2018 Speakers


Howard Fillit, MD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Howard Fillit, MD, a geriatrician, neuroscientist and a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease, is the founding Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF). The ADDF’s mission is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging. Dr. Fillit has had a distinguished academic medicine career at The Rockefeller University and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he is a clinical professor of geriatrics and medicine and professor of neurobiology. He is a co-author of more than 300 scientific and clinical publications, and is the senior editor of the leading international Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

Previously, Dr. Fillit was the Corporate Medical Director for Medicare at New York Life, responsible for over 125,000 Medicare managed care members in five regional markets. Dr. Fillit has received several awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award for Lifetime Achievement. He also serves as a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, health care organizations and philanthropies. Throughout his career, he has maintained a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Dr. Fillit is the conference chair and will provide the opening remarks to introduce the conference’s scope, structure, and guest lecturers.

Rosa Canet-Avilés, PhD

Neuroscience at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Rosa Canet-Avilés, PhD, is a Science Program Manager for Neuroscience at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). In her role she leads a portfolio of multiple multi-year CNS disorders-related initiatives in Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Parkinson’s Disease totaling $100M+ under three public-private partnerships. She manages the Biomarkers Consortium Neuroscience Steering Committee, the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) in Alzheimer’s Disease and the AMP in Parkinson’s Disease, and the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Dr. Canet-Avilés served previously as a Science Program Officer for Neuroscience at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). In her role, she planned and devised translational research programs, policies and procedures to implement and monitor the organization’s overall research and development strategy. Prior to that, Dr. Canet-Avilés served as a scientist leading some of the Neurodegeneration programs at Amgen Inc. Dr. Canet-Avilés group was responsible for the discovery and validation of therapeutic targets for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.

Dr. Canet-Avilés completed post-doctoral programs at the Mayo Medical school in Neuroscience, at the National Institutes on Aging (Laboratory of Neurogenetics) and a final industry post-doctoral position at Elan Inc. Dr. Canet-Avilés earned her PhD degree in Neuroscience from the School of Medicine at Leeds University, UK. She also holds a BS in Organic Chemistry from the Central University of Barcelona and a Masters in Quality Management from the Catalan Institute of Technology, Barcelona, Spain.

Dr. Canet-Avilés will deliver Tuesday’s keynote lecture on FNIH Biomarker Initiatives in Neuroscience – Consortium Efforts in the Development of Biomarkers for Drug Development.

Diana Cha, PhD

Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Diana Cha, PhD, is conducting research focusing on how cells communicate with other cells during normal development and how alterations in these pathways contribute to disease. Her PhD was completed at Vanderbilt University under the guidance of Dr. James Patton, where she  focused on the use of cell culture models to study the mechanisms and functional roles of extracellular RNAs secreted in tiny vesicles, called exosomes, in colorectal cancer cells. She had found that certain small RNAs, called micro RNAs (miRNAs), were secreted in exosomes exclusively by mutant cancer cells and could be taken up by healthy cells to influence gene expression. The goal was to identify candidate RNA biomarkers to create a non-invasive test for detecting certain types of colorectal cancer and to guide potential efficacious treatments depending on a patient’s tumor mutational status.

This work led to several first and second author publications, the Graduate Research Excellence award in Biological Sciences, the Giesla Mosig travel award to present at the Keystone extracellular vesicle meeting, as well as nomination for the CGS/Proquest distinguished dissertation award. Under the guidance of Dr. Dominic Walsh, an internationally recognized leader in AD research, Dr. Cha is further expanding her research training in exosomes to pursue her interests in the detection and development of biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as exploring non-cell autonomous mechanisms involved in neuropathologies.

Dr. Cha will present in Session III on Isolation of Neurally-derived Exosomes from Blood for the Diagnosis and Staging of Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ronald Crystal, MD

Weill Cornell Medical College

Ronald Crystal, MD, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where he is also the Bruce Webster Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of the Belfer Gene Therapy Core Facility and Attending Physician at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Over the past 25 years, his laboratory has focused on developing gene therapy strategies to treat currently untreatable chronic disorders.

Dr. Crystal will lecture in Session I on Translation to the Clinic of AAVrh.10-mediated Delivery to the CNS of the Apolipoprotein E2 Gene for Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Paul Edison, PhD,MD, MRCP, PhD, FRCPI

Imperial College London

Paul Edison, MD, MRCP, PhD, FRCPI, is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London and an honorary Professor at Cardiff University, Wales. He is also a Consultant Physician at Hammersmith Hospital, London.

Dr. Edison’s research has focused on neuroimaging with novel molecular probes using PET and magnetic resonance techniques for imaging pathophysiological changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases. He has extensive experience in PET imaging in different neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions. Combined with his clinical expertise in different types of degenerative diseases and dementia, he has investigated the relationship between amyloid deposition, microglial activation, and glucose metabolism in different disorders, along with evaluating different transporters in the brain. His work in assessing microglial activation and amyloid load showed that both of these are increased in Alzheimer’s disease, and microglial activation correlates with cognition in late stage of the disease, while amyloid load does not correlate with cognition. He has also demonstrated that there are two peaks of microglial activation in Alzheimer’s trajectory. He was an MRC clinical research fellow before he became a HEFCE clinical senior lecturer.

His work now focuses on neuroinflammation, and the interplay between inflammation and immunity in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disease, and relating these with genetic information. He is also evaluating the methods of modulating inflammation and amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease, and the influence of cardiometabolic factors on the development of neurodegenerative diseases by means of clinical and pre-clinical studies.

He leads the Imperial College Memory Research centre, and is the Chief Investigator of several imaging studies using PET and MRI, and heads multicentre studies evaluating novel treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. He also runs a memory clinic at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Dr. Edison will lecture in Session IV on Evaluating the Effects of the Novel GLP-I Analogue, Liraglutide, in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (ELAD Study).

Lauren Friedman, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Lauren Friedman, PhD, directs the Scientific Affairs team and manages ADDF’s scientific portfolio of academic and biotech investments. She proactively sources and evaluates programs developing therapeutics and biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. She works closely with investigators to design development plans and monitor program progress. She also manages ADDF’s partnerships with industry and other non-profit organizations to leverage additional funding and resources for portfolio programs.

Dr. Friedman completed her postdoctoral training at Columbia University, where she studied modulators of autophagy in Alzheimer’s disease. She earned a doctorate in neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she focused on molecular mechanisms underlying the development and degeneration of brain circuits involved in autism and Parkinson’s disease. While at Mount Sinai, Dr. Friedman founded MiNDS, a neuroscience outreach program that strives to make neuroscience education more engaging and accessible. She received a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology from Tufts University.


Michael Gold, MD


Michael Gold, MD, currently serves as Vice-president for CNS Development at AbbVie. Prior to joining AbbVie, Dr. Gold spent several years in large pharmaceutical companies (BMS, J&J and GSK) in roles of increasing responsibility as well as in senior leadership roles in several biotech companies (CMO of Allon Therapeutics and Accera Inc.), in a specialty pharmaceutical company (UCB) and a short stint in a CRO (PPD). Dr. Gold has worked across all stages of CNS drug development, on small molecules, biologicals, drug-device combinations and diagnostics.

Dr. Gold and his teams have worked on compounds for AD, PD, Stroke, RLS, migraine, epilepsy, MS, chronic somatic and neuropathic pain resulting in a number of successful approvals in the US, EU and Japan. Dr. Gold earned his BS (Chemistry, cum laude), MS (Mathematics and Computer Science) and MD degrees at the University of Miami, completed his Neurology training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and then completed a fellowship in Behavioral Neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. After completing his training, Dr. Gold was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of South Florida (Tampa) where he provided care for patients, trained medical students, residents and fellows. During his tenure at USF, Dr. Gold was appointed as the Medical Director for USF’s Memory Disorder Clinic, where patients from a large catchment area with a broad range of cognitive impairments were evaluated, treated and offered participation in clinical trials.

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Gold has been involved in a large number of clinical trials for neurodegenerative disorders from the investigator, sponsor and CRO perspectives and has continuously pushed for the adoption of innovative designs in clinical trials. Dr. Gold has served on a number of Scientific Advisory Boards for biotech companies, serves as a grant reviewer for several philanthropic organizations and serves as an editor and reviewer for several peer-reviewed medical journals and has been invited to present at several international scientific conferences. Dr. Gold is an author of approximately 50 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Gold will deliver Monday’s keynote lecture on Challenges in CNS Clinical Trials.

Mary Hamby, PhD

The Neurodegeneration Consortium, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Mary Hamby, PhD, joined the Neurodegeneration Consortium at MD Anderson in February 2016, where she leads the neuroinflammation drug discovery efforts towards the goal of discovering novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease.

Previously, Dr. Hamby was a neuroinflammation specialist at Lundbeck within the neuroinflammation division focused on targeting microglia for several CNS disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to entering the drug discovery space, Dr. Hamby did a postdoctoral fellowship in glial biology and neuroinflammation at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Hamby earned her PhD in Biomedical Science at the University of Connecticut, where her research focused on understanding the differential regulation of astrocyte and microglial gene expression by inflammatory mediators.

Dr. Hamby will lecture in Session II on Exploratory Optimization of New CX3CR1 Modulators for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Yuko Hara, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Yuko Hara, PhD, is Director of the ADDF’s Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention team. In this capacity, she critically evaluates the scientific evidence behind therapies to promote brain health and/or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. She also investigates potential risk factors as well as research proposals on prevention therapies.

Dr. Hara was previously an Assistant Professor in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she remains an adjunct faculty member. Her research focused on brain aging, specifically how estrogens and reproductive aging influence the aging brain’s synapses and mitochondria. She earned a doctorate in neurology and neuroscience at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University, with additional study at Keio University in Japan.

Dr. Hara has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, including articles in PNAS and Journal of Neuroscience.


Jacob Hooker, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital

Jacob Hooker, PhD, has built his career on the concept that measuring neurochemistry in the living human brain can have a profound impact on human health and wellbeing. Through the development of new tools and techniques, Prof. Hooker is advancing our fundamental understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s and autism.

His work has led to many landmark firsts—first human neuroepigenetic imaging technology, first linkage between glial activation and chronic low back pain, first demonstration of dynamic neurochemical imaging (fPET)—and catalyzes others to achieve advances of their own. He has dramatically expanded the capabilities of PET imaging by pioneering new radiotracer synthesis methods, radiotracers and concepts. At the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, he founded and directs a first-in-class imaging facility that merges functional MRI and positron emission tomography for neurochemical study.

Dr. Hooker is currently an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. To learn more about the work coming from his lab and his incredible collaborators, visit: http://hookerlab.martinos.org.

Dr. Hooker will lecture in Session III on Epigenetic Mechanisms in Human Memory: Quantification by Non-invasive PET Imaging in the Aged Brain.

Anastasia Khvorova, PhD

RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Anastasia Khvorova, PhD, has more than twenty years of experience developing oligonucleotide technology and therapeutics. She is a professor in the RNA Therapeutics Institute and Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Her lab brings together hardcore organic and oligonucleotide chemists, RNA biologists, and pharmacologists to develop novel approaches and solutions to understanding natural and therapeutic RNA trafficking and delivery. She established the RTI’s Nucleic Acid Chemistry Center, which provides expertise inRNA chemistry to labs within and outside UMMS, andis the only non-profit center in North America capable of synthesizing complex RNAs at scales necessary to support both in vitro and in vivo studies.

Dr. Khvorova joined UMMS after several years in industry, during which she served as Chief Scientific Officer at lead biotech companies (Dharmacon, ThermoFisher; RXi Pharmaceuticals) and co-founded several startups. She serves as director of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society. Dr. Khvorova is named as inventor on more than 150 patents and 200 patent applications, and she has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, including seminal articles inCell, Nature, and Nature Biotechnology (citation index exceeding 2000 per article) defining the field of RNAi drug design and development. Dr. Khvorova is principal investigator on four major National Institutes of Health grants.

Dr. Khvorova will lecture in Session I on RNAi-based Modulation of Gene Expression in CNS: Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Masashi Kitazawa, PhD

University of California, Irvine

Masashi Kitazawa, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California, Irvine. He received his PhD in Toxicology in 2003 from Iowa State University, with a research emphasis on environmental toxicants in neurodegenerative diseases under the mentorship of Dr. Anumantha Kanthasamy. He then worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Frank LaFerla at the University of California, Irvine, studying on the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and inclusion body myositis.

In 2012, he joined the University of California, Merced, as a faculty member and established an independent lab focusing on the understanding the mechanisms linking environmental exposure, inflammation, and AD. He then was recruited to the University of California, Irvine in 2016, where his lab continues to work on deciphering the role of inflammation in AD from both therapeutic and environmental risk aspects.

Current research projects include identifying early transcriptomic changes in microglia leading to AD phenotypes following environmental copper exposure, the role of inflammation-induced microRNAs in regulating brain LRP1 and plasticity-related proteins, and therapeutic efficacy of a small compound activating the inflammatory resolution pathway in AD mouse model. These projects have been supported by grants and fellowships from the NIH, Alzheimer’s Association, and ADDF.

Dr. Kitazawa will lecture in Session II on Targeting Inflammatory Resolution as Preventative and Therapeutic Strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Giacomo Koch, PhD

Santa Lucia Foundation

Giacomo Koch, MD, PhD, is a neurologist and neuroscientist leading the non-invasive brain stimulation lab at Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome.

Dr. Koch has a long-lasting experience in clinical neurophysiology of the motor system and of cognitive functions, with a translational approach for rehabilitation of stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. His main expertise is in the application of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), mainly used in combination with structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and in combination with electroencephalography (EEG). The main goals of his research are to understand the mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity and cortical connectivity in the healthy human brain, in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches for recovery of neurological functions. Prof. Koch is actively investigating the mechanisms of cortical plasticity in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

He was among the firsts to demonstrate the impairment of long term potenatiation (LTP) in this neurological condition and how dopaminergic therapy could potentially restore such abnormalities.

Dr. Koch has published >200 papers in peer reviewed journals (H index: 54).

Dr. Koch will lecture in Session IV on Dopaminergic Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients.

Krista Lanctôt, PhD

University of Toronto

Krista Lanctôt, PhD, has a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Toronto, with additional training in pharmacoepidemiology. She is currently a Senior Scientist in Geriatric Psychiatry and in the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute, and the Head of Neuropsychopharmacology Research.

She is a Full Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology/ Toxicology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Lanctôt is an active researcher in clinical pharmacology with over 250 publications. Her group’s research has focused on optimizing the pharmacotherapy of cognition and neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with dementia and in predementia states. In addition to running randomized controlled trials, her group uses biomarkers, pharmacologic challenge and neuroimaging to further understand these symptoms and target pharmacotherapy.

Dr. Lanctôt will lecture in Session IV on Safety and Efficacy of Nabilone in Patients with Moderate to Severe Alzheimer’s Disease: A Pilot Study.

Chien-liang Glenn Lin, PhD

Ohio State University

Chien-liang Glenn Lin, PhD, completed his doctorate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He completed his postdoctoral research in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Lin joined the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1999, where he focused his research on molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. His recent research focuses specfically on the role of glutamate transporter EAAT2 in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and function and in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, Dr. Lin is a full professor at OSU. He has published numerous papers in major journals and holds four patents.

Dr. Lin will lecture in Session II on Development of Small Molecule Activators of Glutamate Transporter EAAT2 Translation for Alzheimer’s Disease.

ADDF/Harrington Scholar

Yuanjing Liu, PhD

WAVE Life Sciences

Yuanjing Liu, PhD, is a scientist at WAVE Life Sciences in Cambridge, MA. She had received her PhD in 2015 from the University of Florida and has 11 years of experience in molecular biology and biomedicine labs. Dr. Liu is a project leader who had supported the development of essential tools to benefit ALS research including mouse models and antibodies.

Dr. Liu will lecture in Session I on WVE-3972-01, an Investigational Stereopure Antisense Oligonucleotide, Preferentially Knocks Down G4C2 Repeat-Containing C9ORF72 Transcripts.

Nick McKeehan

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

nick_mckeehanNick McKeehan is a member of the ADDF’s Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention program. He evaluates the scientific evidence for and against therapies to promote brain health and/or prevent Alzheimer’s disease at our website CognitiveVitality.org and contributes regularly to the site’s blog.

Mr. McKeehan previously served as Chief Intern at Mid Atlantic Bio Angels (MABA) and was a research technician at Albert Einstein College of Medicine investigating repair capabilities of the brain.

Mr. McKeehan received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Purdue University, where he was awarded a Howard Hughes Scholarship. He also writes about the biotechnology industry for 1st Pitch Life Science.

Mr. McKeehan will chair Session IV titled CLINICAL TRIALS.

Paul Newhouse, MD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Paul Newhouse, MD, holds the Jim Turner Chair in Cognitive Disorders at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and is Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Medicine. He is Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine (VCCM) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is also a physician-scientist at the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Health Systems Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC).

Dr. Newhouse received his undergraduate education at Kansas State University, attended medical school at Loyola University, Stritch School of Medicine, and completed his residency training in psychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center followed by a fellowship in Geriatric Psychopharmacology Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both General Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry and was awarded the American Psychiatric Association Profiles in Courage award in 2002 and the Loyola University Alumnus of the Year Award for Research in 2017.

Dr. Newhouse’s research has focused on brain cholinergic mechanisms in cognitive aging and the role of nicotinic cholinergic receptor systems in normal and impaired cognitive functioning in humans. His work established the importance of brain nicotinic cholinergic receptor systems in normal cognitive processes and established these receptors as a therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. He has pioneered the development of human models for new cognitive drug development including early first-in-human studies to the design and implementation of national multicenter trials. He has emphasized the development of novel cholinergic agents for clinical use in cognitive disorders and has established novel brain imaging and biomarker-based measures of brain drug effects through the use of novel pharmacologic‐imaging methodologies. His research has been continuously funded by NIH since 1989 and he is funded currently by the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and other private companies and foundations.

Dr. Newhouse will lecture in Session IV on Phase 1 Study of the Putative Cognitive Enhancer VU319, a Muscarinic M1Positive Allosteric Modulator for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anthony Oliva, PhD

Longeveron LLC

Anthony Oliva, PhD, earned his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago, and his PhD in Neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine where he developed autofluorescent-protein animal models for studying interneuron function and injury in the brain.

Dr. Oliva continued his research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Oregon Health and Science University, and then became an assistant scientist with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and director of the Viral Vector Core Facility at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He then joined the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University as an assistant professor.

In 2015, Dr. Oliva joined Longeveron as the newly-formed company’s senior scientist, leading its clinical programs for using stem cell therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other indications. He is the principal investigator on a number of company-awarded grants, including grants from the Alzheimer’s Association, Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund TECDO, and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Oliva will lecture in Session I on Safety and Efficacy of Longeveron Mesenchymal Stem Cells (LMSCs) to Treat Patients with Mild Alzheimer’s Disease.

Meriel Owen, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Meriel Owen, PhD, is a member of the ADDF’s scientific affairs team. She supports the scientific portfolio through strategic review and program management.

Dr. Owen earned her doctorate in neuroscience from Northwestern University, where she used neuroimaging and robotic techniques to better understand the neural mechanisms underlying motor impairment after stroke. She received a MSc from University College London in clinical neuroscience and a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Owen is also interested in the intersection between neuroscience and entrepreneurship.

During her graduate studies, she completed the Kellogg Management Program for scientists and engineers, was selected as a Northwestern Leadership Fellow, and co-founded a startup company that won the Neuro Startup Challenge.

Dr. Owen will chair Session III titled BIOMARKERS.

Irina Pikuleva, PhD

Case Western Reserve University

Irina Pikuleva, PhD, is the Carl F. Asseff Professor of Ophthalmology and the Director of the Visual Sciences Research Center at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Pikuleva received her PhD degree in Bioorganic Chemistry from the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences followed by postdoctoral training in Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University. In 1999, Dr. Pikuleva became a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas Medical Branch and then moved in 2008 to Case Western Reserve University.

The two major areas of research in Dr. Pikuleva’s laboratory are studies of cholesterol metabolism in the brain and retina. The ultimate goal of these studies is to identify new therapeutic targets and treatments for diseases of the brain (Alzheimer’s disease) and the eye (age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy).

Dr. Pikuleva will lecture in Session IV on A Proof-of-Concept Clinical Research Study of Efavirenz in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Blaine Roberts, PhD

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Blaine Roberts, MD, is an Associate Professor at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Montana State University and his PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University.

His research group focuses on using proteomics to understand Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has an interest in understanding the role of metals in biology and has developed new proteomic technologies to measure metalloproteins. Further on, his group is using proteomics to characterize new blood borne biomarkers for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Roberts will lecture in Session III on Aβ Complexes and Other Proteins Targets from Blood as Early Indicators of Amyloid Accumulation in the Brain.

Jerri Rook, PhD

Vanderbilt Center of Neuroscience Drug Discovery

Jerri Rook, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Rook received her PhD in Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She then pursued her postdoctoral studies at Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of P. Jeffrey Conn, PhD.

Dr. Rook has received multiple awards for her scientific contributions, including the Butler-Williams Scholars Award from the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar Award, and the Vanderbilt Faculty Research Scholar Award. Dr. Rook also serves on the Scientific Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Dr. Rook’s research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the progression of neurodegeneration and the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Rook will lecture in Session II on mGlu5 PAMs for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Eugenia (Jania) Trushina, PhD

Mayo Clinic

Eugenia (Jania) Trushina, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Mayo Clinic Rochester. She received her doctoral degree in organic chemistry from Saratov State University in Russia. Dr. Trushina completed her postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester studying redox chemistry related to nitric oxide and mechanisms of mitochondrial dynamics in Huntington’s Disease.

Dr. Trushina’s translational research program is focused on the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly as they intersect with studies on aging and metabolic disorders, and the development of mitochondria-targeted therapeutics. Her group developed novel small molecule mitochondria-targeted therapeutics for Alzheimer’s Disease, which is now in the lead optimization and preclinical characterization stage. Dr. Trushina is a recipient of the NIH NINDS, NIA, NIEHS, BrightFocus, GHR, ADDF, and Mayo Clinic Research Awards.

Dr. Trushina will lecture in Session II on Development of Small Molecule Mitochondria-targeted Therapeutic for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Tim West, PhD

C2N Diagnostics

Tim West, PhD, is the vice president of research and development at C2N Diagnostics. Since the company’s inception in 2008, he has been overseeing multiple clinical and preclinical studies using the stable isotope labeling kinetics assay for measuring the effects of drugs on amyloid beta metabolism. Dr. West also oversaw development of methods for quantifying amyloid beta and other peptides in biofluids, using highly targeted quantitative mass spectrometry. He is the principal investigator on multiple grants from institutions such as the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, the NIH, and the Michael J Fox Foundation. Dr. West helped oversee the development of the anti-tau antibody C2N-8E12.

Dr. West obtained his PhD in molecular cell biology and neuroscience from Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. Here, Dr. West was also a recipient of a Kauffman Fellowship for Bio-Entrepreneurship. He received his BSc Honors in Molecular Biology at University College London.

Dr. West will lecture in Session III on Quantitative Assessment by Mass Spectrometry of Amyloid beta 42 and 40 in Plasma as a Peripheral Indicator of Brain Amyloidosis (ADDF/Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration Partnership Program).

Xinglong Wang, PhD

Case Western Reserve University

Xinglong Wang, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Pathology at the Case Western Reserve University. He studies the mechanism(s) underlying neuronal death in various major neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

His recent research activities focus on mitochondrial dysfunction and TDP-43 proteinopathies, two prominent pathological features in these devastating diseases. His lab provided the first evidence of TDP-43 accumulation within mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, and suggested the targeting TDP-43 in mitochondria as a potential novel therapeutic approach for neurodegeneration. The lab is now pursuing the physiological function of TDP-43 in mitochondria and the identification of small molecular inhibitors of TDP-43 in mitochondria.

Dr. Wang has authored or co-authored over 80 papers, many in top tier journals. Dr. Wang has been the recipient of the ISN Young Scientist Lectureship Award and ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in-Graduate Training Award.

Dr. Wang will lecture in Session II on Targeting Mitochondrial TDP-43 To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease (ADDF/Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration Partnership Program).