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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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Investigator Profile

Peka Christova Savayan, PhD

Positions
Research Physicist, Brain Sciences Center, Minneapolis VA
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
Education
MS Sofia University; PhD Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Contact Information
peka.savayan@va.gov
Research Interests
Currently I acquire and analyze multimodal brain images: structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) at the Brain Sciences Center, Minneapolis VA Health Care System; with particular attention to human brain aging and dysfunction, such as spinocerebellar ataxia, Gulf War Illness (GWI), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I have extensive experience overseeing and analyzing data from healthy participants and patients. My fMRI research resulted in a first-author paper on classification of PTSD Veterans. We proposed a new model of the neural mechanism underlying PTSD. As first author of 4 Gulf War Illness papers, I helped document association between GWI brain abnormalities and (1) inflammation-measured C-Reactive protein marker, and (2) autoimmune mechanism of GWI by lupus anticoagulant inhibitor. We also discovered that predisposition to brain disease and healthy aging is linked to the Human Leukocyte Antigen alleles, Apolipoprotein E, and body mass index. As an expert user of the Human Connectome database, I have also explored human brain heritability in healthy young adults. Evaluating neural interactions resulted in several first author papers of resting-state fMRI. My current interests are Veterans brain aging and Veterans suffering of autoimmune disorders.
Publications
Full bibliography on PubMed
VA Research Topics
Gulf War Veterans; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
MeSH Key Words
HLA-DRB1 Chains; C-Reactive Protein; Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Persian Gulf Syndrome; Gulf War; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Brain; Inflammation
Professional Networking
ResearchGate
Links
University of Minnesota profile | Brain Sciences Center profile