CH. The functional impact of HIV-associated neuropsychological decline. In R. Paul, N. Sactor, K. Tashima,& V. Valcour (Eds.). HIV and the Brain: New Challenges in the Modern Era. Humana Press. 2009:pp.233-248.

Abstracts

  • Izaguirre B, Ben-Ami J, McLaughlin P, Rajagopal M, He A, Apostolova LG, Ringman J, Tingus KD, Woo E. The cognitive foundations of memory strategy use in mild cognitive impairment. Poster accepted for presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI, USA, February 2013.
  • Ben-Ami J, Izaguirre B, McLaughlin P, Lin B, Maurer M, Apostolova LG, Ringman J, Tingus KD, Wright MJ, Woo E. The roles of semantic and serial clustering in everyday functioning in mild cognitive impairment. Poster accepted for presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI, USA, February 2013.
  • Eastman JA, Hwang KS, Lazaris A, Chow N, Ramirez LM, Babakchanian S, Woo E, Thompson PM, Apostolova LG. 3D mapping of semantic fluency in clinical and pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease. Poster accepted for presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI, USA, February 2013.
  • Woo E, Ben-Ami J, Lin B, Obermeit L, Romero E, Amaya S, Siders CA, Lu PH, Ringman J, Apostolova LG, Wright MJ. Encoding deficits in mild cognitive impairment predict activities of daily living. Poster presented at the 15th annual meeting of the Alzheimer Association International Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 2012.
  • Babakchanian S, Woo E, Kebets V, Green AE, Zoumalan C, Wang B, Thompson PM, Apostolova LG. Age Effects on Cortical Thickness in Cognitively Normal Elderly Individuals. Poster presented at the 64th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology Meeting, New Orleans, USA, April 2012.
  • Ben-Ami J, Yanez G, Lizarraga NN, Wright MJ, Lu PH, Apostolova LG, Ringman J, Cummings JL, Woo E. The impact of memory strategy use on activities of daily living in mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 40th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Montréal, Québec, Canada, February, 2012.
  • Wright MJ, Glenn TC, Siders CA, Woo E, McArthur DL, Hovda DA, Vespa A, Martin NA. The frontotemporal signature of TBI-induced acute cerebral metabolic crisis. Poster presented at the 40th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Montréal, Québec, Canada, February, 2012.
  • Wright MJ, Obermeit L, Siders CA, Kernan CL, Woo E, Kakavand H, Swerdloff RS, Wang C, Cantu RC, Guskiewicz KM, Kelly DF. The ratio of concussions to games predicts attention in retired professional football players. Poster presented at the 40th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Montréal, Québec, Canada, February, 2012.
  • Babakchanian S, LaRocca M, Zoumalan C, Kanani R, Wang B, Woo E, Apostolova L, Han HJ, Thompson P, Hwang K, Green A. Verbal memory associations with cortical thickness. Poster presented at the 11th annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, Paris, France, July 2011.
  • Hwang K, Apostolova L, Woo E, Thompson P, Wright MJ, LaRocca M, Green A. Semantic clustering and hippocampal atrophy in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Poster presented at the 11th annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, Paris, France, July 2011.
  • Babakchanian S, Zoumalan C, Wang B, Woo E, Apostolova L, Thompson P, Wright MJ, Green A, LaRocca M. The role of cortical thickness in memory and strategy use in older adults. Poster presented at the 11th annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, Paris, France, July 2011.
  • Medina LD, Woo E, Lu PH, Teng E, Wright MJ, Apostolova L, Hwang K, Babakchanian S, Nguyen P. Memory strategy use in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Poster presented at the 11th annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, Paris, France, July 2011.
  • Siders CS, Woo E, Teng E, Lu PH, Wright MJ. Detection of an “Alzheimer’s type” memory profile in mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 11th annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, Paris, France, July 2011.
  • Babakchanian S, Eastman JA, Hwang KS, Woo E, Green AE, Zoumalan C, Kanani R, Han HJ, Wang B, Thompson PM, Apostolova LG. Correlations between cortical gray matter thickness and Logical Memory. Poster presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, Honolulu, HI, USA, April 2011.
  • Siders CA, Martinez FW, Nguyen PT, Ho B, Cheng G, Lalezari S, Wright MJ, Woo E, Cummings JL. The role of encoding and consolidation in Alzheimer’s disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 39th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA, USA, February 2011.
  • Wright MJ, Siders CA, Woo E, McArthur DL, Alger JR, Hovda DA, Vespa P. Metabolic crisis-related brain atrophy and neuropsychological impairment following traumatic brain injury. Poster presented at the 39th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA, USA, February 2011.
  • Nzerem C, Kim MS, Martinez FW, Woo E, Foley J, Ettenhofer ML, Castellon SA, Hinkin CH, Wright MJ. Comparison of verbal fluency switching measures in HIV. Poster presented at the 39th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA, USA, February 2011.
  • LaRocca M, Yi D, Wright MJ, Teng E, Chiang JN, Lizarraga NN, Varvaryan AM, Lu PH, Woo E. Learning potential in mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 39th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA, USA, February, 2011.
  • Woo E, Lu PH, Grill J, Cummings JL. Neuropsychiatric symptom profiles in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, Honolulu, HI, USA, July 2010.
  • Woo E, Barsuglia JP, Yi D, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Wright MJ, Andersh L, Lu PH. The role of attention in story memory in mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, Honolulu, HI, USA, July 2010.
  • Woo E, Medina L, Rodriguez-Agudelo Y, Yi D, Coppola G, Cummings JL, Ringman J. Attention and working memory in familial Alzheimer’s disease. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, Honolulu, HI, USA, July 2010.
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Foley J, Ettenhofer ML, Cottingham ME, Gooding AL, Jang J, Kim MS, Castellon SA, Miller EN, Hinkin CH. HAART adherence and the expression of verbal memory impairment in HIV. Poster presented at the 21st annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, Tampa, FL, March 2010.
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Kim H, Mikael M. Verbal memory impairment in severe closed-head injury: The role of encoding and consolidation. Poster presented at the 21st annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, Tampa, FL, USA, March 2010.
  • Barsuglia JP, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe, M, Yi D, Andersh L, Wright MJ, Lu PH. Thematic cueing for story recall in mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 21st annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, Tampa, FL, USA, March 2010.
  • Medina LD, Woo E, Rodriguez Y, Cummings JL, Ringman JM. Metamemory in familial Alzheimer’s disease mutation carriers. Paper presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Atlanta, GA, USA, February 2009.
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Hinkin CH, Miller EN, Gooding AL. Rationale, psychometrics, and application of the Item-Specific Deficit Approach (ISDA). Poster presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Atlanta, GA, USA< February 2009.
  • Becker BW, Lu PH, Woo E, Kim M, Cummings JL. Longitudinal analysis of cognition in participants with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and poor insight into memory and mood. Poster presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Atlanta, GA, USA, February 2009.
  • Becker BW, Lu PH, Woo E, Kim M, Cummings JL. Insight into memory and mood functioning in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 133rd Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association, Salt Lake City, UT, USA September 2008.
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E, Greeley DR. Memory deficits, everyday functioning and mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 10th Annual Conference of Rehabilitation Psychology, Tucson, AZ, USA, April 2008.
  • Teng E, Becker BW, Woo E, Knopman DS, Cummings JL, Mendez MF, Lu PH. Utility of the Functional Activities Questionnaire for distinguishing mild cognitive impairment from mild Alzheimer’s disease. Poster presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI, USA, February 2008.
  • Teng E, Becker BW, Woo E, Yau AJ, Cummings JL, Mendez MF, Lu PH. Instrumental activities of daily living in subtypes of mild cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI, USA, February 2008.
  • Wright MJ, Woo E, Gooding AL, Castellon SA, Hinkin CH. Examination of the deficits underlying HIV-1 associated verbal memory dysfunction: Application of the Item-Specific Deficit Approach. Poster presented at the 17th Annual Rotman Research Institute Conference: Advances in Memory Research, Toronto, Canada, USA, March 2007.
  • Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Hollenback E, Benegas J, Curren A. Cognitive support for verbal episodic memory in older adults. Poster presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA, USA, February 2006.
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E, Kayne M. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of everyday memory lapses in older and younger adults. Paper presented at the 57th annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Washington, D.C., USA, November 2004.
  • Kayne M, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. Memory self-awareness and memory self-monitoring after severe closed-head injury. Poster presented at the 11th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco, CA, USA, April 2004.
  • Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. Memory prediction accuracy in younger and older adults. Poster presented at the 32nd annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Baltimore, MD, February 2004.
  • Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. Effects of age and divided attention on memory components of a conceptual task. Poster presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, February 2003.
  • Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E, Chaytor NS. Self-ordered pointing performance following severe closed head-injury. Poster presented at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco, CA, USA, April 2002.
  • Woo E, Sharps MJ. Exercise and cognitive performance in young and older adults. Poster presented at the 81st annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Maui, Hawaii, USA, May 2001.
  • Sharps MJ, Martin SS, Nunes MA, Woo E, Sears K, Corsaro V, Callison A, Robinson T. Memory and intelligence in young and older adults. Paper presented at the 78th annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Albuquerque, NM, USA, April 1998.

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