AAIC 2018: Plenary Speaker Bios
Lennart Mucke, M.D.
Theme: Therapeutics / Preclinical (nonhuman)
Aberrant Network Activity in Alzheimer's Disease – Preclinical Investigation to Clinical Trials
Dr. Lennart Mucke is the director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and the Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and a Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He has joint appointments in UCSF's Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences and Medical Scientist (M.D./Ph.D.) Graduate Training Programs.
Dr. Mucke's research focuses on processes that result in memory loss and other major neurological deficits, with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. He has generated informative experimental models of these conditions and used them to identify novel strategies to prevent neurological decline, along with creating a leading program for research and training in disease-focused neuroscience.
His lab is particularly curious about the functions and pathogenic roles of amyloid proteins, tau and apolipoprotein (apo) E in AD and of α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies. The lab uses genetically engineered mouse models, tissue cultures and stem cell approaches to study potential disease-causing factors and pathways at the molecular, cellular, network and behavioral level. These experimental models are also used to develop and evaluate novel treatment strategies.
Miia Kivipelto, Ph.D.
Theme: Therapeutics / Clinical
Multidomain Intervention to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
Miia Kivipelto, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor in Clinical Geriatrics at Karolinska Institutet, Center for Alzheimer Research and senior geriatrician and Managing Director & Director for Research & Development of Theme Aging at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Part of her Nordic Brain Network research team (around 45 researchers) is located at University of Eastern Finland where she has part time position as Professor of Neurogeriatrics. She was recently pointed as Visiting Professor in Neuroepidemiology, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK.
Dr. Kivipelto's translational research focuses on the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Through epidemiological studies, Prof. Kivipelto has identified various lifestyle and vascular risk factors for dementia and interactions with genetic factors. She has developed the first tool for predicting dementia risk based on midlife risk profiles. This is still one of the few validated risk scores in the field, is in clinical use (including clinical trials), and now available as a mobile app. These findings paved the way to the current prevention trials.
Professor Kivipelto is the PI of the landmark FINGER Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) (Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability),which is so far the only large, long-term randomized controlled trials (RCT) to show significant benefits on cognition and functional level among at-risk persons from general population. This pragmatic model is now tested and adapted worldwide. Based on these collaborations, Professor Kivipelto has recently launched the World Wide FINGERS Initiative, a unique interdisciplinary network to share experiences, harmonise data, and plan joint international initiatives for the prevention of cognitive impairment/dementia.
Professor Kivipelto has also contributed to understanding biological mechanisms underlying AD, with studies in humans and animal models, as well as characterisation of biomarkers that can aid early diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring in AD. She is actively involved in phase I-III drug trials, and is co-leader of the EPAD Initiative (European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia), a European project aiming to establish readiness cohorts and develop a pan-European platform to deliver an adaptive trial for the secondary prevention of AD.
She has received numerous of prestigious awards, including the Neuroscientist of the Year (Finland, 2018), MetLife Foundation Major Award for Medical Research (2016), Swedish Alzheimer Research Foundation Major Award (2016), Waijlit and Eric Forsgren's award for dementia researcher (2015), Best PI at KI award (2014) and AXA Research Award (2014), Karolinska Institutet Skandia's Lennart Levi prize (2013), Junior Chamber International Award for Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (2011), Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact (2009).
Denise Park, Ph.D.
Theme: Diagnosis and Prognosis / Clinical (neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology)
The Aging Brain and the Risk for Alzheimer's Disease
Dr. Denise Park is Distinguished University Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she founded the Center for Vital Longevity. She was previously Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia, the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois. Her research career has been focused on the study of normal aging. She directs the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study, which uses brain biomarkers, including measures of amyloid and tau, to develop neural signatures that identify future trajectories of cognitive function. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Sciences (APS). She received the Distinguished Research Contribution Award (2002) and the Distinguished Mentorship Award (2015) from the Division of Adult Development of Aging of the APA. She was elected President of this Division in 1991 and also chaired the Board of Scientific Affairs of the APA. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for the APS. She holds a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging and has received continuous support of her research from the NIA for over 30 years.
Richard Hodes, M.D.
Theme: Public Health and Psychosocial / Health Economics and Policy
The Winds of Change: Transformative Data Resources for Alzheimer's Research
Richard J. Hodes, M.D., is the Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Hodes, a leading researcher in the field of immunology, was named to head the NIA in 1993.
The NIA leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting research on the biological, clinical, behavioral and social aspects of aging. Dr. Hodes has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse, and balanced research program. This has led to new and innovative ways to conduct research, share data and translate findings into practice. Dr. Hodes also directs the federal effort to find effective ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer's disease, as the NIA is the lead NIH institute for this mission. Cutting edge research conducted and supported by the NIA, often in collaboration across institutes at the NIH, has helped to revolutionize the way we think about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Studies in genetics, basic mechanisms, imaging and biomarkers have spurred the development of potential therapies aimed at a variety of targets and the testing of interventions at the earliest signs of disease.
Dr. Hodes' research laboratory in the National Cancer Institute focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the immune response.
Henry Brodaty, M.D.
Theme: Public Health and Psychosocial / Psychosocial Factors and Environmental Design
Psychosocial Research in Dementia: Past, Present and Future
Professor Henry Brodaty is the co-director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales. He is also a professor of psychogeriatrics at the University of New South Wales and director of the Aged Care Psychiatry and head of the Memory Disorders Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
He has served on several New South Wales and Commonwealth committees related to aging and dementia. He has been a member of the reference group for the NSW Action Plan for Dementia since its inception and currently serves on the Commonwealth Dementia Task Force for the Minister for Ageing. He is the immediate past chairman of Alzheimer's Disease International, representing 75 national Alzheimer Associations and is past president of Alzheimer's Australia and Alzheimer's Australia (NSW).
Professor Brodaty's research interests lie in the fields of dementia caregivers, drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), nursing homes and epidemiology of cognitive health and decline.
Robert Tycko, Ph.D.
Theme: Basic and Translational Science
Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer's Research: Molecular Structures and Structural Variations in Amyloid-β Fibrils
Dr. Robert Tycko is a Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics, a basic research department in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. He received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1980 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. After postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1986, where he worked on the development of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) methods and their applications in materials science and condensed matter physics. In 1994, Dr. Tycko moved to the NIH to establish a research program in biomolecular ssNMR.
Dr. Tycko's laboratory began applying ssNMR to amyloid-β (Aβ) assemblies in 1998. Based on their ssNMR data, his laboratory developed the first detailed, experimentally-based molecular structural models for Aβ fibrils, demonstrated that Aβ fibrils exhibit self-propagating, molecular-level polymorphisms, and characterized other physical properties of Aβ fibrils. Recent work has focused on the molecular structures of Aβ fibrils that develop in human brain tissue, and on possible correlations between variations in these structures and variations in characteristics of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Tycko received the American Physical Society's Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy in 2005 and the Christian B. Anfinsen Award of the Protein Society in 2014. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently President of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance.
Dr. Tycko's award is based on the paper “Structural variation in amyloid-β fibrils from Alzheimer's disease clinical subtypes” (Nature 2017, vol. 541, pp. 217-221).
Guojun Bu, Ph.D.
Theme: Diagnosis and Prognosis / Neuropathology
Pathobiology of ApoE in Alzheimer's Disease
Guojun Bu is the Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and an Associate Director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic in 2010, he was a Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Bu received his B.S. degree in biology from Beijing Normal University and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech. Dr. Bu is a leader in the field of apolipoprotein E (apoE) biology and apoE receptors, which play critical roles in brain lipid transport, synaptic function, injury repair, and Aβ metabolism in Alzheimer's disease. His laboratory is also exploring the pathogenic mechanisms of several other Alzheimer risk genes including TREM2 and ABCA7. Dr. Bu has received several honors and awards including the Zenith Fellows Award from the Alzheimer's Association, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and the MetLife Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease. He serves as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.
Michal Schwartz, Ph.D.
Theme: Basic and Translational Science / Development of New Models and Analysis Methods
Communication Between the Immune System and the Brain
Michal Schwartz is a professor of Neuroimmunology, incumbent of The Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair in Neuroimmunology, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
Schwartz's research is focused on the role of innate and adaptive immunity in central nervous system (CNS) plasticity in health and disease, and on developing methodologies
to manipulate the immune system for the benefit of the CNS under acute injuries, chronic neurodegenerative conditions, mental dysfunction and brain aging. Her team's multidisciplinary research program encompasses molecular and cellular neuroscience and immunology, as well as functional studies in animal experimental models.
Schwartz was the world pioneer in demonstrating that blood macrophages and T cells are needed for spinal cord repair. She pioneered the concept of “protective autoimmunity” and its role in the preserving lifelong brain plasticity, including cognitive and mental functions, and neurogenesis from adult neural stem/progenitor cells, in the healthy brain and in disease. Her group identified specific sites within the brain's territory that serve as
immunological interfaces between the brain and the immune system, and demonstrated a functional role for this neuroimmunological crosstalk for supporting immune surveillance of the healthy brain, and recruitment of immune cells which participate in CNS repair. Recent works of Schwartz's group describe dysregulation of this neuroimmunological crosstalk in brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases, with critical implications to age and
disease-associated brain's functional decline. A major current focus of Schwartz's group is in developing novel approaches for harnessing the immune system to fight brain pathologies.
Gil Rabinovici, M.D.
Theme: Diagnosis and Prognosis / Neuroimaging
Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease: What Have We Learned From Neuroimaging?
Dr. Rabinovici is the Edward Fein and Peal Landrith Professor of Memory & Aging at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). His work investigates how structural, functional and molecular brain imaging techniques can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy in dementia and to study the biology of neurodegenerative diseases, with the goal of accelerating treatment development. Dr. Rabinovici is principal investigator of a cohort study of early-onset Alzheimer's disease and of Imaging Dementia: Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS), a national study sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assess the clinical utility of amyloid PET in ~18,500 Medicare beneficiaries. His research is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIA and NINDS), Alzheimer's Association, American College of Radiology, John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation, Tau Consortium, Association for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, and Michael J. Fox Foundation. Awards recognizing his work include the 2015 Christopher Clark Award for Advancement of the Field of Amyloid Imaging, the 2012 American Academy of Neurology Research Award in Geriatric Neurology and the 2010 Best Paper in Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging: New Investigator Award from the Alzheimer's Association.
Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D.
Theme: Public Health & Psychosocial Factors
AD Biomarker Epidemiology in the Aging Population: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes
Dr. Vemuri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic Rochester and an imaging researcher in Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. She has a broad background in engineering and clinical neuroscience, with specific training and expertise in imaging of neurodegenerative disorders. Her areas of research are 1.) investigating mechanisms through which protective and risk factors influence AD imaging biomarkers and outcomes and 2.) developing and validating imaging-based biomarkers to improve the understanding and management of Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease.
Dr. Vemuri is a recipient of the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence grant from the NIA, Alzheimer's Association New Investigator grant award, and was awarded the AFAR-GE healthcare junior investigator award for excellence in aging and imaging research. Her work is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIA and NINDS).