Meet Perry Clark, New Institute on Aging External Advisory Board Chair

“One of my husband’s favorite sayings is, “everything has a shelf life, and you have to know when that shelf life is over,” said Orien Reid Nix, former Institute on Aging (IOA) External Advisory Board (EAB) Chair. After a little over five years as Chair, she has decided to step down, explaining that she feels that her “shelf life” as Chair has simply come to an end. While she will still remain involved with the IOA EAB, her responsibilities in her personal life will need to take precedent over her responsibilities as Chair.

perryclarkpic(edit)In an essentially seamless transition, dedicated IOA EAB member Perry Clark will resume the position as Chair. The decision was announced at the IOA’s recent Fall 2015 External Advisory Board meeting, a meeting that is held two times per year. Mr. Clark graciously opened the meeting with thanks to all of the IOA staff, collaborators, and his fellow EAB members. He explained that his goal as IOA EAB Chair will be to help other members to be more engaged with supporting the mission of the IOA and to serve as a facilitator for communication between the EAB members and the IOA administrators. He will also continue to do everything that he can to “increase public awareness of the work of the IOA and philanthropic support for that work.”

Perry Clark has been a member of the IOA EAB since 2013 after being given the opportunity to meet with IOA Director, John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD and his wife, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) Director, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, following the loss of his sister to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease years prior.

“In response to that, my wife and I resolved that we should do what we could to support research into neurodegenerative diseases. That is the reason that we volunteered to participate in research studies at Boston University. Our involvement with the External Advisory Board is an extension of our advocacy for increased funding for the development of treatments for these diseases.” – Perry Clark

Perry Clark dedicates a great deal of his time to giving presentations in his home state of Maine on Alzheimer’s disease and related topics. He has covered topics on Alzheimer’s pathology, risk factors, and incidence, as well as the goal and significance of research studies, current clinical trials, brain health, and the importance of increased research funding and how this will lead to quicker development of therapies for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Left to right: Kathy Jedrziewski, PhD (Deputy Director, IOA), Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD (Director, CNDR), John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD (Director, IOA), Orien Reid Nix (former IOA EAB Chair), Elaine Clark, Perry Clark (Chair, IOA EAB)

Mr. Clark received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. Upon graduation, he became a VISTA volunteer, and subsequently supervisor, of the VISTA program in Clay and Jackson Counties in eastern Kentucky. Upon graduating from the University of Maine School of Law in 1973, Mr. Clark practiced law in Westbrook, Maine, until his retirement in 2014. Mr. Clark is a past President of the Cumberland County Extension Association, which governs the administration of Cooperative Extension programs in the county. In 1982, he received the Association’s Outstanding Citizen Award. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Treasurer of the Friends School of Portland. Together with his wife, Elaine, Mr. Clark participates in the Health Outreach Program for the Elderly (HOPE) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 2 (ADNI) research studies at Boston University.

Meet the rest of our IOA External Advisory Board members here!


CNDR Retreat 2015: “Focusing on Parkinson’s Disease Alpha-Synuclein at the University of Pennsylvania”

Last Wednesday, October 7, 2015, Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) hosted their 15th Annual Marian S. Ware Research Retreat. This year, the theme was “Focusing on Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Alpha-synuclein at the University of Pennsylvania,” which included lectures from thirteen different University of Pennsylvania researchers (listed below) from the Perelman School of Medicine, School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who are working on this protein and its role in PD.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 2.14.15 PM

With over 150 guests and 26 posters, the day-long event was yet another success. The posters covered topics not only related to alpha-synuclein and PD, but a variety of other ongoing clinical and basic research studies on PD and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As usual, prizes were awarded to the top three posters.

1st Place Poster Winner

cndrretreat15_1stplaceTitle: Dopamine induces toxic oligomers of a-synuclein leading to neurodegeneration and motor impairment in vivo

Authors: Danielle Mor1,2 (pictured center, with CNDR Director, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD [left] and Director of CNDR Drug Discovery, Kurt Brunden, PhD[right]); Elpida Tsika3; Joseph R. Mazzulli4; Jennifer Grossman5; John H. Wolfe2,6,7; Harry Ischiropoulos1,2,7

Affiliations: 1 Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; 2 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute; 3 Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; 4 Department of Neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 5 Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University, New York, NY; 6 Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine; 7 Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

2nd Place Poster Winner

cndrretreat15_2ndplaceTitle: The Super Elongation Complex (SEC) modulates TDP-43 and G4C2 hexanucleotide repeat toxicity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease models

Authors: Chia-Yu Chung (pictured), Nancy Bonini

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania



3rd Place Poster Winner

cndrretreat15_3rdplaceTitle: Can drug-induced Parkinsonism reveal pre-motor Parkinson disease?

Authors: James F. Morley (pictured), Gang Cheng, Jacob G. Dubroff, Jayne R. Wilkinson, John E. Duda

Affiliations: PADRECC and Nuclear Medicine, PVAMC.  Departments of Neurology and Radiology PSOM



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For more information on Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, visit:

A Gift to Make a Difference: 13-year-old uses birthday to raise funds for aging research at Penn

If you were to ask teenagers today what they’d like as a birthday present, most would probably say the latest iPhone, video game, or fashion trend, but that’s not the case with 13-year-old Hannah Jin. While planning her birthday celebration this past August, Hannah decided she wanted to try something different this year — instead of receiving gifts, she wanted to give.

Hannah nixed her plans for a birthday party and started planning her “giving” party. In lieu of presents, Hannah requested her guests consider making a donation to one of two particular causes — a local food bank and Penn’s 5K for the IOA. Penn’s 5K for the IOA & The Memory Mile Walk is an annual Penn Medicine event which raises funds for Alzheimer’s and aging-related research and care at the Institute on Aging. Having a personal connection to this cause — a grandfather with memory loss and a mother who works in ADRD* research here at Penn — Hannah was excited to contribute. With the help of family and friends, Hannah raised a total of $100 for the 5K.

To some, that may not seem like much, but at a time when the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients is over $200 billion and the amount of federal funding is low, every dollar counts. Moreover, it is refreshing to see the younger generation showing concern and interest in aiding in the fight against such diseases.

Hannah encourages others her age to consider “giving” parties as well. Not only is it “a lot of fun,” but it is also rewarding to help make a difference and see others’ willingness to “do good,” she said.

To make a gift to Penn’s Institute on Aging, visit our Giving page,

or contact: Elizabeth Yannes, Penn Medicine Development  or  215-573-4961

* Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders