John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD

PHILADELPHIA— John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, an internationally renowned researcher in Alzheimer’s disease with a decades-long record of ground-breaking discoveries, has received the Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer’s Research from the Alzheimer’s Association, the leading nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research worldwide.

Trojanowski, the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., M.D. Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received the award this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2018 in Chicago. The conference is the world’s largest gathering of international researchers focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

A member of the Penn faculty since 1981, Trojanowski’s research focuses on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), frontotemporal degeneration, and related disorders. Among his numerous contributions to advancing knowledge of neurodegenerative disease, he has made a number of seminal discoveries of the major disease proteins in these disorders and shown that their aggregation and cell-to-cell spread is a common mechanism underlying each of the conditions. His extensive research record has helped to identify a number of targets for potential drug therapies and treatments.

Most recently, he and colleagues found that four specific proteins co-exist in varying degrees in all neurodegenerative disorders and may, in combination, synergistically increase disease severity in many patients. The prevalence of these co-pathologies suggests that each disease may ultimately require combination therapy targeting the multiple disease proteins and not just a single therapy targeting the primary pathological protein of a given neurodegenerative disease, such as deposits of tau for Alzheimer’s disease, as in common today.

Trojanowski and Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, his wife and co-Penn Alzheimer’s researcher, each rank among the top percentages of researchers in Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease based on citation figures for their peer-reviewed publications. In addition to his research findings, through mentoring and related activities, Trojanowski has played a leading role in building Penn into an international center of neurodegenerative disease-research excellence.

He has received more than a dozen prominent awards and honors worldwide for his scientific contributions and served on numerous NIH and professional working groups, advisory boards, and study sections. Trojanowski earned his undergraduate degree from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and then obtained his MD/PhD from Tufts University, before completing residency and additional training in pathology and neuropathology at Harvard and Penn. He holds many leadership positions at Penn including director of the Institute on Aging.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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