Professor & Executive Director, Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging
I have 13 years of experience as a director for the Center on Aging at MUSC. When I became the third director for this University-wide center in 2001, funding approximated 3-4 million per year at MUSC for age-related topics. Now, MUSC has more than 33 million in funding for age-related research, including research programs in Healthy Aging, wellness, Nutrition, Stroke, Movement Disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2006 we formed a state-wide network for aging research, the South Carolina Aging Research Network. This is a cross-institutional and interdisciplinary network, including driving and aging, nutrition, technology, and a multi-institutional Center of Excellence (Senior Smart). I currently serve on the Board for Alzheimer Association, South Carolina Chapter, and I am the Founding Co-director for the MUSC Brain Bank. Finally, I am the Chair for an international Professional Interest Area (PIA) for the international Alzheimer Association directed towards Down syndrome-related Alzheimer’s disease, with more than 250 members in 38 countries. I am the inaugural Executive Director for the DU Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging (KIHA) since September of 2015.
My major research interests include aging disorders of the brain, especially as it pertains to animal models and human studies of Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. I collaborate with several research groups at Harvard, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Banner Health in Arizona, UC Irvine, and University of Colorado (Linda Crnic Institute), as well as a research group in Barcelona. I have published more than 150 peer-reviewed research studies.
Session: BIOMARKERS FOR ALZHEIMER AND DOWN SYNDROME: COMMON BIOLOGICAL PATHWAYS
Health & Aging | Friday, September 16, 2016
People with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease in their 4th or 5th decade along with variable intellectual disability earlier in life. We are developing novel blood biomarkers which may help identify early signs of Alzheimer pathology in the brain, and therefore could help in determining when preventative treatment should be initiated. This could also be used for early identification of Alzheimer pathology in the general population. Data will also be presented demonstrating effects of exercise or cognitive training on blood biomarkers in an older population.