Alzheimer's Innovation Fund Leadership

Dennis J. Selkoe, MD
Co-director, Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Coates Professor of Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Medical School

WATCH video of Dennis J. Selkoe, MD, discussing development of Alzheimer’s disease treatments

DENNIS J. SELKOE, MD, is the Coates Professor of Neurology at HMS and co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at BWH. Selkoe and his colleagues isolated the tangles of Alzheimer's disease and co-discovered their antigenic relationship to tau protein. His research on amyloid-beta protein and the amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP) gene led to the "amyloid hypothesis" of Alzheimer's disease, which has helped provide the underpinning of numerous clinical trials, including the world’s first prevention trial in older individuals at risk for developing the disease. His lab discovered that amyloid is produced by cells throughout life, enabling the dynamic study of amyloid generation and screens for inhibitors.

Selkoe and his team showed that APP and presenilin mutations cause Alzheimer's disease by altering amyloid production. With Michael Wolfe, PhD, Selkoe identified presenilin as the gama-secretase, the first intramembrane aspartyl protease in biology. Selkoe has received many honors for his work, including the Pioneer Award and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alzheimer's Association. He was the principal founding scientist of Athena Neurosciences, and is a founding director of Prothena Biosciences.


 

Reisa A. Sperling, MD, MMSc
Director, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment (CART)
Brigham and Women's Hospital

WATCH video of Reisa A. Sperling, MD, MMSc, sharing promising strides towards Alzheimer's prevention

REISA A. SPERLING, MD, MMSC, is director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at BWH and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. A neurologist specializing in the study of dementia and imaging, Sperling conducts research focused on the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Her recent work involves the use of MRI and PET imaging to detect the earliest brain changes of Alzheimer's disease and improving our understanding of why memory changes in aging.

Sperling is the principal investigator of the Harvard Aging Brain Study, a pioneering observational study to determine the factors that allow older individuals to maintain healthy brain function as well as to discover the biomarkers that predict memory decline. She led the National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer's Association Workgroup to develop international guidelines for research on the preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease. She serves as the project director of the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) study, a landmark secondary prevention trial in more than 1,000 clinically normal older individuals at risk for memory decline due to Alzheimer's disease. Sperling was honored with the American Academy of Neurology Potamkin Award in 2015.


 

Kirk R. Daffner, MD, FAAN
Chief, Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Director, Center for Brain/Mind Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital

WATCH video of Kirk R. Daffner, MD, FAAN, explaining changes in cognitive abilities throughout life

KIRK R. DAFFNER, MD, FAAN, is the J. David and Virginia Wimberly Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and director of the Center for Brain/Mind Medicine and chief of the Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). In his leadership role, Daffner fosters a world-class interdisciplinary team that integrates the fields of neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and social work in the service of outstanding patient care. Dedicated to excellence in care, teaching, and clinical research in the fields of dementia and cognitive neurology, Daffner’s research and laboratory have investigated the ways information processing of cognitively successful older individuals differs from that of cognitively less successful ones.

As director of the fellowship program in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at BWH, Daffner is committed to training the next generation of caregivers. He has published extensively on the neurological underpinnings of executive functions, factors that may contribute to successful cognitive aging, and the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Daffner is the current editor of Improving Memory: Understanding Age-related Memory Loss, an HMS Special Health Report.


CONTACT

To learn more about the strides BWH is making to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease and ways you can make a difference, please contact Ginny Fuller, director of development, at vgfuller@partners.org or 617-424-4329. For information about the Alzheimer Center and Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.brighamandwomens.org/alzheimercenter.