The Alzheimer's Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) shapes the philosophical direction of the Alzheimer's Association research program and ensures the integrity of the peer-review process for awarding grants. Comprising leaders from the Alzheimer's and dementia research community, MSAC members are involved in identifying new developments in research that merit further study, conducting second round reviews in grant selection, and ensuring the scientific accuracy of the Association's advocacy and public education materials.
Chair, William E. Klunk, M.D., Ph.D.
- University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry, and Co-Director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
- Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pa., Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuropharmacology
A distinguished expert on early detection of Alzheimer's, Dr. Klunk is known for work imaging the pathology of Alzheimer's. He was a member of the research team that developed the groundbreaking Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), the first radiotracer capable of showing beta-amyloid in the living brain during a PET scan. He has been honored with a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging, the 2009 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Award for research in Alzheimer's disease with colleague Chester A. Mathis, Ph.D., the 2008 Potamkin Prize and the 2004 MetLife Foundation Award. Dr. Klunk has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.
Vice Chair David Knopman, M.D.
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., Department of Neurology
Dr. Knopman earned his M.D. degree from the University of Minnesota (UM) Medical School, where he also completed his neurology residency. This was followed by a fellowship in behavioral neurology at Hennepin County Medical Center and UM. He was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota from 1980 to 2000. Dr. Knopman joined the Department of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, in 2000, where he is currently professor of neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, a consultant in Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, and a co-investigator in the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. His research and clinical interests have been in dementing illnesses. He is an author on more than 300 articles on various topics in dementia. Dr. Knopman is deputy editor of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). He was the senior author on the 2001 AAN Practice Parameter on the Diagnosis of Dementia and was co-chair of the National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer’s Association workgroup that drafted the revised criteria for Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Dr. Knopman joined the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council in 2012.
Suzanne Craft, Ph.D.
- Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, Roena B. Kulynych Center for Memory & Cognition Research, Research Director, Sticht Center on Aging
Dr. Craft is professor of Internal Medicine, Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine; Research Director of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging; and Co-director of the Roena B. Kulynych Center for Memory and Cognition Research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Craft is a neuropsychologist with specialization in neuroendocrinology and neuroscience. Her research has focused on the role of neuroendocrine abnormalities in the development and expression of Alzheimer’s disease. This original line of work has garnered international attention, and Dr. Craft is recognized as a leading authority on the role of insulin metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease and aging. Her research recently has been expanded to examine the role of insulin in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s. She received a $7.9 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant in 2011 to lead a multi-center study investigating the use of intranasal insulin in individuals with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s dementia. It was one of two projects selected by the NIH as part of the National Alzheimer’s Plan, a federal initiative to find an effective way to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.
Laura Gitlin, Ph.D.
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Professor, Department of Community-Public Health, School of Nursing; Director, Center for Innovative Care in Aging
Laura Gitlin, Ph.D., is a professor at The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. She is an applied research sociologist, is internationally recognized in the areas of nonpharmacologic approaches in dementia care, family caregiving, functional disability, and aging in place.
Dr. Gitlin attended Temple University for her Bachelor’s degree and completed both her Master’s degree and Doctorate degree in Sociology at Purdue University.
Dr. Gitlin is a well-funded researcher, having received continuous research and training grants from both federal agencies and private foundations, including the Alzheimer’s Association and National Institutes of Health for over 24 years. She has published numerous articles in peer-review scientific publications for international audiences. Her research includes understanding adaptive processes in old age—particularly with the use of assistive devices and environmental modifications—psycho-social-environmental approaches to helping older people with physical frailty age in place, nonpharmacologic approaches to enhancing quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers, mental health disparities in older African-Americans and depression treatments, and translating and implementing evidence-based interventions for family caregivers, individuals with dementia, and older adults with functional difficulties.
Dr. Gitlin holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry at JHU. She leads the Center for Innovative Care in Aging, which examines issues related to developing and testing health-promoting interventions for older adults and their families and implementation science. In addition, Dr. Gitlin is a member of numerous professional organizations and recently was awarded an honorary fellowship by the American Academy of Nursing.
Todd E. Golde, Ph.D., M.D.
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., Director of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, Professor of Neuroscience
Bruce T. Lamb, Ph.D.
- Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, Director, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute
Dr. Lamb received his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania prior to a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. In 1996, Dr. Lamb was recruited to Case Western Reserve University, where he rose from Assistant to Associate Professor. He joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2005. In 2015, Dr. Lamb joined the Indiana
University School of Medicine as Director of the Stark Neurosciences Research
Institute. Dr. Lamb’s laboratory works on the basic science of Alzheimer’s disease, with a focus on: 1) genetic modifiers identified from mouse and human studies, 2) microglia and neuronal-microglial communication in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s pathologies; and 3) traumatic brain injury as an environmental modifier for the development of Alzheimer’s pathologies. In addition, Dr. Lamb is actively involved in advocacy for increased research funding for the disease.
Cynthia Lemere, Ph.D.
- Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Massachusetts, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Center for Neurologic Diseases
Dr. Lemere received her B.A. degree in psychology and education from Mount Holyoke College, her M.S.degree in neurobiology from the State University of New York at Albany, and her Ph.D. in pathology from Boston University School of Medicine. She began working as a research technician at the Center for Neurologic Diseases (CND) in the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital 18 years ago. A year later, she began pursuing her Ph.D. and conducted research on the temporal pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome and APP transgenic mice in the laboratory of Dr. Dennis Selkoe. Once she completed her degree, she remained at the CND as a post-doctoral fellow and instructor, studying human brain samples from patients with presenilin 1 mutations from a large family in Medellin, Colombia. Over the past 7-8 years, much of her work has focused on developing a safe and effective amyloid-beta vaccine for the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Her studies rely on examination of the humoral and cellular immune response as well as pathological and cognitive changes as the consequence of such vaccines in animal models. In addition, Dr. Lemere's lab studies the role of complement protein C3 in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis and amyloid-beta clearance in the human brain and in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Lastly, in collaboration with colleagues at Peking Union Medical College, her lab is investigating the effects of L-NBP, a synthetic compound based upon an extract from Chinese celery seed, on memory and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.
Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D.
- Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain
Eliezer Masliah, M.D.
- UC San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, Calif., Professor of Neuroscience and Pathology, Head of the Experimental Neuropathology Laboratory
A distinguished clinical neuropathologist, Dr. Masliah, heads the Experimental Neuropathy Laboratory at the UCSD School of Medicine, where his research focuses on synaptic damage in neurodegenerative disorders and the development of new treatments, including novel gene therapies. His work has been essential to the discovery of overlap between Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's, as well as the development of transgenic animal models. Under his guidance, the Experimental Neuropathology Laboratory has made key discoveries associated with the role of a-synuclein in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration. In addition to authoring more than 250 scientific papers, Dr. Masliah serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Neuropathology, Journal of Experimental Neurology and Journal of Laboratory Investigation, and has been a member of the Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee at the National Institutes on Aging since 1996.
Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D.
- University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department Professor of Human Genomics and Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics
A founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and a board-certified Ph.D. medical geneticist, Dr. Pericak-Vance is a global leader in the genetics of common diseases. She excels at the integration of genomic and statistical technologies and their application to diseases of public health importance in general, and to neurologic diseases in particular. Her more than 500 peer-reviewed papers demonstrate outstanding productivity and establish important milestones in diseases. She has a particular interest in neurogenetic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis, and has several active studies in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and Asperger disorder. Her research also is breaking ground in the genetics of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Dr. Pericak-Vance pioneered the use of novel disease gene mapping, leading to the identification of apolipoprotein E (APOE) as the major susceptibility gene for Alzheimer disease. Her greatest contribution has been her leadership in the application of methodological innovations capitalizing on the Human Genome Project that affect not only the neurological sciences, but all of medicine.
Mary Sano, Ph.D.
- Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.
Gerard D. Schellenberg, Ph.D.
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., Perelman School of Medicine, Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Kristine Yaffe, M.D.
- University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF, Vice Chair of Clinical and Translational Research in the Department of Psychiatry, Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair in Psychiatry
Dr. Yaffe is dually trained in neurology and psychiatry and completed postdoctoral training in epidemiology and geriatric psychiatry, all at UCSF. Dr. Yaffe serves as the director of the UCSF Dementia Epidemiology Research Group, which conducts research relating to cognitive function and dementia in aging populations throughout the United States. A primary focus of the group is determining predictors and outcomes of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Dr. Yaffe is also the principal investigator (PI) of the data core for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UCSF. In addition to her positions at UCSF, Dr. Yaffe is the chief of geriatric psychiatry and the director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. In addition to her research and clinical work, Dr. Yaffe has greatly contributed to training fellows and faculty in clinical research, career development and mentorship. Dr. Yaffe currently holds several National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and foundation grants. The PI’s grants examine topics including how depressive symptoms among elderly women are associated with cognitive and functional decline over the long term; cognitive decline among patients with chronic renal insufficiency; and how sleep dysfunction is associated with cognitive impairment; and predictors and outcomes of cognitive trajectories in the oldest old. Dr. Yaffe’s research has been published in more than 200 peer-reviewed research articles in such prestigious journals at JAMA, BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of General Psychiatry and Annals of Neurology.
Hui Zheng, Ph.D.
- Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, Director, Huffington Center on Aging; Professor, Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Neuroscience.
Dr. Zheng is a leading authority on amyloid precursor protein (APP) and the presenilins, two proteins involved in the APP processing pathway that produces the Alzheimer's-linked fragment beta-amyloid. Working with molecular and cellular techniques and genetically engineered mice, she has conducted field-leading explorations of the mechanisms through which rare genetic changes in APP and the presenilins cause Alzheimer's. Her work has advanced understanding of how Alzheimer's disrupts cell-to-cell signaling and contributed critical insights in the effort to develop new therapies. She has served on multiple professional advisory bodies, including the Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee and the Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration (CMND) Study Section at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). A widely published author, she holds associate editor positions at Molecular Neurodegeneration and Neuroscience Letters.
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Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Carrillo is a senior member of the Alzheimer's Association science staff and an Alzheimer's Association spokesperson on a wide range of medical and scientific issues. She leads the Alzheimer's Association International Research Grant Program, the world's flagship nonprofit initiative to advance Alzheimer's science. Since 1982, the Association has committed $335 million to more than 2,250 best-of-field investigators worldwide. She also leads the Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable, a consortium of scientists from the academic world, industry and international public agencies collaborating to overcome universal barriers to progress in developing Alzheimer's treatments.
Dr. Carrillo's core areas of expertise include the emerging effort to identify biomarkers, measurable indicators of underlying physical changes linked to Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, through brain imaging, spinal fluid protein analysis and other strategies. She coordinates Alzheimer's Association leadership of the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (WW-ADNI), an international effort to expand the federally funded Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) to include data generated by related studies around the globe. She also spearheads Association involvement in the Biomarkers Consortium, a private-public partnership to accelerate biomarker development, and the Alzheimer's Association Quality Control Program for CSF Biomarkers, an effort to facilitate cross-institutional consistency in analyzing Alzheimer's-related spinal fluid proteins. In addition, she leads the Neuroimaging Professional Interest Area of the Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART), the only professional society designed exclusively for individuals dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia science.
Dr. Carrillo is among the internationally recognized authors of new Alzheimer's disease diagnostic guidelines and criteria jointly issued in 2011 by the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Alzheimer's Association.
Dr. Carrillo also takes a lead role in Alzheimer's Association partnerships with the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and the Health Research Alliance. She represents the Association on the Medical Advisory Council of Genworth Financial, a longstanding Alzheimer's Association strategic alliance partner.
Keith N. Fargo, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Director of Scientific Programs and Outreach, Medical and Scientific Relations
Dr. Fargo oversees the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® program, a service that connects people — those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, their caregivers, friends and family, and other interested individuals — with ongoing clinical studies in their area. Dr. Fargo is responsible for ensuring the quality and responsiveness of TrialMatch, and for educating a wide variety of audiences about the program’s benefits and importance in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Fargo manages the Alzheimer’s Association scientific publications, including Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Publishing articles across a broad spectrum of basic science, clinical research, and the intersection of science and public policy, Alzheimer’s & Dementia plays a key role in shaping the landscape of international Alzheimer’s research. In Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, the Alzheimer’s Association provides an annual update on the number of people with Alzheimer’s, its cost to society, and a variety of other measures revealing the impact of the disease. Dr. Fargo is responsible for preserving the Association’s status as a premiere source of critical scientific information relating to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
The Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART) is another element of Dr. Fargo’s day-to-day responsibilities. ISTAART is the professional society of the Alzheimer’s Association, representing scientists, physicians and other professionals active in dementia research. ISTAART facilitates networking and collaboration among its members in order to increase the rate of progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia research.
Dr. Fargo received his Ph.D. from Indiana University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. Before joining the Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Fargo was a researcher with a focus on regenerative processes in the nervous system; he held appointments as a research scientist at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Rehabilitation Research & Development Program and as an assistant research professor at the Loyola University Chicago Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
Dean M. Hartley, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Director of Science Initiatives, Medical and Scientific Relations
Formerly on faculty at Harvard Medical School and Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Hartley represents the Association’s science division and works with the division’s senior leaders on public relations activities and scientific workgroups to advance the Association’s science agenda. Dr. Hartley has a leadership role in the Association’s research and scientific fundraising initiatives.
Before coming to the Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Hartley was an associate professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences and conducted research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Prior to this, he was assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and conducted research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.
Dr. Hartley has authored numerous publications in top scientific journals on mechanisms thought to cause neurons to become dysfunctional or die in diseases including epilepsy, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. A significant portion of his research career has focused on abnormal protein folding and how this may initiate Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, he has investigated how abnormal electrical activity may play a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The co-author of several book chapters and an ad hoc reviewer and editor for more than 20 scientific journals in the field of neuroscience, Dr. Hartley has reviewed grants for the National Institutes of Health, L'Agence Nationale de la Recherché (French National Research Agency) and several other organizations.
Dr. Hartley completed postdoctoral fellowships in the Departments of Medicine, Genetics, and Neurology at Harvard Medical School after completing his Ph.D. in neuroscience at Stanford University. He has a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in environmental toxicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
James A. Hendrix, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Director, Global Science Initiatives, Medical and Scientific Relations
As a member of Medical and Scientific Relations Division, Dr. Hendrix provides leadership on specific domestic and international efforts to advance the science agenda for the division. Critical elements of his role include managing industry consortia such as the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable, leading the Global Biomarker Standardization Consortium, and assisting with the coordination of National Alzheimer’s Plan efforts on behalf of Medical and Scientific Relations. Dr. Hendrix earned his Ph.D. degree from Colorado State University, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in organic chemistry. Before joining the Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Hendrix was a pharmaceutical scientist with a focus on medicinal chemistry and drug discovery for central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Dr. Hendrix spent 18 years at Sanofi-Aventis and predecessor companies, where he rose to the level of Senior Director, U.S. Site Head for CNS Research. During his tenure at Sanofi-Aventis, Dr. Hendrix led teams and groups that advanced two compounds into the clinic (to date) and 13 compounds into pre-clinical development. These teams and groups also identified 23 chemical series for compound optimization. Dr. Hendrix spent 2 years in the biotechnology industry with various companies including Oligomerix, whose research focuses on tau-based therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Hendrix is a co-author on numerous publications and patents focused on treatments for CNS diseases.
Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Director of Medical and Scientific Operations, Medical and Scientific Relations
Dr. Snyder assists with oversight of the Alzheimer's Association International Research Grant Program, the world's largest nonprofit initiative to advance Alzheimer's research. Since 1982, the Association has committed $335 million to more than 2,250 best-of-field investigators worldwide. In addition to assisting with smooth review of proposals and distribution of awards to successful applicants, Dr. Snyder assumes primary responsibility for metrics and qualitative assessments to enhance the program's effectiveness and impact, and for communicating program results to a wide range of audiences. She also collaborates with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the U.S. agency leading federally funded Alzheimer's research, to conduct an ongoing comprehensive portfolio analysis of Alzheimer's Association-supported research.
Dr. Snyder also plays a key supporting role in other Alzheimer's Association science activities, including the Association's leadership of the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (WW-ADNI); the Alzheimer's Association Quality Control Program for CSF Biomarkers to facilitate cross-institutional consistency in analyzing Alzheimer's-related spinal fluid proteins; its Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer's Care (ETAC) grant partnership with Intel Corporation; and the Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable. She participates in the Technology Group of the Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART), the only professional society designed exclusively for individuals dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia science.
After earning an undergraduate degree in biology and religious studies at the University of Virginia, Dr. Snyder moved on to graduate and postgraduate studies in Chicago, completing her Ph.D. at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in the neurobiology program at Children's Memorial Research Center of Northwestern University.
William H. Thies, Ph.D.
- Alzheimer's Association,
Senior Scientist in Residence, Medical and Scientific Relations
A senior scientist and distinguished educator, Dr. Thies works with the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council to establish the overall scientific direction and key research initiatives of the Alzheimer's Association. Under his stewardship, the Alzheimer's Association International Research Grants Program has doubled and the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) has grown into the world's leading forum on dementia research. In addition, Dr. Thies played a key role in launching Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association and in establishing the Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable, a consortium of senior scientists from industry, academia and government who meet regularly to share nonproprietary information and overcome common barriers to Alzheimer's drug discovery. Prior to joining the Alzheimer's Association, Dr. Thies held faculty positions at major universities. He also served at the American Heart Association, where he led establishment of a new stroke division that became the American Stroke Association. Dr. Thies is a member of the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders.
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