On June 19, our Center, led by the planning committee from Michigan State University, welcomed over 120 researchers, faculty members, and students to Grand Rapids for the third annual Beyond Amyloid Research Symposium. Keynote presentations were led by Dr. Linda Van Eldik, Director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Russell Swerdlow, Director of the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Dr. Van Eldik presented “Targeting Dysregulated Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease” and Dr. Swerdlow presented “Mitochondria and Mitochondrial Cascades in Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Faculty from our three partner institutions also presented their latest research developments: Sami Barmada, MD, PhD of the University of Michigan presented “Atypical Protein Isoforms Driving Neurodegeneration in Frontotemporal Dementia and ALS,” Voyko Kavcic, PhD of Wayne State University presented “Novel Approach for Early Identification of Cognitive Declines in African Americans,” and Nicholas Kanaan, PhD of Michigan State University presented “Connecting Tau Conformations to Mechanisms of Toxicity.”
A poster session accompanied the day with 50 poster presentations ranging in topics from basic science to health disparities. Three poster winners were awarded for their strength in scientific merit including significance, innovation, and potential impact on Alzheimer’s disease research, and general presentation including organization, background, and conclusions. These winners were Tamara Stevenson of the University of Michigan, Ahlam Soliman of Michigan State University, and Nadia Dehghani of the Van Andel Institute.
A highlight of the day were presentations led by four of our junior investigator trainees: Drs. Lenette M. Jones, Sheria Robinson-Lane, Julia Gerson, and DeAnnah Byrd. New to the dementia research field, these four investigators have worked tirelessly for over a year to develop their own dementia-related research projects and presentation skills, under the mentorship of our faculty. It was a joy to see their development and continue to watch their growth in this field.
The Symposium closed with a networking reception for attendees who joined us from near and far.
The next Beyond Amyloid Research Symposium will take place in May 2020 in Ann Arbor.