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AAIC 2015 award winners

Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award

Alison Goate, D.Phil.

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

Dr. Alison Goate is the Mount Sinai Professor of Neurogenetics in the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s disease, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She completed her B.Sc in biochemistry at the University of Bristol and her D.Phil. at Oxford University in the Nuffield Department of Pathology. After completing postdoctoral training in the labs of Theodore Puck, Louis Lim and John Hardy, she received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to begin her independent research program studying the genetics of dementia at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School at Imperial College London. In 1992 she joined the faculty of Washington University as an associate professor in the department of psychiatry. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her research, including the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s disease research, the Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Award and the Senior Investigator Award from the Metropolitan Life Foundation. In 2012 she was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Goate has worked on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease for 27 years. A pioneer in Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Goate reported the first genetic mutation that causes an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease. She has contributed to many gene finding teams that have successfully identified disease causing variants for AD and FTD. One of her most significant findings include identification of the presenilin 1 mutation in the Colombian kindreds now being studied in the API clinical trials. She was co-leader of the team that reported the first mutations in MAPT causing FTD. She also reported the first ALS family with a mutation in TDP43. Dr. Goate is also a leader in the examination of late onset AD genetics. She has demonstrated that LOAD families can carry PSEN mutations with reduced penetrance. Her current research is focused on understanding the genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses and has been a contributor to two of the large consortia that have published GWAS studies (GERAD, ADGC). In recent years she has pioneered the use of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers as endophenotypes for genetic studies of Alzheimer’s disease. Together with her collaborators she has expanded the use of large-scale DNA sequencing to address the role of rare genetic variation in risk for late onset AD, identifying risk variants in phospholipase D3 (PLD3), triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) and Netrin receptor UNC5C. Dr. Goate has published more than 400 papers.

Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer’s Research

Donald Price, M.D.

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

Donald Price, M.D. professor emeritus of pathology, neurology and neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was the Founding Director of the Neuropathology Division and of the NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Hopkins. Trained in Boston as a clinical neurologist, neuropathologist and neurobiologist, he has made significant contributions to the understanding of a variety of human neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and nerve injury and repair. Dr. Price is the author of more than 400 publications focusing on: neurodegenerative diseases; the development and analyses of animal models, especially genetic models; the identification of therapeutic targets; and the testing of treatment approaches in model systems.

Price’s research and training programs have been well supported for over 40 years. He has received numerous honors and awards, including: two Javits Neuroscience Investigator Merit Awards; multiple RO1s and PO1s; a Leadership in Alzheimer’s Disease Award; the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer Disease’s Research; and the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award. Moreover, for many years, Dr. Price was the PI of a T32 Training Grant and PI on an ADRC.

He has been the mentor of many young people who were supported by funds from either federal or private sources. Over decades, he has been involved in the training of medical and graduate students, house officers, postdoctoral fellows and young faculty. Prior trainees include chairpersons of departments and many prominent basic scientists and clinicians at a variety of institutions (medical schools, universities, military service and government). The majority of these individuals remain active in medicine and/or science.

Over his long career, Dr. Price has served on NIH Study Sections, SABs of foundations and industry (pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies) and on prize selection committees.

During the “Decade of the Brain”, he was ranked among the top 10 neuroscientists as authors of high impact papers in neuroscience by Science Watch.

Dr. Price is a member of The Institute of Medicine through the National Academy of Sciences and was President of the Society for Neuroscience (2000-2001).

Bengt Winblad Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer’s Research

Ian McKeith, M.D.

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

Ian McKeith graduated in medicine in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1977 and in 1981, he achieved membership of the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists, receiving the Laughlin Prize for best candidate. After a visiting fellowship at the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., in 1986, he returned to Newcastle University to complete his doctoral thesis on the clinical diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. While running a busy clinical practice that provided comprehensive mental health care services to older adults in Newcastle, he was appointed as clinical professor of old age psychiatry in 1994. Dr. McKeith was a Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Travelling Professor in 1998. He was elected fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2004, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Inaugural Senior Investigator in 2008 and the same year was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists. Between 2005 and 2015 he served as director of the UK National Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network, responsible for the development and delivery of clinical trials within the NHS across England. He is founding president of the Lewy Body Society national charity which aims to sponsor research, raise awareness and provide information about the disorder.

Dr. McKeith’s dementia research career has included clinico-pathological brain banking studies, population based epidemiology, clinical translation of biomarkers and therapeutic trials. He established the Consortium on Dementia with Lewy Bodies which has, over two decades, developed global consensus on guidelines for the clinical and pathological diagnosis and management of this common but previously under-recognized disorder. His current program is based in the NIHR funded, Newcastle Biomedical Research Unit in Lewy Body Dementia, with a thematic focus on early diagnostics and novel therapeutics.

John Hodges, M.D.

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

John Hodges is professor of cognitive neurology at the University of New South Wales based at the Neuroscience Research Australia where he co-directs the Frontotemporal Dementia Research Group.

John qualified in medicine from London University with honours in 1975 and undertook periods of psychiatric and neurological training in Southampton, Oxford and San Diego, obtaining his M.D. in 1988. From 1997 to 2007 he was the MRC Professor of Behavioural Neurology with joint appointments in the department of clinical neuroscience at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit Cambridge where he led a multidisciplinary research group. In 2007 he moved to Sydney as federational fellow and professor of cognitive neurology. Dr. Hodges has a longstanding interest in many aspects of cognition, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative disorders. His current research focuses on aspects of frontotemporal dementia. He is the author of over 450 journal articles and five books including Cognitive Assessment for Clinicians, Early Onset Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia Syndromes. His real passions remain jazz, cricket, ceramics and his family.

Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer’s Research

Li Gan, Ph.D.

Presented on Tuesday, July 21, followed by Dr. Gan's plenary presentation.

Dr. Li Gan received a B.S. from Peking University in China and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular physiology from Yale University School of Medicine. She completed postdoctoral trainings at Harvard Medical School, the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and UCSF. Dr. Gan is an associate investigator at Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and an associate professor of neurology at UCSF, where she has joint appointments in the neuroscience and biomedical science graduate programs.

Dr. Gan’s research focuses on molecular pathways in Alzheimer’s disease, including neuron-glial interaction, inflammation, and mechanisms regulating the clearance of toxic proteins that accumulate in AD brains.

Zaven Khachaturian Award

Ralph A. Nixon, M.D., Ph.D.

Presented on Wednesday, July 22.

Ralph A. Nixon is professor of psychiatry and cell biology at New York University Langone Medical Center and director of research of the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan Kline Institute.

Dr. Nixon received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, M.D. from University of Vermont, and training in medicine and psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Nixon was the first to recognize the importance of proteases and defective proteolytic systems in the early pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, which has identified new therapeutic approaches. He also discovered presenilins to be essential for lysosome function and, when mutated, to accelerate Alzheimer’s disease onset through lysosomal mechanisms. His most recent research implicates βCTF of APP as responsible for pathogenic abnormalities of neuronal endocytosis arising at the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Nixon has published over 270 scientific papers and sits on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. He served as chair of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council from 2013 to 2015 and has been a member and chair of multiple NIH review committees. He is currently a member of the Association’s National Board of Directors and the Governor’s Commission on Alzheimer’s Disease for New York State. Dr. Nixon was elected to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2004 and is a former fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Among Dr. Nixon’s awards and honors are the Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Leadership and Excellence in Alzheimer Research, Academic Career Leadership Awards from the National Institutes on Aging and the Zenith and Temple Discovery Awards from the Alzheimer’s Association

The Jerome H. Stone Philanthropy Award for Alzheimer's Research

GHR Foundation

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

Dedicated to applying entrepreneurial creativity to foster hope and opportunity where it is needed most, GHR Foundation invests in scalable solutions for complex challenges, including strengthening families around the world, promoting inter-religious action and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

GHR has committed more than $17 million over five years to scaling up important Alzheimer’s research already underway. The Foundation is targeting funding to enhance some of the largest prevention research efforts in the field including:

GHR Foundation funds innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s research and is focused on supporting the national plan of effective prevention by 2025.

MetLife Foundation

Presented on Sunday, July 19.

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Over nearly three decades, MetLife and MetLife Foundation have invested more than $32 million in Alzheimer’s research and public information programs, including over $17 million through the Awards for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s Disease program.

Now in their 29th year, the Awards provide outstanding researchers with an opportunity to freely pursue new ideas. At the heart of the program is a belief in research as the road to understanding and ultimately treating this devastating disease. MetLife Foundation established the Awards in 1986 to recognize and reward scientists demonstrating significant contributions to the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is deeply honored that this year, for the first time in the history of the Awards, MetLife Foundation is presenting them at AAIC.

The Foundation has also supported a number of other major Alzheimer’s initiatives, including the PBS documentary “The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s”; short pocket films on Alzheimer’s narrated by David Hyde-Pierce; an educational initiative with the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Centers; the film “Alzheimer’s Disease: Facing the Facts”; initiatives that include caregiving videos, Alzheimer’s toolkits and resources for the Hispanic community; and much more.

de Leon Prize in Neuroimaging

Senior Scientist – Keith A. Josephs, M.D.

Presented during the Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium on Saturday, July 18. For the paper entitled: TDP-43 Is A Key Player In The Clinical Features Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Keith Josephs completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1992 and a master’s degree in mathematics in 1993 from the University of Florida. He obtained his medical degree in 1997 from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He completed a one-year internship in medicine in 1998 followed by a three-year residency program in neurology at Mayo Clinic. Between 2001 and 2002, he studied as a Movement Disorders Fellow at Mayo Clinic and in 2002 he was awarded a Mayo Foundation Scholarship to the United Kingdom where he studied degenerative neuropathology and dementia for one year. After returning to the Mayo Clinic, he completed his second master’s degree in clinical and translational research. He was appointed professor and consultant of neurology in 2011.

Dr. Josephs has dedicated his career to the investigation of neurodegenerative diseases where he has made many seminal discoveries. He has identified and characterized five previously unrecognized neurodegenerative diseases, such as Neurofilament Inclusion Body Disease, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration with Primary Lateral Sclerosis, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy with Corticospinal Tract Degeneration, Primary Progressive Apraxia of Speech and Semantic Dementia with Corticospinal Tract Degeneration. His work combining clinical neurology, neuropathology and quantitative neuroimaging has revolutionized the classification of neurodegenerative diseases by identifying biomarkers of degenerative pathology. These works have resulted in international recognition as a world leader in the neurodegenerative field. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2015 American Federation for Medical Research’s Outstanding Investigator Award, theJudson Darland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Investigation by the American Philosophical Society, the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science by Ohio State University, the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, the Geriatric Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology and the Basic Science Research Award from the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Josephs is an elected member of the American Neurological Association and serves on the editorial board of Acta Neuropatliologica, Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, Neuroscience Discoveries, Journal of Neurology and Parkinsonism and Related Disorders.

He is principal investigator of multiple ROls from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and has almost 300 scientific publications and over 20 book chapters.

New Investigator – Douglas C. Dean III, Ph.D.

Presented during the Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium on Saturday, July 18. For the paper entitled: Brain Differences In Infants At Differential Genetic Risk For Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: A Cross-Sectional Imaging Study

Dr. Douglas Dean is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelor of Science in physics at The College of William and Mary and his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in engineering from Brown University.

Dean’s research focuses on the development and application of novel quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to measure and evaluate brain structure throughout periods of neurodevelopment and aging. In particular, he is interested in how the white matter microstructure of the brain develops across the lifespan and how these changes are related to alterations in cognition and behavior. To study such research questions, he utilizes quantitative magnetic resonance imaging methods, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and multi-component relaxometry. Such techniques provide an improved sensitivity and specificity to the biophysical properties of the brain and therefore provide an improved characterization of the underlying microstructure.

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