“To the most deserving.”

On November 16, Virginia M.Y. Lee, PhD, MBA, and John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, both professors of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, were given the John Scott Award, Philadelphia’s most prestigious scientific award, in a ceremony held at the American Philosophical Society.

The award, established by a gift from Edinburgh chemist John Scott in the early 1800s, is one of the oldest science prizes in the United States. Continue reading


Penn Study Links Protein with Spread and Cell Death in Parkinson’s Disease

The latest study, coming out of Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, published in the latest issue of Science, is garnering attention from scientists, advocacy groups and news outlets alike.

From the Penn Medicine press release:

In short, the Penn researchers found that, in healthy mice, a single injection of synthetic, misfolded α-Syn fibrils led to a cell-to-cell transmission of pathologic α-Syn proteins and the formation of Parkinson’s α-Syn clumps known as Lewy bodies in interconnected regions of the brain. Their findings appear in this week’s issue of Science. The team was led by senior author Virginia M.-Y Lee, PhD, director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) and professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and first author Kelvin C. Luk, PhD, research assistant professor in the CNDR.

The major significance of the paper is that it resolves the long-standing controversy about the role of α-Syn Lewy bodies in the degeneration of substantia nigra dopamine neurons, thereby sharpening the focus on Lewy bodies as targets for discovery of disease modifying therapy for Parkinson patients.

Drs. Lee and Luk help explain the study here, in this video:

News outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Scientist, Nature, Scientific American, Discover and Bloomberg, as well as the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s FoxFeed blog are also sharing the news.

As the Penn Medicine press release notes, “The team is now working on an antibody therapy in these mouse models to stop propagation of rogue misfolded α-Syn. What’s more, both the cell culture and the mouse models will facilitate the identification of novel targets for PD therapy.”

We’ll post updates to any additional coverage here. Stay tuned!

Thank You Breakfast Brings Hope to Families Participating in Penn Memory Center Research

The 6th Annual Penn Memory Center Thank You Breakfast drew a packed crowd to the Inn at Penn’s Woodlands Ballroom on October 20, 2012. The annual invitation-only breakfast thanks research participants for their contribution to Penn’s Alzheimer’s disease research.

Your research is wonderful and your sharing it like this is unbelievably generous and much appreciated.

Over 200 research participants along with their family members and guests enjoyed breakfast before attending presentations on the latest updates in Alzheimer’s disease and the results of Alzheimer’s disease research done at the Penn Memory Center.

I find this program great. It gives me some hope, and learning about the disease is very informative. Thank you for all you do.

Members of the Penn Alzheimer’s Disease team – including Penn ADCC director John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Penn Memory Center director Steven E. Arnold, MD, Penn Memory Center clinicians David Wolk, MD, and Jason Karlawish, MD, and Felicia Greenfield, LCSW, Penn Memory Center Associate Director for Clinical and Research Operations – each presented the latest results from research studies as well as updates on Penn Memory Center programs and upcoming research opportunities.

The presentations concluded with an open question and answer session. Guests’ questions ranged from how biomarker results are used in clinical practice to the current and future state of Alzheimer’s disease research.

This is a much appreciated event in recognition of the efforts of those of us who want to help.

To learn more about research opportunities at the Penn Memory Center, visit www.pennadc.org/research.