Speakers and Chairs


Phase 1 Studies and Preparation of Clinical Phase 2 IND of MW150: Novel Stress Kinase Inhibitor Candidate


Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD

Columbia University/Neurokine

Dr. Ottavio Arancio received his PhD and MD from the University of Pisa, Italy. From 1981 to 1986 he took residency training in Neurology at the University of Verona (Italy). Dr. Arancio has held Faculty appointments at Columbia University, NYU School of Medicine and at SUNY HSCB. In 2004 he became Faculty member of the Dept of Pathology & Cell Biology and The Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University. His honors include the “G. Moruzzi Fellowship” (Georgetown University), the “Anna Villa Rusconi Foundation Prize” (Italy), the “INSERM Poste Vert Fellowship” (France), the AHAF centennial Award (2007), the Zenith Award (2007), the Margaret Cahn Research Award (2008), and the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation Award (2010). Dr. Arancio is currently running the laboratory in Neurophysiology and Behavior of the Taub Institute. Over the last 10 years he raised more than $25 million in grant funding and published more than 100 peer reviewed manuscripts.

Dr Arancio is a cellular neurobiologist who has contributed to the characterization of the mechanisms of learning in both normal conditions and during neurodegenerative diseases. During the last ten years he has pioneered the field of mechanisms of synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. More recently he has established a shockwave exposure mouse model for the study of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Arancio’s laboratory has focused primarily on events triggered by oligomeric proteins including amyloid-beta and tau. These studies have suggested new links between synaptic dysfunction and dementia, both for understanding the etiopathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury, and for developing therapies aiming to improve the cognitive symptoms.

Dr. Arancio has been featured on “bigthink.com”.

Alzheimer’s Disease Digital Biomarker Discovery: From Concept to Research Implementation


Rhoda Au, PhD

Boston University

Dr. Rhoda Au is Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurology and Epidemiology at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public and Director of Neuropsychology at the Framingham Heart Study. She is also Director of the Global Cohort Development program for the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative.

Dr. Au has been developing multi-sensory brain health monitoring platform that is customizable, technology agnostic, and scalable. Her objectives include transitioning the platform from reliance on high friction technologies to low friction ones and developing broad based data sharing resources to accelerate data science/AI driven discovery of digital biomarkers. Her research seeks to move the primary focus of health technologies from precision AD medicine to a broader emphasis on precision brain health​.



Nicole Bjorklund, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Nicole Bjorklund, PhD, manages the Diagnostics Accelerator Initiative working closely with our partners at Gates Ventures. In this capacity, she proactively engages promising biomarker programs and supports the development of these biomarkers for use in clinical practice for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. She also supports the management of our core Request for Proposals by providing scientific review of biomarker proposals and tracking program progress.

Dr. Bjorklund came to the ADDF from Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was an Assistant Research Professor and Operations Director of the Biomarker and Biorepository core facilities. Her laboratories, as part of the CTSA-supported Institute of Clinical and Translational Research, supported clinical research studies at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center. She remains an adjunct faculty member at Einstein. Dr. Bjorklund completed postdoctoral training at University of Texas Medical Branch, where she investigated molecular resistance mechanisms to Alzheimer’s disease. She earned a doctorate in biochemistry at Washington State University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Boise State University. Dr. Bjorklund has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and New York Academy of Sciences.

Brain-specific Tau in Blood as an Alzheimer’s Diagnostic


Kaj Blennow, MD, PhD

University of Gothenburg

Dr. Kaj Blennow obtained his medical degree (MD) in 1984, his PhD in Medical Science in 1990 and holds a Specialist Competence in both General Psychiatry and in Clinical Chemistry.

Dr. Blennow holds the Torsten Söderberg Professorship in Medicine and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2015 and was appointed University Hospital Senior Physician in 2011. He is a professor and academic chair of the Clinical Neurochemistry department at the University of Gothenburg as well as Senior Consultant and Head of the Clinical Neurochemistry Lab at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

The major research areas are cerebrospinal fluid biochemical markers, clinical proteomics, and the neurochemical pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

Blennow has published more than 1200 original research papers and 150 review articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has an H-index of 133.

He has received a number of scientific awards, such as the 2019 Bengt Winblad Award, the 2013 International Foundation for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease (IFRAD) European Grand Prix in Research, Paris, the Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer’s Disease Research (2011), the ECNP Clinical Research Award (2010), the Alois Alzheimer Research Award (2001), and many more.

Development of a PIKFYVE Antisense Oligonucleotide (ASO) Treatment for FTD


Wen-Hsuan Chang, PhD


As the head of AcuraStem’s Research Team, Dr. Wen-Hsuan Chang has worked with its founders to build the company from the ground up. Chang helped establish the core technology platform at AcuraStem, and now leads internal research projects and collaborations with external partners. Dr. Chang is responsible for therapeutic target identification, assay development for drug discovery, and platform expansion.

She received a BS in Chemical Engineering from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Following one year of investigation into neurotransmitter release biology at Fu-Jen Catholic University, she entered graduate school and received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California. During her graduate work at USC, Dr Chang identified a novel mechanism through which Wnt signaling controls the development of the mammalian cortex. After her PhD, she performed postdoctoral work in Dr. Justin Ichida’s laboratory at USC where she identified key mechanisms by which the C9orf72 repeat expansion causes neurodegeneration in ALS and frontotemporal dementia.

Dr. Chang also serves on the board of the Southern California Taiwanese Biotechnology Association and has published multiple peer-reviewed scientific research papers in journals for the fields of neuroscience, stem cell biology, and molecular biology.

Recommendations for Exploratory Trials in Dementia

Keynote Presenter

Jeffrey Cummings, MD, DSc

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD, joined the UNLV School of Allied Health Sciences in 2019 as a research professor within the department of Brain Health. Prior to UNLV, Dr. Cummings served as founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, and as director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and director of the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics, both at UCLA.

Dr. Jeffrey Cummings is ranked in the top 0.01% of scientists and #5 in Alzheimer’s disease research in a recent publication in PLoS Biology.

A world-renowned Alzheimer’s researcher and leader of clinical trials, Dr. Cummings has been recognized for his scientific and leadership contributions with the American Geriatrics Society’s Henderson Award (2006), the national Alzheimer’s Association’s Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Award (2008), and the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry’s Distinguished Scientist Award (2010). Dr. Cummings’ interests embrace clinical trials, developing new therapies for brain diseases, and the interface of neuroscience and society. In his new role, Dr. Cummings will help establish and expand the department’s research capacity, and continue his groundbreaking work in combating neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Cummings received the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), the International Society of CNS Drug Development’s Leadership and Achievement Award, and the national Alzheimer’s Association’s Bengt Winblad Lifetime Achievement Award (2018). Additionally, he was featured in Gentleman’s Quarterly (June 2009) as a “Rock Star of Science.”

In addition to his work at UNLV, Dr. Cummings is a professor of medicine (Neurology) at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and he is the principal investigator/director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences-funded Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience.



Penny Dacks, PhD


Penny Dacks, PhD, became Senior Director of Scientific Initiatives for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) in September 2020. Previously, she worked at the American Epilepsy Society, overseeing mission-related programs in research, medical education, and clinical activities, and at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, where she led development of CognitiveVitality.org and the Aging & Alzheimer’s Prevention Program to source and evaluate potential therapies.

She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Arizona. As AFTD’s Senior Director of Scientific Initiatives, Dr. Dacks leads strategy for AFTD’s research programs and serves as President of the FTD Disorders Registry LLC​.

Welcome and Introductory Notes


Howard Fillit, MD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Dr. Howard Fillit is ADDF’s Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer. He is a geriatrician, neuroscientist, and innovative philanthropy executive, who has led the ADDF since its founding. Dr. Fillit has held faculty positions at The Rockefeller University, the SUNY-Stony Brook School of Medicine and the Cornell University School of Medicine. In 1987, he joined the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is a clinical professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care, medicine and neuroscience. Dr. Fillit also maintains a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications and is the senior editor of Brocklehurst’s Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. Dr. Fillit is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award from the Alzheimer’s Association. He is a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Physicians, the Gerontological Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Fillit earned his bachelor of arts in neurobiology cum laude from Cornell University and his medical degree from the SUNY-Upstate Medical University.

SUMO2 Mimetics as Innovative Inhibitors of Tau Toxicity in Pre-clinical Models of Frontotemporal Dementia


Luana Fioriti, PhD

Plico Biotech

Dr. Luana Fioriti.



Mark Forman, MD, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Mark Forman, MD, PhD, leads the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) Scientific Affairs team that oversees the drug discovery and drug development portfolio. Dr. Forman is a neuropathologist and neuroscientist who, prior to joining ADDF, was Vice President at Acadia Pharmaceuticals, where he was Head of Translational Medicine, responsible for preclinical and early clinical development and contributed to development of pimavanserin for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with dementia-related psychosis. Dr. Forman also spent 12 years at Merck where he was Executive Director and Neuroscience Lead in Translational Medicine, responsible for the Neuroscience portfolio in early clinical development including the development of more than 20 novel therapeutics and multiple New Drug Applications.

Dr. Forman received his PhD at Rockefeller University and his MD at Duke University. He completed clinical training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology at the University of Pennsylvania and postdoctoral research training in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he was an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania where his research focused on the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Frontotemporal Dementia.

Dr. Forman is the author of more than 70 publications. His work has earned him several awards including the 2012 PhRMA Research and Hope Award.

Effect of Candesartan on Prodromal Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Biomarkers


Ihab Hajjar, MD

Emory University

Dr. ​Ihab Hajjar is a geriatrician and clinical investigator with a focus on the link between hypertension and vascular disease with Alzheimer’s disease.

He is studying the effects of antihypertensive medications that modulate the renin angiotensin system on both prevention of cognitive decline and as potential therapeutic modalities for early dementia.

Dr. Hajjar has published more than 50 scientific articles and book chapters and has been funded by grants from National Institute of Health and other governmental and private organizations since 2001. Dr. Hajjar sees patients with cognitive disorders and/or vascular risk factors at the Memory Disorder Clinic at Emory University.

Repurposing Metformin for Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease


Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD

Karolinska Institute

Dr. Miia Kivipelto studied medicine at the University of Kuopio, became a registered medical doctor in 1999, and subsequently a specialist in geriatrics. She started to conduct research and gained her PhD in 2002 in Kuopio with a thesis on vascular risk factors with Alzheimer’s disease. Between 2002 and 2005 Miia Kivipelto did her postdoc at Karolinska Institute, KI, after which she worked at KIs Alzheimer’s Centre, and at the Aging Research Center, ARC.

In 2006, Dr. Kivipelto became an associate professor of neuroepidemiology and a research director at the University of Kuopio with support from the Academy of Finland and other sources. In 2010 she became a senior lecturer at KI. She has previously worked on assignments for the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU) and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Miia Kivipelto has been the recipient of numerous prizes. In 2009 she was awarded the Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact, and in 2011 the Junior Chamber International Award as Outstanding Young Person, in Finland and Internationally.

Miia Kivipelto was appointed professor of clinical geriatric epidemiology at Karolinska Institute in 2011.

She is also Director for Research and Development of Theme Aging at Karolinska University Hospital.

Speech and Language as a Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease


Lampros Kourtis, PhD


Dr. Lampros Kourtis is a biomedical engineer that specializes in digital biomarkers. His main focus is passive signal collection and analysis from mobile and wearable devices, and applications in the chronic disease space. He has been working with ADDF, creating an AD harmonized, sharable speech sample repository that can be used by researchers to create diagnostic and monitoring applications.
Currently, he is a cofounder and managing director at Circadic, a Boston based digital biomarker discovery startup. He is also a partner at Velocity.Partners, a seed stage VC firm investing in healthcare solutions. Previously, Dr Kourtis has founded a couple of biomaterials VC backed startups leading them from concept to clinical application, Biomimedica (So San Francisco, CA) and Hyalex Orthopaedics (Lexington, MA). He also worked for Eli Lilly and Evidation Health. Moreover, he is an adjunct professor at Tufts School of Medicine (CTSI). He holds a PhD from Stanford University and a BEng in ME from Aristoteles University. He holds over 25 patents on biomaterials, medical devices, digital biomarkers and IoT solutions.

Misfolded Alpha-synuclein Aggregates in CSF as Diagnostic and Prognostic Markers for Dementia


Russell Lebovitz, MD, PhD


Dr. Russell Lebovitz worked for 15 years as a successful senior scientist and research physician in a variety of academic settings before transitioning to a second career focused on financial, operational and executive management of emerging technology companies. Between 1997 and 2003, he managed global projects in operations, marketing and finance for a number of Fortune 100 technology including Royal Dutch Shell, Enron, ABB, SprintNextel, AT&T Wireless, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Compaq/HP, King Pharmaceuticals, and JPMorganChase. Since 2003, Russ has been a serial entrepreneur and active investor in life sciences projects involving protein diagnostics, imaging technology & image analysis, machine learning, drug development and medical devices.

Since 2005 Dr. Lebovitz has served as a life sciences venture partner and entrepreneur in residence with several different early stage funds in Silicon Valley and Southern California. Through these relationships, he has served as CEO of diagnostics, therapeutics and consumer healthcare companies including CSixty, Marval Biosciences, Skincential Sciences and Amprion. Dr. Lebovitz currently serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Amprion, where he oversees an extremely talented team focused on accurate and early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. He has also served on the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and The Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Skincential Sciences, Amprion, Ambra Biosciences and FP Complete and as a Venture Advisor for Bootstrap Labs.

Phase 2 Study to Assess Safety and Target Engagement in AMYX0035 in AD


Kent Leslie, MSc


Kent Leslie joined Amylyx Pharmaceuticals in 2015 and serves as its Chief Scientific Officer. Kent oversees the design and conduct of all preclinical scientific studies and academic collaborations, as well as seeking new therapies and applications. Kent received his MSc in Biotechnology from Brown University while completing research in the lab of Dr. Richard Bennett. Prior to receiving his Master’s degree, Kent received Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Economics from Brown University​.

Dysfunction of Autophagy and Endosomal-Lysosomal Pathways: Role in Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease


Frank Longo, MD, PhD

Stanford University/PharmaTrophiX

Dr. Frank Longo received his MD from the University of California, San Diego in 1981 and his PhD in 1983. Following an internship in medicine at New York University, he trained as a resident in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco where he also completed a fellowship in neurobiology. He joined the UCSF faculty and eventually served as professor and vice chair of UCSF’s Department of Neurology. Before joining Stanford in 2006, Dr. Longo was the H. Houston Merritt Professor and Chair of Neurology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

At Stanford, Dr. Longo serves as the George E. and Lucy Becker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and along with his colleagues focuses on building programs in neurology and the neurosciences. His interests include translational research in neurodegenerative disease therapeutics, providing patient care in the Stanford Memory Disorders Clinic, and mentoring medical students and other trainees.

Dr. Longo is the 2015 recipient of the inaugural Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and his team’s work on Alzheimer’s therapeutics was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 2016.



Qinwen Mao, MD, PhD

University of Utah

Dr. Qinwen Mao.

The Evolving Role of Biomarkers in Clinical Trials

Keynote Presenter

Mark Mintun, MD

Eli Lilly & Co., Inc.

Mark Mintun, MD, has been the Vice-President of Pain and Neurodegeneration Research and Clinical Development at Eli Lilly & Co. since January of 2018. In 2010, Dr. Mintun joined Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Company, as Chief Medical Officer and became its President in 2014.

Prior to Avid, Dr. Mintun was Professor and Vice-Chair of Radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, with joint appointments in Psychiatry, Neurology, Bioengineering, and the Anatomy and Neurobiology Departments. He earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977, received his medical degree in 1981 at Washington University School of Medicine and completed a research fellowship in neurology and residency training in nuclear medicine.

Dr. Mintun has co-authored over 200 research publications that include reports of brain imaging to characterize flow/metabolism relationships, neurotransmitter systems, circuitry for processing affective stimuli and the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases. More recently he has led development programs for both amyloid and tau imaging of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Blood-based Immune Biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis and Its Early Detection


Thomas Montine, MD

Stanford University

Dr. Thomas Montine received his education at Columbia University (BA in Chemistry), the University of Rochester (PhD in Pharmacology), and McGill University (MD and CM). His postgraduate medical training was at Duke University, and he was junior faculty at Vanderbilt University where he was awarded the Thorne Professorship in Pathology. In 2002, Dr. Montine was appointed as the Alvord Endowed Professor in Neuropathology and Director of the Division of Neuropathology at the University of Washington. He was Director of the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, one of the original 10 Centers in the US, and passed that responsibility to able colleagues. In 2010, Dr. Montine was appointed Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington. In 2016, Dr. Montine was appointed Chair of the Department of Pathology at Stanford University where he is the Stanford Medicine Endowed Professor in Pathology.

Dr. Montine is the founding Director of the Pacific Udall Center, one of 9 NINDS-funded Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Our center performs basic, translational, and clinical research focused on cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. The Pacific Udall Center emphasizes a vision for precision health that comprises functional genomics, development of surveillance tools for pre-clinical detection, and discovery of molecularly tailored therapies.

Dr. Montine is among the top recipients of NIH funding for all Department of Pathology faculty in the United States. He was the 2015 President of the American Association of Neuropathologists, and led or co-led recent NIH initiatives to revise diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease (NIA), develop research priorities for the National Alzheimer’s Plan (NINDS and NIA), and develop research priorities for Parkinson’s Disease (NINDS).

The focus of the Montine Laboratory is on the structural and molecular bases of cognitive impairment with the goal of defining key pathogenic steps and thereby new therapeutic targets. The Montine Laboratory addresses these prevalent, unmet medical needs through a combination of neuropathology, biomarker development and application early in the course of disease, and experimental studies that test hypotheses concerning specific mechanisms of neuron injury and approaches to neuroprotection. PubMed lists 579 publications for Dr. Montine. Google Scholar estimates Dr. Montine’s citations as > 38,000, his i-10 index as 355, and his H-Index as 98. NIH iCite calculates (1995 to 2017) Dr. Montine’s weighted relative citation ratio as 2041.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Feasibility of Senolytic Therapy in Alzheimer’s Disease


Miranda Orr, PhD

Wake Forest University

Dr. Miranda Orr is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in the Section on Geriatrics and Gerontology Division at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC and Research Health Scientist at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC.

She is a translational neuroscientist with expertise that spans the biology of aging and tau-associated neurodegeneration. A primary goal of her research is to understand cellular and molecular processes driving neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment during the prodromal period associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Her career has focused on tau neurobiology and its role as a cellular stress response at the intersection between healthy brain aging and neurodegeneration. Using this strategy, her laboratory has identified a link between tau pathology and cellular senescence, the quintessence of latent tissue degeneration. This seminal finding has laid the groundwork for further investigation into post-mitotic cellular senescence, a newly recognized neuronal cell fate; the interaction between fundamental cellular aging processes and neuronal pathology; and clinical trials using therapeutics to clear senescent cells.



Shobha Purushothama, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Dr. Shobha Purushothama is currently a Senior Director at the Diagnostic Accelerator, a venture philanthropy initiative funded by Gates Ventures and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, tasked with bringing a blood-based diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease to the market.

In her prior roles within translational sciences groups at Biogen, UCB and Pfizer, Dr. Purushothama had acquired extensive experience in the bioanalysis of large molecule assets at different development stages. As part of this role, she led a group of scientists responsible for critical reagent generation and characterization, PK, immunoenicity and biomarker method development, tech transfer and validation.

Dr. Purushothama has published several manuscripts and been an invited speaker at conferences focusing on bioanalysis of large molecules. In addition, she was the co-lead of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) Immunogenicity discussion group – a cross company forum that is influential in harmonizing/influencing immunogenicity strategy for biologics.

Start-up Forum


Tracy Saxton, PhD

Dolby Family Ventures

Dr. Tracy Saxton joined Dolby Family Ventures in 2020 from Frazier Healthcare Partners, where she served as an adviser to the fund as well as founding CEO of an emerging precision oncology company. Tracy previously held investment positions with Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Roche Venture Fund (RVF) and SV Life Sciences Advisers (SVLSA), where she focused on the biopharmaceutical sector. Tracy currently serves on the Board of Therini Bio and Lengo Therapeutics, previously she served on the Board of companies including Vaxcyte (PCVX), Millendo Therapeutics (MLND), Mission Therapeutics and Purigen BioSystems, and she led the first institutional round of financing for Black Diamond Therapeutics (BDTX). Tracy previously held operating positions at Tularik (acquired by Amgen), Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Convelo Therapeutics. At Convelo, she was responsible for driving finance and business development which resulted in a collaboration and option to acquire transaction with Genentech/Roche. She began her career as a drug discovery scientist and moved to leadership roles in Regulatory Affairs, Project Management and Business Development.

Tracy earned her PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto, her MBA from Columbia University, and she was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund fellow at University of California, San Francisco. She is also a Kauffman Fellow.

Circulating Brain-Enriched MicroRNAs as Peripheral Biomarkers of Neurodegeneration


Johannes Tauscher, MD


Dr. Johannes Tauscher .

Strategies for Delivering Therapeutics across the Blood Brain Barrier


Georg Terstappen, PhD

Cambrian Biopharma

Dr. Georg Terstappen is currently the Executive Vice President of Drug Discovery at Cambrian Biopharma. He has nearly 30 years of experience in big pharma and biotech, holding R&D leadership positions at Bayer, GW/GSK, and Abbott/AbbVie – most recently as Head of Preclinical CNS Drug Development with GSK. Georg was also co-founder and CSO of the CNS drug discovery company Siena Biotech and, more recently, CSO of OxStem (a University of Oxford spin-out focused on regenerative medicine). In addition, Georg has led EU R&D framework organizations as Vice-Chair of the Innovative Medicines Strategy group in the context of EFPIA and IMI. He was also adjunct Professor at several European universities for more than ten years and leader of European-wide research programs funded by the EC. Georg has published 90 scientific articles and is an inventor/coinventor of 15 patents.

He has a first-class honors degree in Biology and conducted research at the Max-Planck-Institute in Cologne and the Federal Research Centre Juelich for which he has received a PhD in natural sciences.



Alessio Travaglia, PhD

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Dr. Alessio Travaglia is a member of the ADDF’s Scientific Affairs team. He supports the scientific portfolio through strategic review of funding proposal and program management.

Dr. Travaglia completed his postdoctoral training at New York University, where he studied mechanisms underlying memory formation during infancy. He earned a doctorate in nano science at the University of Catania (Italy), where he worked on synthesis and characterization of new potential drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Travaglia has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, including articles in Nature Neuroscience and Journal of Neuroscience.

Preclinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of CT-526 in the Tauopathy Mouse Model


Kent Werner, MD, PhD

Cogentis Therapeutics

Dr. Kent Werner is a board-certified neurologist and neuroscientist and the Founder and CEO of Cogentis Therapeutics. He holds Assistant Professor appointments in the Departments of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University and adjunct at Johns Hopkins University. He has 14 years of experience in biomedical research and seven years in clinical training. 

Kent received his MD and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the department of Neuroscience in 2012 at the Johns Hopkins University under Dr. Solomon Snyder. His areas of research include neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and traumatic brain injury and their relationship to sleep.​

Clinical Validation for Plasma AB42/AB40 as a Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

Keynote Presenter

Kevin Yarasheski, PhD

C2N Diagnostics

Dr. Kevin Yarasheski obtained the PhD in physiology from Kent State University and completed a three-year post-doctoral research fellowship in geriatrics, metabolism and endocrinology at Washington University School of Medicine. For 29+ years, Dr. Yarasheski remained in the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine where he rose to the rank of tenured Full Professor, co-Directed the Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Research Facility, fully supported his independent mass spectrometry-based clinical research program, and collaborated with Drs. Bateman, West and Holtzman on their Alzheimer’s disease projects that required mass spectrometry analysis.

Dr. Yarasheski also conducted translational clinical research focused on using gas or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to detect, characterize and quantify biomolecules present in human biofluids and tissues, and that revealed underlying alterations in protein and amino acid metabolism that contributed to the pathogenesis of several conditions: unsuccessful aging, cachexia, malnutrition, and cardiometabolic complications.

In 2016, Dr. Yarasheski joined C2N Diagnostics as Senior Vice President where he directs and supervises laboratory personnel and mass spectrometry research, development and discovery efforts focused on biomarkers for neurodegeneration and AD pathology.