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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

U of M experts available to discuss Alzheimer's research, treatment, care and awareness

October 29, 2012

During the month of November, as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, physicians and researchers from the University of Minnesota are sharing their expertise on a disease that affects 5.4 million Americans.

The following University of Minnesota Alzheimer’s exerts are available to assist members of the media working on Alzheimer’s-related stories.

Alzheimer’s Research

Karen Ashe, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience and founding director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care
Ashe is a leader in the field of Alzheimer’s research and her findings have broad implications for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Through her research, Ashe has demonstrated that, long before brain cells die, an abnormal form of a normal brain protein disrupts cognitive function, which could initiate Alzheimer’s disease. Ashe also has created transgenic mice modeling Alzheimer’s disease that are among the most commonly used models in the world. 

Michael K. Lee, Ph.D., professor, Department of Neuroscience
Lee studies the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases using transgenic mouse models-- or models that mimic the disease. Lee and his team seek to understand how neurons die in Alzheimer’s disease and then develop ways to stop the disease.

J. Riley McCarten, M.D., associate professor, Department of Neurology and director, Minneapolis VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
McCarten firmly believes in the importance of early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, for patients and their families. McCarten is examining the impact of early diagnosis and factors that influence diagnosis in several ongoing studies.

Sylvain Lesne, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Neuroscience
Lesne’s major research goal is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms triggered by proteins abnormally aggregating in cerebral brain tissues during the course of neurodegenerative disorders, with a specific focus on Alzheimer’s disease. Lesne believes by increasing knowledge of the biology of this disorder will facilitate the development of efficient therapeutic strategies.

Dezhi Liao, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neuroscience
Liao and his team recently identified one of the earliest neurologic fingerprints associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Liao is also studying the intracellular signaling pathways underlying functional deficits in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Treatment, care and awareness

Robert Vince, Ph.D., professor and director, University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design

Vince works to develop new approaches to drug design mainly for treatment of Alzheimer’s or pre- Alzheimer’s disease. Vince is trying new approaches to slow down or prevent the progression of the disease.

Ling Li, Ph.D., professor, College of Pharmacy

Li’s research focuses on making connections between atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s diseases including pathogenesis and therapeutic strategies.

Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Nursing

Gaugler's research examines the sources and effectiveness of long-term care for chronically disabled older adults. Gaugler's interests include the longitudinal ramifications of family care for disabled adults, the effectiveness of community-based and psychosocial services for chronically ill adults and their caregiving families, the social integration of residents in nursing homes and other emerging models of long-term care and developmental methodology.

Fang Yu, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor, School of Nursing

Yu’s research program focuses on examining the effectiveness of aerobic exercise and to facilitate the development and adoption of evidence-based exercise clinical guidelines for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Yu is a dedicated advocate for Alzheimer’s legislation.

Laura Hemmy, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry

Hemmy is a member of the Alzheimer's Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.  Her research interests are primarily in assessment and identifying early symptoms to track cognition changes over time.

To schedule an interview with an Alzheimer’s expert, contact Matt DePoint, Academic Health Center, (612) 625-4110 or

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today’s breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: Academic Health Center

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