News Release

Five Penn Medicine researchers and faculty members have been awarded international research grants from the Alzheimer’s Association.





Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD, an associate professor of Neurology, received a 2019 Biomarkers Across Neurodegenerative Diseases (BAND) Program grant for $149,621 over two years for measuring different types of alpha-synuclein and tau oligomers in human-derived bio fluids from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.






Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, PhD, an assistant professor of Neuropsychology in the department of Neurology and director of Cognitive Fitness Programs and Neuropsychological Services at the Penn Memory Center, received a 2019 Alzheimer's Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship (AACSF) Program grant for $139,497 over two years for research and the development of a mobile cognitive assessment tool.






Gabor Egervari, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in Cell and Developmental Biology, received a 2019 Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship (AARF) Program grant of $175,000 over three years for research on ACSS2 and the metabolic-epigenetic axis in Alzheimer's disease.








Laura Wisse, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Radiology, received a 2019 AARF Program grant for $175,000 over three years for research on the etiology and progression of suspected non-Alzheimer’s pathophysiology.








Yuk Yee Leung, PhD, a research assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, received a 2019 BAND Program grant for $150,000 over two years to help fund research on inferring regulatory mechanisms of noncoding genetic variants in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.



César de la Fuente, PhD, an assistant professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Microbiology, in addition to the department of Bioengineering, has been named to the MIT Technology Review annual list of 35 Innovators Under 35. Every year, the media company recognizes a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world. Through his Machine Biology lab, De la Fuente hopes to develop the first computer-made tools to study biological systems and medicines to treat disease. Among other things, his engineering approach aims to find proteins implicated in psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety to modify them to affect brain function and behavior.


Gabor Egervari, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Cell and Development Biology, is a 2019 recipient of a Brody Family Medical Trust Fund fellowship for medical research in incurable diseases, given by the Philadelphia Foundation. The fellowship will fund two years of research on brain changes from excessive alcohol consumption. His research focuses on modifications that take place when small molecules, generated by the breakdown of alcohol in the liver, are deposited directly onto a complex structure of nuclear proteins and DNA in brain cells called chromatin. These modifications lead to changes in gene activity and, consequently, alcohol-related learning.


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 $7.8 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 $425 million awarded in the 2018 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 Home Care and Hospice Services, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 40,000 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 2018, Penn Medicine provided more than $525 million to benefit our community.

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