Lena Law has been awarded a 2017 University Book Store Academic Excellence Award. The award is “made to undergraduate students who best exemplify the principle that excellence can be achieved through independent study.” A ceremony and reception will be held at the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 7 PM in Varsity Hall of Union South.
Congratulations to Brittany Derynda! Brittany is the recipient of a 2017 Hilldale Fellowship for her project “The relationship between sleep quality and brain white matter health in middle-aged adults”.
Check out Andrew Merluzzi’s editorial on research funding published in the Cap Times:
Andrew Merluzzi: Trump to cut research on diseases he calls ‘horrible’
Kate Sprecher has been selected to receive a Sleep Research Society (SRS) Trainee Merit Based Award, based on the work that she will present at the SLEEP 2017 meeting in June, in Boston, MA. Her abstract title is: “White Matter Damage And Axonal Degeneration Are Related To Hypoxia In Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea”.
Congratulations to Stephanie Schultz! She has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Her grant is titled “Vulnerability of synaptic integrity and functional connectivity in normal aging”. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in STEM disciplines. Many past recipients have gone on to achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.
Claire Erickson, an incoming NTP graduate student in the Okonkwo lab, won the Best Student Poster Award in the Brain and Behavior category at the 2017 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual meeting in Boston. Her poster was titled “A Tool for Diagnosing and Staging Synucleinopathies”. Congrats Claire, and welcome to the UW-Madison!
Sara Berman has been selected to present her work entitled “Intracranial arterial blood flow in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is associated with cognitive performance and amyloid positivity” at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 69th Annual Meeting held in Boston, MA.
Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo has been invited to speak at the upcoming Cognitive Aging Summit III, to be held in Bethesda, Maryland. Convened by the National Institute on Aging, the Summit will bring together experts in a variety of research fields to discuss the most cutting edge advances in our understanding of resilience and reserve. The long-term objective of the Summit is to improve cognitive health by continuing to raise awareness of the importance of research in cognitive aging and the factors that may influence resilience to impairment and the development of cognitive reserve.
Congratulations to Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo! He has won an Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) in recognition of his major research contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior in the U.S.
Lena Law has been selected to present her work titled “Chronotropic response and cognitive function in a cohort at risk for Alzheimer’s disease” at the 14th Annual Research in the Rotunda: A Showcase of UW Undergraduate Research event on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the State Capitol. Lena is one of only six students to be selected to represent UW-Madison at the event. Each year, approximately 120 students representing the 26 UW System schools and colleges present at Research in the Rotunda, and have the opportunity to meet with state legislators and officials.
These include a UW2020 grant to Sterling Johnson Josh Coon, and Corinne Engelman, and more recently an NIA R01 to Prof Engelman.
Congratulations to Dr. Okonkwo! He has recieved the National Academy of Neuropsychology’s 2016 Early Career Award.
Stephanie Schultz received an award for Best Poster in the clinical category at the Department of Medicine 9th Annual Research Day for her poster “Longevity gene KLOTHO alters APOE4-related amyloid deposition & cortical thinning: Findings from WRAP and WADRC.”
Elizabeth Boots was selected to present her research findings entitled, “Occupational Complexity, Cognitive Reserve, and White Matter Hyperintensities: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention” during a press conference at the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2016 (AAIC® 2016) in Toronto, Canada.
Congratulations to Dr. Okonkwo on recieving the Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Award!
Congratulations to Kate Sprecher, graduate student in the Neuroscience Training Program, who has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship (F31). Her innovative project, “Identifying sleep targets for intervention and detection of preclinical AD” will utilize hdEEG to study the effects of sleep abnormalities on the development of Alzheimer’s pathology among middle-aged participants enrolled in the Wisconsin ADRC.
Annie M. Racine, a graduate student in the NTP/NPP has received a prestigious Merit Award for the 2015 Organization for Human Brain Mapping Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. Only the top rated, peer-reviewed trainee abstracts were selected for this competitive award, which Ms. Racine received based on the hard work and quality science demonstrated in her abstract: CSF Markers of Neural Injury Predict Longitudinal Brain Aß Burden in Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease.
Sara Berman received an award for best poster in the clinical category at the Department of Medicine Annual Research Day for her work on neurovascular dysfunction in the AD continuum. Sara is a student in UW’s MD/PhD program and currently a first year graduate student in Neuroscience.
Stephanie Schultz received an award for best poster in the clinical category at the Department of Medicine Annual Research Day for her poster “Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies the association between a polygenic risk score and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.” Congratulations Stephanie!
Congratulations to Andrew Merluzzi (Neuroscience and Public Policy), who was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
Barbara Bendlin is an assistant professor at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Her research group uses High-Throughput Computing to study cognitive impairment associated with brain aging and Alzheimer’s Disease. Bendlin’s studies involve large multi-modal data sets from hundreds of subjects. Read more… website
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2014 (AAIC® 2014) in Copenhagen featured a number of oral and poster presentations from WADRC lab members. Oral presentations included:
Additionally, Erika Starks served as a session co-chair for the “Biomarkers: Molecular Metabolic Markers of Dementia” session.
Congratulations to Ozioma Okonkwo! Okonkwo received the Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium 2014 Best Oral Presentation Award for his oral presentation Physical activity modifies Alzheimer’s biomarkers in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease: Evidence from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention.
Congratulations to Stephanie Schultz! Schultz received the AAIC Overall Best Student Poster Competition Award for her poster Subjective memory complaints, cortical thinning, and cognitive dysfunction in middle-aged adults at risk for AD: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention.
MADISON, Wis. —The University of Wisconsin-Madison took a big step forward in Alzheimer’s research this week when the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provided seed funds for a private non-profit organization to work with the university to speed the translation of data from the nation’s largest study of people with a family history of Alzheimer’s into possible diagnostic tools and therapies.
The Wisconsin Technology Innovation Initiative (Wi2) will work with researchers at the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), which has been following study participants for more than a decade.
The WRAP study, undertaken by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, an academic center within the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), is the nation’s largest study of healthy relatives of persons with Alzheimer’s disease.
People with family history are a vital part of the study group because they are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those with no family history.
Starting in 2001, the WRAP study has grown to include some 1,500 individuals. Roughly 10 percent of the study cohort is African-American or Hispanic.
The annual data have been growing for almost 14 years. The dataset has reached a tipping point because the study has matured and looking back at a decade of one person’s data can show a comprehensive picture of what’s happened over that time. Having some 1,500 study participants makes that retrospective look even clearer.
“The potential impact of the fund honors the contributions of participants in the WRAP study who volunteered in hopes of helping researchers around the world develop better diagnostics and treatments,” said Rick Moss, senior associate dean of basic research, biotechnology and graduate studies at the SMPH, and chief science officer at Wi2. “So many participants are involved so that they might be the last generation to be affected by this disease, and we would like nothing better than to make that a reality.”
“Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before the symptoms first appear. Our research is suggesting that we can detect the pathology in midlife,” said Sterling Johnson, principle investigator of the WRAP study and professor in the department of medicine at the UW. “This may be the optimal time frame for testing promising new therapies to prevent or slow the progression of this devastating disease. The seed funding will greatly accelerate the process of making discoveries and translating those discoveries into practice.”
This was posted on the UWSMPH website recently
Congratulations to Stephanie Schultz for her winning poster “Subjective memory complaints, cortical thinning, and cognitive dysfunction in middle-aged adults at risk for AD: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention.” Steph’s poster was one of the top 5 in the Clinical/Other category.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Boots for her winning poster “Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with brain structure, cognition, and mood in a middle-aged cohort at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.” Liz’s poster was one of the top 5 in the Basic/Translational category.
Congratulations to Christopher Nicholas for his winning poster “Posteromedial hyperactivation during episodic recognition among people with memory decline: Findings from the WRAP study.” Chris’s poster was one of the top 5 in the Clinical/Other category.
Dr. Okonkwo has received the 2014 New Investigator Program Award. The title of his project is “Aerobic Exercise for AD Prevention in At-Risk Middle-Aged Adults”.
The division of Geriatrics has named Dr. Sterling Johnson the Jean R. Finley Professor in Geriatrics and Dementia.
Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo received a 5-year NIH/NIA Beeson K23 grant to examine the prototypical pattern of brain changes that characterize cognitively-healthy individuals who would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. His project will also investigate how participation in cognitively-stimulating activities alters the association between early brain changes and future cognitive decline.
Dr. Chris Nicholas, clinical neuropsychologist, has joined the Wisconsin ADRC brain imaging group as a VA fellow.
We bid farewell to Alex Birdsill, leaving for grad school at UT-Austin. Good luck Alex!
Research specialist Alex Birdsill, has been accepted to the Clinical Psychology Program at UT-Austin. Alex joined the lab in 2011 to conduct data analysis on the Metabolic Syndrome study. While here he wrote two first-author papers on age-related brain changes and the effects of metabolic risk factors on cognitive function and brain health. He assisted on several other projects, resulting in more that 5 additional co-authorships. We wish him the best of luck in this next stage of his career!
Congratulations to Martina Ly for her winning poster “Midlife Measurements of White Matter Microstruture Predict Subsequent Regional White Matter Atrophy in Health Adults”. Martina’s poster was one of the top 5 in the Clinical/Translational Research category. Martina’s work presented in this poster was recently published in the journal “Human Brain Mapping”.
This is an overview of neuroimaging reseearch being conducted at the UWSMPH with an emphasis on AD.
Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD, was promoted to Assistant Professor, effective December 1, 2012. Congratulations!
The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) would like to invite you to our 11th Annual November Lecture on Alzheimer’s disease. This educational program is free and open to the community.
“Your Aging Brain and Alzheimer’s Disease: What’s Normal and What to Worry About”
Research updates and information on clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease will also be provided.
Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
No RSVP is necessary
Location: Blackhawk Church
9620 Brader Way
Middleton, WI 53562
CEU Credits Available: (.3 units)
Local Alzheimer’s Resource Fair and Light Refreshments: 5-6pm
Special thanks to our 2012 program sponsors:
Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center,
Alzheimer’s & Demencia Alliance, Alzheimer’s Association,
Azura Memory Care, Coventry Village, Lighthouse of Sun Prairie,and Midwest Home Care
Every day, more than 5 million Americans face Alzheimer’s disease, over 15 million people provide care for these individuals and millions of family members, friends and co-workers wish for a future without Alzheimer’s disease. Joining others across the country, Dr. Barbara Bendlin and Alex Birdsill are participating in The Longest DayTM, a sunrise-to-sunset relay event to raise funds for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Connect with the cause via the Alzheimer’s Association website.
Sterling Johnson, PhD, was promoted to full Professor, effective July 1st, 2012. Congratulations!
Dr. Ben Austin and research specialist Alex Birdsill were recognized for their outstanding research projects at the Department of Medicine Research Day. Their research posters made the top ten posters from over one hundred entries.
Dr. Barbara Bendlin received an R01 grant to study early brain changes in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Her grant will focus on determining the extent to which myelinated axons are damaged at early disease stages.
Congratulations to Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo for his newly awarded Diversity Supplement grant from NIH. His project is titled “Neuromorphometric alterations in middle-aged adults with family history of Alzheimer’s disease: Relationship to genetic variants” and will characterize the earliest neuromorphometric changes that accompany Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, he will will investigate the potential influence of candidate genetic variants on these neuromorphometric changes. The project proposes to use sophisticated, yet clinically-available and readily deployable neuroimaging data and analytic tools.
Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD, has been awarded a 2-year pilot grant to identify antecedent biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in cerebrospinal fluid. The project proposes a novel and powerful approach for the identification of cerebrospinal biomarkers using a combination of mass spectrometry, advanced neuroimaging, and machine learning, to potentially tag AD in its earliest preclinical stages.
Congratulations to Sterling Johnson, PhD, for the funding of his R01 grant titled: “The Effect of Calorie Restriction on Brain Aging”. Dr. Johnson’s grant is focused on determining the effect of caloric restriction on brain morphology, cognitive function, and fine motor function. Additionally, Dr. Johnson will study the mechanisms that underlie the protective effects of caloric restriction on brain and cognitive function.
Dr. Auriel Willette, who completed his PhD in the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison has taken a new position at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore MD. He will be continuing his research on caloric restriction and working with esteemed researcher in aging, Mark Mattson.
Dr. Catherine Gallagher, MD, was awarded a Merit Review Award from the Veteran’s Administration. Her 4-year project will use brain imaging measures to understand interactions between fronto-striatal and fronto-cerebellar networks in Parkinson disease and to relate these measures to the nature, severity, and laterality of motor and cognitive symptoms. Congratulations!
Johnson and Singh together with Rick Chappell, Maritza Dowling, and Cindy Carlsson received a 3 year grant to start in January 2012 from the Wisconsin Partnership Program to study machine learning methods for better prediction of AD. The goal is to study MCI and asymptomatic people at risk for AD with multimodal prediction methods. This research is significant because it will provide tools for better prediction using all available information; the project will also improve clinical trial designs by reducing sample sizes needed to determine whether a drug has efficacy allowing drug discovery to occur quicker and at less cost. The team area all investigators in the Wisconsin ADRC.
Brain Team Extreme recently dominated the fields in the annual UW Hospital and Clinics 6th Annual Employee Kickball tournament. Coming close(ish) to winning, they’re looking forward to training for next year’s gold!
Dr. Bendlin was recently interviewed by WKOW Channel 27 regarding her current research study examining biomarkers for AD in asymptomatic people at risk. Click here to read the article
Feb 5, 2011. Sterling Johnson was the program chair for the 39th Annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society held in Boston Feb 2-5, 2011 – a program that (despite the treacherous weather) was a remarkable success! Presenters in this year’s program were many distinguished researchers doing cutting-edge neuropsychological research – including Randy Buckner, Jeremy Schmahmann, Daniel Schacter, Mark Bondi, Sue Corkin, Robin Morris, Reisa Sperling, Keith Yeates, Stephen Rao and many others. Barbara Bendlin, PhD and Michele Ries PhD were program committee members, and Michele presented data regarding brain correlates of Alzheimer-related changes in self-awareness in the Symposium: Self and Awareness in Dementia. Congratulations to all involved on an outstanding conference!
The Wisconsin Quarterly, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health alumni magazine describes the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention and some of our recent findings in the 2010 Fall issue in an article entitled Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry Shines Light on Earliest Signs of Disease
The WRAP project received network television coverage on ABC’s Good Morning America. See the video here
The WRAP cohort is the largest group of asymptomatic people at risk for late onset AD. The cohort is studied with observational assessments including cognition, laboratory and imaging procedures. The WRAP project is described in more detail on the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute website.
WADRC researchers, Dr. Barbara Bendlin, and Dr. Michele Ries, took part in a cross-country bicycle relay to raise awareness for the need for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research. The event, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, resulted in the collection of 110,000 signatures for a petition asking Congress to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority.
Congratulations to Donald McLaren, PhD! Dr. McLaren has just completed his PhD and will be moving to MGH/Harvard for a post-doc starting Sept 1. Donald has made a huge impact on the lab and will be missed. No doubt he will have many successes at MGH and will certainly become a vital member of Reisa Sperling’s lab, just as he has been for us. We wish you well Donald!
Auriel Willette, PhD, just won the new investigator award from the Institute on Aging and will receive the award at the IOA Colloquium in September. This was based largely on his heroic work and several publications on the rhesus diet study.
Guofan Xu, MD/PhD was awarded a new investigator award from the Alzheimer’s Association based on a brilliant idea he had for improving the quantification of ASL perfusion. He now joins the elite crowd including Dr. Bendlin and Dr. Ries as recipients of this very competitive award.
Very Long Poly-T lengths of TOMM40 523, a gene recently discovered to influence the age of onset in Alzheimer’s disease, also appears to be correlated with performance on memory exams and Posterior Cingulate gray matter volume in healthy late middle-aged adults. We are excited to share details this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD).
Check out the ICAD press release, as well as articles from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Bloomberg news.
In the News:
Thanks to all who joined our team for the 2009 Alzheimer’s Walk, and thanks for all who helped!
Barbara Bendlin, PhD and Michele Ries, PhD each received a new investigator grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. Dr. Bendlin’s study will focus on early white matter changes and cardiovascular risk factors in people who are already at high risk for AD. Dr. Ries is studying apathy in people with MCI to determine if this neurobehavioral feature adds predictive value and whether it is associated with a characteristic pattern of brain function. Congratulations to Drs. Bendlin and Ries!
Support the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk ‘09, October 3rd, by joining the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s team. Join our team or make a donation!
The site was built using Ruby on Rails, a flexible and powerful framework which makes it quick and easy to update, and the UW Department of Medicine has provided bandwidth. Finally, many thanks to Madison graphic designer Denis at 38one.com for the work on design and layout.
Writing July 10 in the journal Science, a team of researchers at UW-Madison, the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital reports that a nutritious but reduced-calorie diet blunts aging and significantly delays the onset of such age-related disorders as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and brain atrophy. UW Press release
Barbara Bendlin PhD, a scientist in the Wisconsin ADRC was awarded a pilot grant through the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (link to ICTR). Her project will focus on the relationship between preclinical white matter changes in people at risk for AD and CSF biomarkers.
Researchers announce the creation of Wisconsin’s very first Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (W-ADRC). The Wisconsin ADRC is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). The Wisconsin ADRC will be a research facility based out of the UW-Madison’s Department of Geriatrics in the School of Medicine and Public Health, and the Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. The Wisconsin ADRC was the only new facility to be recognized by the NIH with this award for the funding year of 2009.
This grant award will further fund the research of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Memory Program’s (WCMP) former efforts in areas of Alzheimer’s disease treatment and prevention research. The major focus of the Wisconsin ADRC is on preclinical and early diagnosis and progression of AD. It will expand the scientific objectives of the NIH-funded Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), significantly enhancing care of Wisconsin residents suffering from the devastations of AD.
The major focus of the Wisconsin ADRC, and perhaps the most important characteristic of this Center, is to identify novel diagnostic tests and potential therapies for the prevention of AD at a stage when patients have no clinical symptoms (preclinical stage). It is anticipated that such therapies will help reduce the burgeoning number of individuals projected to suffer from AD.
While most function Centers are based in the fields of neurology and psychology, this is the first time in NIH history that a geriatrics-based ADRC has been funded. The Wisconsin ADRC will build upon the remarkable strengths of the University of Wisconsin and the work of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Memory Program to provide state-of-the-art resources, infrastructure, and expertise in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related illnesses.
Drs. Cathy Gallagher and Michele Ries were recently awarded pilot grants through the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Gallagher’s project will focus on MRI measurements of basal ganglia perfusion and connectivity in Parkinson disease. Dr. Ries’ project will use functional MRI to examine alterations in brain physiology relating to impaired awareness of memory deficit in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Sterling Johnson has been honored by three leading Alzheimers associations as one of 3 recipients of the Tomorrow’s Leader Award for 2008. The award from the Alzheimer’s Association, Cure Alzhimers Fund and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute will help support our research on cognitive disorders of memory and self-awareness. Thanks again to these organizations for their support!
Congratulations to Sterling Johnson for being awarded a Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) from the White House! The PECASE is a prestigous award that “represents the highest honor that any young scientist or engineer can receive in the United States.” —whitehouse.gov
Dr. Johnson “… was chosen in recognition of his work on neural disorders related to aging and brain damage . Using brain imaging techniques, he studies patient recovery from traumatic brain injuries and is working toward early identification of Alzheimer’s disease prior to the onset of irreversible damage.” —UW News