20 April 2009. It is with deep sadness that we inform the Alzheimer research community of the passing of Anne Cataldo, who directed the Laboratories for Molecular Neuropathology at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts. Cataldo died on April 13 at University of Massachusetts Medical Center after a month of struggle with sudden complications from a blood immune disorder, according to a McLean administrator. “I have been friends with Anne for almost 20 years, but her death came as a total shock,” said Stephen Vincent of Athena Diagnostics, Inc.
Alzforum readers know Cataldo from her research on the cell biology of Alzheimer disease and Down syndrome. Cataldo was one of the first scientists to observe dysregulation of neuronal autophagy and lysosomal protein degradation in these diseases (Cataldo et al., 1994). She published on this topic early on with her husband, Peter Paskevich, as a co-author (Cataldo et al., 1996). Cataldo continued to advance this line of research in extended collaborations with her former postdoctoral adviser Ralph Nixon at the Nathan S. Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York.
With her autophagy research, Cataldo leaves a lasting scientific legacy because this research topic is beginning to flourish widely in the field (e.g., Jaeger and Wyss-Coray, 2009) just as Cataldo herself had to end her life’s work; 40 of the topic’s 51 papers in AD were published since 2005. Cataldo also studied the effects of presenilin mutations in familial AD (Cataldo et al., 2004) and, more recently, APP signaling (see ARF conference story; Chen et al., 2006; Laifenfeld et al., 2007).
“Dr. Cataldo will not only be remembered for her originality, technical skill, and accomplishments as an investigator, but also for her enthusiasm, warmth, and creativity,” wrote Scott Rauch, president of McLean, in an e-mail announcement.
At Alzforum, Cataldo served on the Scientific Advisory Board in 2006 and as a friendly source to its reporters and editors. Beyond those who knew her personally, many scientists will remember Cataldo from her plenary lecture at the 2004 ICAD conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cataldo is survived by her mother, her husband, two siblings, and two stepchildren, among other family. For more detail, see obituary. The Alzforum editors invite all who knew Anne to pay tribute to her life or share a memory via the comment box on this page.—Gabrielle Strobel.