McKnight scientists, board members discuss clinical efforts to prevent memory loss

Published: June 25th, 2010

Category: MBI Announcements

Thomas Foster, Ph.D., the Evelyn F. McKnight chair for brain research in memory loss at the College of Medicine; Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., chair of the department of neuroscience; and McKnight trustee J. Lee Dockery, M.D., a former interim and executive associate dean of the College of Medicine, talk for a moment in between tours at UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.

Thomas Foster, Ph.D., the Evelyn F. McKnight chair for brain research in memory loss at the College of Medicine; Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., chair of the department of neuroscience; and McKnight trustee J. Lee Dockery, M.D., a former interim and executive associate dean of the College of Medicine, talk for a moment in between tours at UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.

Researchers from McKnight Brain Research Foundation-supported institutes at the University of Miami, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Arizona recently gathered at the first such brain institute ever established: the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida.

After a welcome from Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., executive director of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute, scientists and McKnight board members visited labs and learned about programs related to magnetic resonance neuroimaging, radiosurgery and deep brain stimulation surgery, cell and tissue analysis, gene therapy, exercise and the unique Oak Hammock-University of Florida partnership.

The occasion was the McKnight Brain Research Foundation’s third Inter-Institutional meeting. Leading neuroscientists and clinicians discussed efforts to stave off age-related memory loss and measures to begin human clinical trials directed at age-related memory decline.

“Research has provided clues to the causes for memory decline,” said Thomas Foster, Ph.D., the Evelyn F. McKnight chair for brain research in memory loss at UF’s McKnight Brain Institute and the College of Medicine. “One goal is to use this information to predict and prevent cognitive decline prior to clinical signs and symptoms.”

Meeting with a group associated with the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, neurosurgery professor Frank Bova, Ph.D., (right) talks about UF efforts to perfect radiosurgery systems to noninvasively remove cancerous brain tumors, and imaging systems that precisely map the brain for delicate brain surgery operations such as deep brain stimulation.

Meeting with a group associated with the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, neurosurgery professor Frank Bova, Ph.D., (right) talks about UF efforts to perfect radiosurgery systems to noninvasively remove cancerous brain tumors, and imaging systems that precisely map the brain for delicate brain surgery operations such as deep brain stimulation.

Foster moderated a group of medical doctors who will discuss how to bring diagnostics and treatments for age-related memory loss to the clinic during one of the sessions.

Also taking part were Eric Reiman, director of the Alzheimer’s disease research program at the University of Arizona and clinical director of the neurogenomics division of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and Ralph Sacco, executive director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Center for Age Related Memory Loss at the University of Miami. Marco Pahor, M.D., the director of the UF Institute on Aging who is leading a National Institutes of Health grant to construct a 40,000-square-foot complex for clinical and translational research; Wajeeh Bajwa, director of clinical affairs and licensing with UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute; and Hubert Fernandez, director of clinical trials for movement disorders at UF, also participated.

“The purpose of the inter-institutional meeting is to bring together the McKnight researchers and share data,” Foster said. “We want to strengthen our collaborations, focus on doing the translational research and ultimately conduct clinical studies to solve problems of learning and memory in aging. We want to be able to successfully treat cognitive loss and decline.”

UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute was named for an endowment established by the foundation in 2000 that with matching funds amounted to $30 million to develop therapies and treatments to preserve memory for a lifetime, no matter how long the lifetime may be.

Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation trustees

Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation trustees

University of Alabama

University of Alabama - Brimingham

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

University of Miami

University of Miami

University of Florida

University of Florida