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Mission Statement of the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC)

Our Mission:

  • Carry out research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease
  • Act as a local and national resource by providing research subjects, data, and materials to researchers in AD and related disorders
  • Provide training opportunities for clinicians and researchers
  • Educate professionals and the community regarding AD
  • Provide outreach to the diverse San Diego community regarding diagnosis, treatment, and care for persons with AD

We are organized into the following various cores that focus on carrying out our multidisciplinary goals and objectives in accordance with our mission.

Clinical Core: 

The overall objective is to maintain research subjects, clinical resources, and clinical data to support ongoing and proposed research and to assist in the development of new clinical and interdisciplinary research. This core is responsible for performing the annual nursing, neurological, and neuropsychological evaluations of all ADRC participants, as well as refining and evaluating clinical and neuropsychological assessment procedures for accurate identification of MCI and the transition to AD in very mildly impaired subjects. Additionally, this core participates in projects with other ADCs and in multicenter therapeutic drug trials for Alzheimer's disease. The Clinical Core is directed by Douglas Galasko, MD, and David Salmon, Ph.D.

Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ORE) Core:

The overall objective is to utilize a multipronged approach to recruit and retain diverse participants for a wide array of research protocols and disseminate information and education about ADRD through outreach efforts and collaborations with community partners. This team simultaneously works to reach caregivers to provide information about ADRD, access to community resources, and opportunities to participate in ADRC research and offers no-cost Quality of Life Programs that aim to improve emotional and social support for patients and caregivers through support groups and activity-based programs. Our multidisciplinary staff provides valuable education to the professional healthcare community in the form of lectures workshops, in-service training, and conferences offering CMEs. The Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ORE) Core is directed by Guerry M. Peavy, Ph.D., and Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D. 

Neuropathology Core:

The overall objective is to maintain a state of the art Alzheimer's brain bank with well-characterized cases, including Mild Cognitive Impairment and Lewy Body disease. An AD diagnosis can only be conclusively made by examining the brain after death in an autopsy to identify the characteristic plaques and tangles. Autopsy provides valuable information that can educate and enlighten families, physicians, and researchers, who are working to discover more reliable tests for AD. The autopsy results of AD patients who have been followed over time at our ADRC are especially valuable because, in conjunction with the substantial treatment and care histories that are collected, researchers can obtain information essential to the search for effective treatments for AD. This research will contribute to our eventual understanding of the chain of events that leads to AD and related dementias. The Neuropathology Core is directed by Robert Rissman, Ph.D., and Robert Hevner, MD, Ph.D. 

Data Management and Statistics Core (DMSC):

The overall objective is to provide statisticians to collect, store, manage, and analyze data generated by other ADRC components, primarily the Clinical Core. Our team of statisticians provide statistical design and analysis consultation services to ADRC investigators and prepare the ADRC database for routine submission to the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center. Additionally, they educate investigators, trainees, and junior faculty in the principles and use of statistical analysis methodologies. The DMSC is also responsible for developing new statistical methodologies that apply to the analysis of Alzheimer's disease data. The Data Management and Statistics Core (DMSC) is directed by Steve Edland, Ph.D., and Anders Dale, Ph.D. 

Latino Core:

The overall objective of the Latino Core is to facilitate full integration of the growing, yet underserved Latino population into all aspects of the clinical research environment supported by the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). We will work towards this objective with sensitivity to cultural, linguistic and demographic differences between Latino and non-Latino individuals. The Latino Core will work in coordination with the ADRC Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement (ORE) and Clinical Cores to help overcome barriers to Latino participation in Alzheimer's research, which has been disproportionately low to date. The Latino Core is directed by Hector Gonzalez, Ph.D., and Tamar Gollan, Ph.D. 

iPSC Core:

The Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core provides ADRC researchers access to state of the art human cell-based disease modeling strategies from targeted cohorts of subjects participating within the clinical studies of the ADRC. With the understanding that the highest quality of subject-specific cell lines is required to develop innovative cell-based models, the iPSC Core generates, characterizes, and banks primary dermal fibroblasts and iPSCs.  Additionally, the iPSC Core provides hands-on training and disseminates protocols and best practices to support researchers within the ADRC, building on NIA Biospecimen Best Practices for iPSCs. The iPSC Core is directed by Lawrence Goldstein, Ph.D. and Fred Gage, Ph.D. 

Biomarkers Core:

The overarching goals of the Biomarkers Core are to collect, analyze, store, track and share biofluids (plasma, serum, DNA, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)), and brain imaging biomarkers from MRI and PET, while advancing the measurement of standard and novel biomarkers for clinical translational research. This will contribute to the goals of the ADRC by enabling genetic, molecular, and brain structural and biochemical phenotyping of subjects in the Clinical Core. The ADRC and affiliated investigators will apply proposed Amyloid, Tau, and Neurodegeneration (A/T/N) criteria for AD and study novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for AD and ADRD. The Biomarkers Core is directed by Douglas Galasko, MD, and Robert Rissman, Ph.D. 

Administration Core:

The Administrative Core is led by the Director, Associate Directors, and Administrator. James Brewer, MD, Ph.D. is the Director and provides overall leadership, with scientific and administrative input from Associate Directors Douglas Galasko, MD, and David Salmon, Ph.D. Emily Little, MPH, is the Administrator and reports directly to Dr. Brewer. Miss Little is responsible for the administration of Center grants, contracts, finance, operations, human resources, regulatory compliance, and reporting. The Administration Core is directed by James Brewer, MD, Ph.D.