Photo of Melike Kahya, PhD, at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research in Boston, MA

Melike Kahya PT, PhD

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
  • Research Fellow in Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
  • Faculty

Dr. Kahya is a licensed physical therapist and T32 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research. She completed her PhD training in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her training to date has equipped her with growing expertise and experience in physical therapy, neurophysiology, neuroimaging, and neuromodulation.

Dr. Kahya’s research focuses on:

1) The interactions between biological aging and cognitive impairment on the complex control of balance and mobility

2) The development of novel interventions to improve balance and mobility in these vulnerable populations

3 Translation of  related experimental findings into the clinical setting

As a NIA-funded T32 Harvard Translational Research in Aging Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr. Kahya’s research has investigated the cortical dynamics of standing balance as measured by electroencephalography (EEG) and whether cortical dynamics correlate with postural sway metrics during dual-task standing in older adults. These experiences have led her to design novel interventions by using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to enhance mobility via optimization of central control systems. The goal of her research is to study the underlying cortical dynamics of balance control in older adults with mild cognitive impairment in hopes of translating discoveries into novel interventions designed to preserve or even enhance cognitive-motor function within this vulnerable population.

Research Areas

Learn more about the areas of research where Dr. Kahya focuses.

A researcher at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research in Boston, MA studies MRI images of a human brain.

Brain Health

Through pioneering multidisciplinary research, the Marcus Institute is uncovering new answers to the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, delirium, and other changes to the brain.

Learn More
A research subject at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research stands on a measuring platform with a computer read-out reflected on the wall behind.

Physical Health and Function

Through the Marcus Institute’s research we are learning how older adults can maintain independence and quality of life.

Learn More

Current Projects

View Dr. Kahya's current projects. 

Understanding and Modulating Cortical Dynamics of Dual-task Standing in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

This research aims to determine whether non-invasive brain stimulation improves balance and walking. Biological aging and cognitive decline interact to disrupt the complex control of balance and mobility. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) represents a common prodromal phase of dementia. As compared to older adults who are cognitively-intact, those with MCI tend to exhibit poor “dual-task” standing balance performance; that is, the ability to maintain balance when standing and simultaneously performing an unrelated cognitive task. Moreover, those older adults who have worse dual-task standing balance are more likely to suffer falls and develop dementia. By studying the cortical control of balance in older adults with and without MCI the goal is to translate our discoveries into novel interventions designed to help all older adults preserve their cognitive-motor function into senescence.

Principal Investigator