Karen Duff, Ph.D.

UK DRI (Dementia Research Institute), Centre Director, University College London

With over 20 years’ experience working in Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Karen Duff returned to the UK in 2020 as Centre Director of the UK DRI (Dementia Research Institute) hub in University College London.

After completing a Ph.D. in the University of Cambridge lab of Nobel Prize winner Sydney Brenner in 1991, Dr. Duff has become a leader in the field of neurodegenerative disease. She is best known for her work in the development of several transgenic research models, which have driven the field forward in its mission to find therapeutics for these devastating conditions.  Dr. Duff has genetically engineered several widely used mouse models for AD, tauopathies and synucleinopathies. These mice have been used in studies ranging from MRI and PET for diagnostics development, to proof-of-concept testing of therapeutic targets. Her main interests are fourfold – studying how AD-related pathology and dysfunction propagates through the brain and from cell to cell as the disease worsens; using multi-omics platforms (transcriptomics, lipidomics and metabolomics) to study the role of aging and inheritance of the AD risk variant APOE4 as an initiating factor in AD; the role and therapeutic potential of protein clearance pathways in tauopathies and the basis and manipulation of memory deficits using optogenetic and brain stimulation techniques.

After receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge (UK), she moved to London to work briefly with Alison Goate before moving to the US with John Hardy in 1992 to a position at the University of South Florida. In 1996, she moved her lab to the Mayo Clinic Florida and in 1998 to the Nathan Kline Institute/New York University before joining Columbia University in 2006. She has published over 140 peer-reviewed papers and has received several awards in addition to the prestigious Potamkin Prize in 2006.

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Tal Nuriel, Sergio L. Angulo, Usman Khan, Archana Ashok, Qiuying Chen, Helen Y. Figueroa, Sheina Emrani, Li Liu, Mathieu Herman, Geoffrey Barrett, Valerie Savage, Luna Buitrago, Efrain Cepeda-Prado, Christine Fung, Eliana Goldberg, Steven S. Gross, S. Abid Hussaini, Herman Moreno, Scott A. Small, Karen E. Duff Neuronal hyperactivity due to loss of inhibitory tone in APOE4 mice lacking Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology, Nature Communications, 8, 13 Nov 2017, Read More