OLEG BUTOVSKY, Ph.D.
Dr. Butovsky’s major scientific interest is to understand the biology of resident microglia and peripheral inflammatory monocytes in homeostasis and neurodegenerative conditions. During his Ph.D. studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he investigated the role of microglia in regulating the Aβ plaque deposition in Alzheimer’s models and the role of microglia in neurogenesis. He identified subpopulations of microglia and demonstrated how microglia can be both beneficial and detrimental in the context of neurodegeneration. Dr. Butovsky’s recent studies have identified a unique microglial signature in both mice and humans. With the new knowledge gained, he hopes to address fundamental questions of the role of microglia in neurodegenerative conditions and apply this knowledge towards the development of novel immune-based targeting therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Butovsky is a member of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund APOE consortium.
MARC DIAMOND, M.D.
Dr. Diamond is the founding Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Dr. Diamond completed an internship, residency, and chief residency in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1997. After a postdoctoral fellowship, he was a faculty member in the Neurology Department at UCSF from 2002-2009. From 2009-2014 he was the David Clayson Professor of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis before he was recruited to UT Southwestern.
His research focuses on molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, with the goal of developing novel therapies and diagnostic tools. A therapeutic antibody he co-developed at Washington University in St. Louis is now entering clinical trials for the treatment of dementia. The Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of investigators who are focused on understanding the basis of progressive protein aggregation in human disease. They are using this knowledge to hasten the day when neurodegeneration can be detected pre-symptomatically and stopped before it causes disability. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has supported Dr. Diamond’s research on genetic targets to block tau propagation since 2015.
BRADLEY HYMAN, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Hyman directs the Alzheimer’s unit at MIND (Massachusetts Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease), with the goal of understanding the neuropathological and genetic factors that underlie dementia. Dr. Hyman’s research program involves understanding the neural system failure that underlies cognitive loss in Alzheimer’s, and an appreciation of how genetics impacts pathophysiology. His laboratory also uses transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and in vitro systems to examine the roles of presenilin mutations and receptors in neuronal function and on Alzheimer’s related processes.]
A recent initiative in Dr. Hyman’s laboratory has been the development of in vivo imaging with 2-photon confocal microscopy. This provides the ability to view neurons in the intact, functioning brain in mice and track the pathological changes that occur during disease processes. His lab has shown that plaques can be reversed by therapeutic application of antibodies. Dr. Hyman is a member of the CIRCUITS consortium with Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
JONATHAN KIPNIS, Ph.D.
Dr. Jonathan (Jony) Kipnis’s research group focuses on the complex interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS). The goal is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions in neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, and mental disorders as well as in physiology (including healthy aging). Kipnis’s research team showed that the brain function is dependent, in part, on the function and integrity of the immune system and that immune molecules (cytokines) can play neuromodulatory roles. The fascination with immunity and its role in neurophysiology is what brought the team to a breakthrough discovery of meningeal lymphatic vessels that drain the CNS into the peripheral lymph nodes and thus serve as a physical connection between the brain and the immune system. This finding challenged the prevailing dogma of CNS being an “immune-privileged organ” and opened new avenues to mechanistically study the nature of neuroimmune interactions under physiological and pathological conditions. The implications of this work are broad and range from Autism to Alzheimer’s disease through neuroinflammatory conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis. In 2018 he received a prestigious NIH Director’s Pioneer award to explore in more depth neuro-immune interactions in healthy and diseased brain. Dr. Kipnis has a leadership role with the Berg Family Brain Entry and Exit Consortium that is supported by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
CHERYL WELLINGTON, Ph.D.
Dr. Wellington obtained her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia and performed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the University of Calgary, and the University of British Columbia. She joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia in 2000 and was promoted to Professor in 2011. Dr. Wellington’s research program encompasses the genetic and environmental risk factors that affect dementia, including apolipoprotein E metabolism, history of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and cerebrovascular dysfunction.
Her current research projects include drug discovery efforts to increase apolipoprotein function in the brain for application to both Alzheimer’s Disease and TBI, understanding the relationships between TBI and dementia, and innovative tissue engineering approaches to investigate cerebrovascular function in health and disease. One of her grants with Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is to explore engineer cerebral vessels to explore how the apolipoprotein E protein affects cerebrovascular properties related to Alzheimer’s disease.