Lead Scientific Investigators
Michael W. Weiner, M.D.,
Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology at UCSF
Scott Mackin, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF
Rachel L. Nosheny, Ph.D.
Brain Health Registry Co-Investigator and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF
Michael Weiner, MD, is a Professor in Residence in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, which is the largest observational study in the world concerning Alzheimer's Disease. He is the former Director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. After graduating from the Johns Hopkins University in 1961, he obtained his MD from SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York in 1965, and he completed his internship and residency in Medicine from Mt. Sinai Hospital in 1967. From 1967-1968, Dr. Weiner completed a residency and clinical fellowship in Metabolism from Yale-New Haven Medical Center. In 1970, he completed a research fellowship in Nephrology from Yale University School of Medicine and a research fellowship in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin Institute for Enzyme Research in 1972, followed by a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine, Renal Section from the University of Wisconsin Institute in 1972. In 1974 he became an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at Stanford University, and in 1980 he became an Associate Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at UCSF. In 1983, he established the Magnetic Resonance Unit at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, which became the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases in 2000. In 1990, he became a Professor of Radiology, Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology at UCSF.
Dr. Weiner’s research activities involve the development and utilization of MRI and PET for investigating and diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases. In 1980, Dr. Weiner was one of the first to perform MRS on an intact animal, and subsequently pursued his goal to develop MRI/S as a clinical tool. In 1988, his group used MRS to show that the amino acid N acetyl aspartate (NAA), a marker of healthy nerve cells, is reduced in the epileptic focus in the brain. In 2004, Dr. Weiner's group reported that reduced NAA predicts development of Alzheimer's disease in mildly impaired elderly subjects. During the past 25 years he has worked to develop and optimized the use of MRI, PET, and blood-based biomarker methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Also, Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on monitoring effects of treatment to slow progressions in Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting Alzheimer’s disease early in patients who are not demented, but risk subsequent development of dementia. He is the Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a 14-year national longitudinal study of over 1500 subjects which is aimed at validating biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease at 60 sites across the USA and Canada for cognitive testing, MRI, PET, and lumbar puncture. He also launched the BrainHealthRegistry.org which is an internet-based registry with the overall goal of accelerating development of effective treatments for brain diseases. This website registry recruits, screens, and longitudinally monitors brain function on more than 60,000 participants. His overall research goals are to participate in the development of effective treatments and methods for early detection of Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders. Recently he has focused on developing inexpensive, scalable, tools to identify normal elders at risk for cognitive decline and dementia, and to provide the Brain Health Registry software to facilitate the work of other investigators. Dr. Weiner has mentored over 120 postdoctoral fellows, has authored 821 peer reviewed research papers and 62 book chapters. He holds 19 separate research grants. He has received numerous honors including the Middleton Award for outstanding research in the Veterans Administration, the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Award for research from the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Potemkin Award for research in Picks Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders from the American Association of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation.
Dr. Mackin is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSF School of Medicine where he has served as Principal Investigator for six grants from the National Institutes of Health. His research work has focused on a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, dementia, late life depression, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Mackin has spearheaded pioneering work in the assessment of cognitive functioning pre and post treatment, and has closely examined the neuropsychiatric symptoms of underlying neurodegenerative diseases with the aim of more fully understanding the range of symptoms that can arise from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Dr. Nosheny is a neuroscientist with molecular/cellular and clinical research experience focused on age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, and AIDS Dementia. After receiving her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where she identified important synaptic and intercellular signaling abnormalities in mouse models of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Since joining the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) in 2012, her research efforts have focused on novel strategies to identify risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, using Brain Health Registry and Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) data. In 2016 she lead the development of the Study Partner Portal within BHR, a novel tool for engaging with and collecting information from study/care partners of BHR participants. A major goal of Dr. Nosheny’s current research is to validate the data collected from the Study Partner Portal in order to facilitate Alzheimer’s and aging clinical research studies and clinical trials, as well as to facilitate screening of older adults for cognitive problems in various healthcare settings.
Affiliations & Partners
University of California San Francisco
The leading university exclusively focused on health, UCSF is driven by the idea that when the best research, the best education and the best patient care converge, great breakthroughs are achieved. In partnering with the Brain Health Registry, UCSF is continuing its mission to support pioneering research with a clear mission, a distinct focus, and a strong potential to translate findings into concrete new treatments and therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
NCIRE The Veterans Health Research Institute
The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading nonprofit research institute in the United States devoted to advancing Veterans health research and understanding and meeting the health challenges facing all generations of military veterans. Partnering with the San Francisco VA Medical Center and UCSF, their mission is to discover and develop effective, safe and practical treatments for military injuries and diseases, and deploy them worldwide. NCIRE is dedicated to continuing research in Veterans health, focusing in particular on post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases among others.
Cogstate is a multi-faceted cognitive assessment and training company, focused on the development and commercialization of rapid, computerized tests of cognition (brain function). Driven by more than a decade of peer-reviewed scientific research, Cogstate has created and commercialized computer assessment programs for assessing, monitoring and improving cognition. These tests are universal, easy to use and commercially viable.
Lumosity is the leading online and mobile brain training program that trains core cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. Lumosity ’s games are based on the latest discoveries in neuroscience, with continuing independent third-party studies being conducted by researchers around the world. Through their Human Cognition Project, Lumosity has built the world ’s largest and fastest growing database on human cognitive performance.
MemTrax is an on-line and mobile enabled screening assessment for early short term memory changes. Motivated by the need for a rapid and accurate short term memory screening tool for a variety of clinical and research applications, MemTrax provides the individual, researcher or clinician efficient and accurate data that can be tracked or trended over time. No special training is required to administer the screen.
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Founded in 1998 by co-chairmen Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) provides funding to leading scientists who are conducting the most promising, innovative Alzheimer’s drug research worldwide. The ADDF focuses on translating the knowledge we have gained about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease into drugs to conquer it. They support an underfunded area— preclinical drug development and early-stage clinical trials of potential drug targets. These projects hold great promise, but also great risk, and most are not far enough along in the drug development pipeline to attract financial support from the pharmaceutical industry, federal funders, or other major partners. By assuming the risk and bridging the critical gap in funding between basic research and human clinical trials, the ADDF enables leading scientists to pursue cutting-edge research projects that would otherwise go unexplored.
Larry L. Hillblom Foundation
The Larry L. Hillblom Foundation was established in 1996. By virtue of Mr. Hillblom’s will, substantially all of the Foundation’s funding supports medical research within the State of California, with particular attention to research programs conducted by the University of California. The Foundation supports basic scientific research, clinical research, and research related to patient self-care and management.
Global Alzheimer's Platform Foundation (GAP)
The GAP Foundation is establishing a standing global trial-ready platform to drive quality, efficiency, and innovation in Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials, seeking to reduce clinical testing cycle times by two years or more and to achieve greater uniformity in trial populations. It is doing that by building large, well-characterized trial-ready cohorts, a network of certified high-performance clinical trial sites, and an adaptive proof-of-concept trial mechanism.
Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry is an online community of people who are willing and ready to take part in prevention research. It provides regular email updates on the latest Alzheimer’s research happenings, scientific advances and overall brain health. The Registry sends notices and information about upcoming prevention trials and how you can participate based on your interest. The Registry is open to anyone 18 and older, of all races and ethnicities, with or without a family history of the disease, who are committed to ending Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch
The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch is a free, easy-to-use clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies. Their continuously updated database of 130+ Alzheimer’s clinical trials includes both pharmacological (drug) and non-pharmacological (non-drug) studies being conducted at nearly 500 trial sites across the country.
Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network
The Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN) is a big data community for cohort discovery and data exploration that promotes data sharing among a federated, global network of data partners who are studying Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It is a collaborative project that provides researchers around the globe access to clinical, genetic, and imaging data on Alzheimer’s disease from hundreds of thousands of subject participants through compelling and intuitive graphical user interfaces. Led by Dr. Arthur Toga, Director of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) at the University of Southern California, GAAIN’s goal is to transform the way researchers work together to answer fundamental questions related to understanding the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
To learn more and use GAAIN, visit http://www.gaain.org.
UCSF Memory & Aging Center
The UCSF Memory and Aging Center was founded to provide the highest quality of care for individuals with cognitive problems, to conduct research on causes and cures for degenerative brain diseases, and to educate health professionals, patients and their families. The Center conducts a number of research studies and clinical trials. With both entities housed within the same academic and medical institutions, the Brain Health Registry and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center are planning a wide range of collaborative activities.
Monell Chemical Senses Center
The Monell Center is the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research on the senses of taste and smell. Monell’s long-standing interdisciplinary model was itself a scientific experiment when the Center was founded more than 48 years ago. Today, Monell remains a nexus where outstanding scientists from many disciplines work together to focus on a common objective: understanding the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell and how these senses relate to human health. The Center’s integrated research approaches range from basic molecular biology to behavioral neuroscience, from cellular biology to comparative ecology, from analytical chemistry to clinical work with human patients.
Keck Medicine of USC
Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. It is home to one of the nation’s leading multidisciplinary neuroscience programs, offering treatment for conditions of the brain, spine and nervous system. As one of the most comprehensive programs in the region, USC Neurosciences is comprised of world-renowned specialists who not only lead in their respective fields of neurological surgery and neurology, but also advance what is taught and practiced throughout the world.
Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA
The Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA (UCLA-Easton Center) is a comprehensive research center focused on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. The Center is named in honor of the mother of Jim Easton, a UCLA benefactor and partner to the Center. Jim lost his mother to AD. The theme of the Center is the therapeutic imperative, focusing on the overwhelming need for earlier (pre-dementia) diagnosis and new therapeutic agents that slow the course of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Since granting its first Doctor of Medicine degrees in 1975, Alpert Medical School has become a national leader in medical education and biomedical research. By attracting first-class physicians and researchers to Rhode Island over the past three decades, the Medical School and its seven affiliated teaching hospitals have radically improved the state's health care environment, from health care policy to patient care. The Medical School is a component of Brown’s Division of Biology and Medicine, which also includes the Program in Biology. Together with Brown's seven affiliated teaching hospitals, the collective research enterprise in the life and health sciences attracts $169 million in sponsored research funding per year.
Founded in 1844, Butler Hospital is the state's only non-profit, free-standing psychiatric hospital providing adults, seniors and adolescents specialized assessment and treatment for all major psychiatric illnesses and substance abuse. Butler is the major affiliated teaching hospital for psychiatry and behavioral health of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. It is the flagship hospital for its Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, which has been recognized by its peers as one of the top ten in the US. Butler is the major training site and the base hospital for the Brown University General Residency in Psychiatry. Many physicians and psychologists at Butler are also part of the Brown Institute for Brain Science and participate in exciting clinical research initiatives with this world-renowned center for neuroscience. A national leader in the development of acute psychiatric and substance abuse treatment, Butler is involved in a variety of research efforts which has earned it a national reputation as a major teaching and research facility.
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is an international leader in virtually every area of medicine and has been the site of pioneering breakthroughs that have improved lives around the world. A major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, BWH has a legacy of excellence that continues to grow year after year. Brigham and Women’s Health Care – the parent corporation for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization – includes 150 outpatient practices with over 1,200 physicians. We serve patients from New England, throughout the United States, and from 120 countries around the world.
Massachusetts General Hospital
The third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest hospital in New England, Mass General continues its tradition of excellence today. Mass General has consistently placed among the top hospitals on the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll since the survey began in 1990. In 2015, Mass General was named #1 in the nation based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in 16 clinical specialties. In 2013, Mass General was also redesignated a Magnet hospital, the highest honor for nursing excellence awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is a unique and exciting concept in medicine: a medical center dedicated solely to the pursuit of more effective treatments for brain diseases and to the provision of state-of-the-art care for patients affected by these diseases and their families.
Our world-class experts can help manage your symptoms and improve your function so you can enjoy the best possible quality of life. Our center is a part of Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked among the nation's leading hospitals.