The Toffler Scholar Program funds promising early-stage researchers who demonstrate innovative thinking and problem-solving.
In 2018, The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust partnered with UCLA to provide researchers with early-stage funding and a supportive network. Since that time, the Toffler Scholar program has supported five Scholars. Scholars are chosen for their innovative thinking, research excellence, and demonstrated passion for their work.
The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust has supported a variety of research projects, including machine-intelligence based methods of estimation risk in patients with diabetes and the impact of work-family experiences on Alzheimer’s in women.
Kosuke Inoue, MD (PhD ‘21)
Keren Zhang, MD (PhD ‘22)
Ira Hoffer, MD
Eran Halperin, PhD
Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, PhD, MPH
“Thank you very much for the financial support from the Toffler Trust. It has been both an honor and very valuable for me to have support for my research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The funding from the Toffler Trust helped support a new line of research for me on lifecourse work-family experiences and later-life memory decline among women in the United States.”
- Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, PhD, MPH
Elizabeth Rose Mayeda
Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, Ph.D., MPH, is an Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Mayeda's research focuses on how to prevent or delay cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, stroke, and other health outcomes in older adults. She is especially interested in social inequalities in healthy aging. Much of her current work focuses on identifying the origins of racial/ethnic inequalities in aging. Dr. Mayeda is the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award to examine the influence of elevated blood pressure throughout adulthood on dementia incidence and the extent to which exposure to elevated blood pressure contributes to racial/ethnic inequalities in dementia. She is also the principal investigator of a National Institute of Health R01 award to examine the drivers of dementia risk in a large, diverse cohort of Asian Americans.
Dr. Mayeda earned her BA in Integrative Biology and Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, her MPH in Epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and her PhD in Epidemiology and Translational Science from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA in 2018, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF. Dr. Mayeda has been recognized as an emerging leader in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and epidemiology: in 2019, she served as a member of the Health Disparities Session of the National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias Summit and gave a National Institute Health Rising Star Invited Lecture, and in 2020, she received the Society for Epidemiologic Research Brain MacMahon Early Career Award.
Alzheimer’s dementia affects more than 37 million people worldwide. Scientists estimate that almost two-thirds of people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer's dementia are women. Much of the research on Alzheimer's disease in women focuses on the biological aspects of sex, such as sex hormones. However, social factors may also impact risk of Alzheimer’s dementia among women.
Toffler Scholar Research Focus
Funding from the Toffler Foundation helped support a new line of research for Professor Mayeda on work-family experiences and later-life memory decline among women in the United States. After controlling early life factors, she and her fellow researchers found that women who worked paid jobs between early adulthood and middle age experienced slower memory decline later in their lives. This result held true regardless of parenthood and marital statuses.
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias may require more than medical interventions. The goal of this research is to learn more about the link between work-family patterns and risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Future research should examine what factors are driving the association between paid work and slower memory decline among women in the United States. Current and future research can also lead to new policies and programs to promote better cognitive health for women later in life, ultimately decreasing their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.