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Research is one of the cornerstones of the Alzheimer’s Association and its vision for a world without Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer's Association has been involved in every major advancement in Alzheimer's and related dementias research since the 1980's and is a leader in the global fight  for a world without Alzheimer's.

Local doctors

In 2013, the Alzheimer's Association International Research Grant Program awarded approximately $6 million in funding to 33 scientific investigations to date. These 33 funded projects represent proposals ranked highest by peer reviewers in an extremely competitive field of 161 applications. Since 1982, the Alzheimer's Association has committed over $305 million to more than 2,150 scientific investigations.

In the Greater Illinois Chapter’s area, Robert Vassar, Ph.D., a professor of cell and molecular biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, was awarded a 2013 Zenith Fellows Award. For the submitted proposal, Identifying novel BACE1 substrates and interacting proteins in the brain, Vassar will receive $450,000 over the course of three years.


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Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch is a free, easy-to-use clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer's, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies. Our continuously updated database of more than 130 Alzheimer's clinical trials include both pharmacological (drug) and non-pharmacological (non-drug) studies being conducted at nearly 500 trial sites across the country.

People with Alzheimer's, caregivers and healthy volunteers are all needed today to participate in Alzheimer's and dementia research.

Click here to learn more.

Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee

The Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee is an advisory committee to the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter’s Board of Directors. The purpose of the group is to build a network of multidisciplinary medical and health care professionals to assist in furthering the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission:  to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Group members seek to assist in the development of outreach programs to primary care physicians, neurologists and geriatricians; work to increase awareness of the value of clinical trials both to the medical community and the general public; and promote collaborative opportunities between the Association, health care providers, educational institutions and other organizations, among other objectives.

Committee members

Charlene Aaron, Ph. D., RN

Tom Ala
Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurology 
Center for Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Concetta Forchetti, MD
Alexian Brothers Neuroscience Institute

Moises Gaviria
Director of Neuropsychiatry
McGrath Clinic

Changiz Geula, Ph.D
Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Laboratory for Cognitive & Molecular Morphometry
Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Northwestern University

Vincent D. Keenan, C.A.E.
Executive Vice President
Illinois Academy of Family Physicians

Diane Kuehnlenz MS, APN, CCNS, CWOCN
Geriatric APN
Advocate Health Systems

Jeanet Reyes-Cordero
Former Sr. Therapeutic Specialty Representative

J. Mark Ruscin, Pharm.D, BCPS
SIU, Edwardsville School of Pharmacy

M. Van Der Leden MD PhD
Medical Director
Chicago Research Center

Cheryl Woodson
Woodson Center

Administrative Staff/Board

Melanie Chavin
Vice President, Program Services
Alzheimer's Association, Greater Illinois Chapter

Joseph Harrington
Chapter Board of Directors
Regional Health Officer
Illinois Department of Public Health

Raj Shah
Chapter Board Liaison
Assist. Professor, Family Medicine & Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Medical Director, Rush Memory Clinic

Alzheimer’s Association Research Center


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.