Cores and Satellites
Core and Satellite components serve one or more of the following primary grants under the overall leadership of John C. Morris, MD:
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
(Knight ADRC; P50-AG05681; 1985 - present)
Healthy Aging & Senile Dementia
Program Project (HASD; P01-AG03991; 1984 - present)
Antecedent Biomarkers for AD: The Adult Children Study
(ACS; P01-AG26276; 2005 - present)
Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network
(DIAN; U01-AG032438; 2008 - present)
Under the leadership of Director and Principal Investigator, John C. Morris, MD, the Administration Core manages the financial, personnel, and research-related resources of the Center. The Core coordinates grant-related activities, including annual reporting to the National Institute on Aging and other funding sources. All requests to utilize Knight ADRC resources (clinical data, tissue samples, etc.) for research are processed initially through the Core. The Core also coordinates meetings of the Knight ADRC Executive Committee and External Advisory Board.
John C. Morris, MD (Director & Principal Investigator, Core Leader)
Virginia D. Buckles, PhD (Executive Director)
Krista Moulder, PhD (Associate Executive Director)
David Holtzman, MD (Associate Director)
Eugene M. Johnson, Jr., PhD (Associate Director)
An important focus of the Knight ADRC is the differentiation of mild dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) from normal aging. The activities of the African American Outreach Satellite are designed to support this focus by ensuring that the participant pool for the Knight ADRC is appropriately diverse. In close cooperation with the Clinical Core, the African American Outreach Satellite seeks to identify and resolve barriers to research participation for African Americans, particularly those in the mildest stages of DAT. In addition, the Satellite works to provide new information about attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs regarding specific research activities (clinical trials, blood collection for genetic analysis, neuroimaging studies, lumbar puncture for collection of cerebrospinal fluid, autopsy) to enhance understanding and promote committed research participation. The Satellite works closely with the Education Core in fulfilling these objectives.
David . Carr, MD (Director)
The Biomarker Core's mission is to facilitate and support antecedent AD biomarkers research by providing the necessary infrastructure for the collection, storage, and dissemination of fluid (CSF and plasma) samples and associated data. The Core will maintain and grow a repository of fasted CSF and plasma samples for present and future aging and AD biomarker studies, coordinate the distribution of CSF and plasma samples to qualified investigators, and obtain the values for CSF Aß40, Aß42, tau, and ptau181.
Anne M. Fagan, PhD
The Data Management & Statistical Core (DMSC) collects, stores, manages, and analyzes data generated by other Knight ADRC components, especially the Clinical Core. The DMSC works closely with the Administration Core to facilitate access to Knight ADRC-related data by investigators from Washington University and elsewhere. Educating investigators about our data and analytic methods is a particularly important function of the DMSC. The DMSC tracks research recruitment and retention statistics for the Center, providing monthly reports to the Director on progress and areas where more effort is needed.
Chengjie Xiong, PhD
The Clinical Core supports the Knight ADRC by recruiting and enrolling demented and non-demented subjects for comprehensive clinical and cognitive (psychometric) assessments at entry and annually thereafter, obtaining biological specimens and neuroimaging studies, and soliciting autopsy permission. The Core is not clinic-based and there is no billing of the subject or third party payers. All assessments are done for research purposes only; rather than patients, we study subjects in our clinical research office, the Memory and Aging Project (MAP). A particular strength of this Core is its emphasis and expertise in distinguishing the earliest symptomatic stages of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and related conditions from nondemented aging. Core data are entered into the Knight ADRC database that is maintained by the Data Management & Statistics Core.
John C. Morris, MD (Director & Principal Investigator, Core Leader)
Jason Hassenstab, PhD (Psychometrics Leader)
Maria Carroll, MSN, RN, GCNS-BC (Clinical Operations Manager)
Angela Oliver, RN (Assistant Clinical Core Leader)
The Education Core (EC) coordinates educational offerings for all Knight ADRC stakeholders, from our own research participants and their family members, to medical students first learning about Alzheimer's disease, to residents and fellows rotating through the Center, to faculty and staff of the University, to professionals in our community and beyond, and others (including an increasing number of trainees from outside of the United States). The EC also plays a critical bridging role linking the Center to the wider community and other organizations, such as the Alzheimer's Association, that serve the needs of persons with dementia and their families. Much of the success of EC-related activities is derived from the active involvement of personnel from other Cores and components of the Center. For example, the EC works closely with the Clinical Core to recruit and retain participants for our various research studies.
Andrea Denny, JD, MSSW
The Genetics Core (GC) is a repository for DNA, serum and plasma collected from Knight ADRC participants. Blood is drawn on the subject's first visit and every three years thereafter to enable longitudinal studies. These samples are routinely genotyped for the APOE polymorphisms associated with risk for AD. The GC also identifies and characterizes familial cases of dementia. These families are characterized in collaboration with other Knight ADRC cores. The GC sequences known dementia genes in these families and has identified families with PS1 mutations and MAPT mutations. The GC works closely with the Administration and Data Management & Statistics Cores to provide genetic information and samples for use by approved investigators from Washington University and elsewhere.
Carlos Cruchaga, PhD
The Informatics Core is responsible for managing all of the data acquired within DIAN. A centralized database - the Central Neuroimaging Data Archive (CNDA) - has been deployed to store the data and make it available to investigators in a user-friendly manner. Once uploaded, the data reside in quarantine until passing several rounds of quality control checks. Once released from quarantine, the data are made available to DIAN investigators via a secure user-friendly web interface. The Core also makes available twice yearly releases of prepared, anonymized data sets. The Informatics Core maintains close interactions with each of the other cores; regular reports are prepared with the Biostatistics Core and presented to the Administration Core and the DIAN Steering Committee.
Dan Marcus, PhD
The Neuroimaging Core conducts state-of-the-art imaging studies on Knight ADRC participants, employing structural (MRI), functional (fMRI) and molecular (PET) scanning methods. All Knight ADRC participants undergo a standard set of scans called the Common Anatomical Protocol (CAP). Many also participate in specialized scans for particular studies. An important goal of the Core is to obtain multiple scans to allow comparisons of brain changes in the same individuals over time.
Tammie Benzinger, MD, PhD
Denise Head, PhD (Co-Leader)
Marcus E. Raichle, MD (Co-Leader)
The Neuropathology Core (Neuropath Core) provides neuropathologic diagnoses on all new brain accessions from Knight ADRC subjects using standard diagnostic criteria. The Core's Tissue Resource (TR) component collect, stores and distributes fixed and frozen brain tissue in concert with the Administrative, Genetics, Biostatistics, and Clinical Cores, to support Knight ADRC projects and investigators and outside collaborations that complement in-house research. The Neuropath Core maintains a neuropathology computerized database in concert with the Clinical and Biostatistics Cores. Information stored includes demographic data, diagnoses, quantitative morphometric data, bibliographic information, and data relevant to tissue banking activities of the Tissue Resource component of the Core.
Nigel J. Cairns, PhD, MRCPath
The Rural Education & Outreach Satellite (REOS) disseminates information about Alzheimer's disease for the benefit of lay individuals and professionals residing in rural and semi-rural areas of Missouri and neighboring states. The cornerstone of the REOS is a 3-day mini-residency in dementia diagnosis, treatment and care, called the Clinician Partners Program (CPP). Physicians and other professionals practicing in rural areas are invited to participate in an all-expense-paid training experience.
Andrea Denny, JD, MSSW