Next Tuesday at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held April 1-8 in San Diego, Karen Ashe, Karen Duff, and Bradley Hyman will receive the $100,000 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases. Sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Neurology,” the Potamkin Prize honors researchers for their work in advancing the understanding of AD and related illnesses.
Karen Hsiao Ashe directs the Center for Memory Research and Care at the University of Minnesota, and for her this Prize comes hard on the heels of a MetLife Award she received earlier this year. The Alzforum covers Ashe’s research into the molecular correlates of AD-related learning and memory deficits closely; for her most recent paper on an oligomeric form of Aβ, see Aβ*56 story and discussion. Ashe is now focusing on characterizing a pre-tangle form of tau that might cause memory deficits.
Karen Duff is at the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, which is part of the New York State Office of Mental Health. As has Ashe, Duff has developed several different animal models to study the role of APP/Aβ and of tau in the pathogenesis of AD. Duff has in recent years focused on using these models to test new treatments for neurofibrillary pathology, such as kinase inhibitors and lithium (e.g., Noble et al., 2005), as well as Aβ sequestration approaches.
Brad Hyman is at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown. Though Hyman’s work ranges widely, he is perhaps best known for his early work displaying the damage to the neuronal system that accounts for the behavioral signs of AD, and more recently for his talent in developing clever ways of imaging disease progression in animal models; see Christie et al., 2001). All three scientists collaborate on occasion (see, e.g., Urbanc et al., 2002). Warmest congratulations to the two Karens and Brad!
Funded by the philanthropic Potamkin Foundation, the prize last year went to John Morris at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and Ronald Petersen at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, for their work on early diagnosis of AD.—Gabrielle Strobel, adapted from press releases.
- Noble W, Planel E, Zehr C, Olm V, Meyerson J, Suleman F, Gaynor K, Wang L, LaFrancois J, Feinstein B, Burns M, Krishnamurthy P, Wen Y, Bhat R, Lewis J, Dickson D, Duff K. Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 by lithium correlates with reduced tauopathy and degeneration in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 May 10;102(19):6990-5. PubMed.
- Christie RH, Bacskai BJ, Zipfel WR, Williams RM, Kajdasz ST, Webb WW, Hyman BT. Growth arrest of individual senile plaques in a model of Alzheimer's disease observed by in vivo multiphoton microscopy. J Neurosci. 2001 Feb 1;21(3):858-64. PubMed.
- Urbanc B, Cruz L, Le R, Sanders J, Ashe KH, Duff K, Stanley HE, Irizarry MC, Hyman BT. Neurotoxic effects of thioflavin S-positive amyloid deposits in transgenic mice and Alzheimer's disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Oct 29;99(22):13990-5. PubMed.