Mary Sano, Ph.D. received a prestigious Merit Award for a longitudinal study which will focus on aging veterans to determine if certain cognitive tests and biomarkers can predict who will develop Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, she aims to study the rate of cognitive, functional and global decline in this population. This study is critical as the aging veteran population has an increasing need for health care. In addition, such work will be instrumental for treatment and disease management. Results will hopefully shed light on which diagnostic approaches are the most effective predictors of Alzheimer’s disease.
We are pleased to announce that our own Gregory Elder, M.D. was named the 2011 Distinguished Scientist of the Year. Dr. Elder is a physician and researcher at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs in Bronx, NY. His pioneering work has been instrumental in the development of a process which identifies and marks a particular group of cells with red and green florescent proteins. This dynamic approach has the potential for a multitude of uses. For instance, such groundbreaking research may allow for the selection of specific cell types for transplantation, as well as permit the production of cell maps which can be utilized in imaging.
In May, Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D. was awarded the 2011 Mount Sinai Dean’s Award for Excellence in Translational Science. Dr. Buxbaum explores psychiatric and neurological diseases using the novel research methods of genetics, genomics, cell and molecular biology, as well as animal models. Through the use of translational research, which is a method of “translating” basic research findings into medical practice, Dr. Buxbaum has been able to develop unique therapies for a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, Dr. Buxbaum’s research encompasses autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mount Sinai’s Tasos Georgakopoulos, Ph.D. earned an esteemed Alzheimer’s Association Investigator Initiated Research Grant for his project “Mechanisms of neuroprotection by Presenilin-1.” Presenilin-1 is a protein that is often found to be mutated in most cases of familial Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of his crucial study is to examine the mechanisms by which Presenilin-1 protects neurons (brain cells) from excitotoxicity, or abnormal excessive stimulation. More specifically, he hopes to see how Presenilin-1 protects neurons against toxic death by affecting special RNAs in the cell that are called microRNAs.