The Knight ADRC is comprised of the following core components which server one or more of the Center’s primary grants. Click a core’s name to view more information about that particular core.

Administrative Core

Under the leadership of Director and Principal Investigator, David M. Holtzman, 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.

Core Leaders:

David M. Holtzman, MD (Director)
John C. Morris, MD (Co-Director)
Krista Moulder, PhD (Executive Director)
Randall Bateman, MD (Associate Director)
Carlos Cruchaga, PhD (Associate Director)

Biomarker Core

The Biomarker Core was created to establish a biorepository of stem cell models of AD and related dementias.  Human somatic and stem cell models have emerged as a powerful system for modeling the complexities of pathological gene expression, particularly in the early phase of disease, in the context of a non-neoplastic human genome.  The Core houses both dermal fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) from Knight ADRC participants.  The Core focuses on cell collection that builds on three major areas of strength in the Knight ADRC: (1) contributions of diverse ethnic backgrounds to molecular and cellular biomarkers of AD; (2) genetic and molecular modifiers of age at onset in large families with a dense family history of late onset AD; and (3) comparison of the molecular and cellular biomarkers that are common and unique between autosomal dominant AD and sporadic, late onset AD.

Core Leader:

Celeste Karch, PhD

Clinical Core

The Clinical Core supports the Knight ADRC by recruiting and enrolling cognitively impaired and unimpaired participants for comprehensive clinical and cognitive assessments at entry and annually thereafter, obtaining blood, and soliciting autopsy permission. The Core is not clinic-based and there is no billing of the participant or third-party payers. All assessments are done for research purposes only 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 Alzheimer disease and related disorders from nondemented aging. Core data are entered into the Knight ADRC database that is maintained by the Data Management & Statistical Core.

Core Leaders:

John C. Morris, MD (Co-Director  & Clinical Core Leader)
Nicole Elmore, ANP-BC (Associate Leader)
Jason Hassenstab, PhD (Cognitive Assessment Unit Leader)

Data Management & Statistical Core (Biostatistics)

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.

Core Leader:

Chengjie Xiong, PhD

Fluid Biomarker Core

The Fluid Biomarker Core’s mission is to facilitate and support antecedent AD biomarker 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, as well as for other emerging biomarkers.

Core Leader:

Suzanne Schindler, MD, PhD

Genetics & High Throughput – Omics Core

The Genetics & High Throughput – Omics Core is a repository for DNA, RNA, and nonfasted plasma collected from Knight ADRC participants. Blood is drawn on the participant’s first visit and every two years thereafter to enable longitudinal studies. These samples are routinely genotyped for the APOE polymorphisms associated with risk for AD.  The Core stores and harmonizes all genome-wide association study (GWAS), whole exome sequencing (WES), whole genome sequencing (WGS), transcriptomic, and proteomic data generated for Knight ADRC participants in order to guarantee the integrity and compatibility of the data so that these data can be shared with the scientific community.  The Core also identifies and characterizes familial cases of dementia.

Core Leader:

Carlos Cruchaga, PhD

Health Disparities & Equity Core

The Health Disparities & Equity Core was established in 2020 to achieve three primary goals: 1) Increase community engaged research opportunities to address AD/ADRD health disparities and to facilitate recruitment of persons under-represented in research; 2) Provide education & training on health disparities & health equity to learners internally and externally; and 3) Partner with Knight ADRC leadership to increase workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Core Leader:

Joyce (Joy) Balls-Berry, PhD, MPE

Imaging Core

The Imaging Core conducts state-of-the-art imaging studies on Knight ADRC participants, employing structural (MRI), functional (fMRI), and molecular (amyloid and tau PET) scanning methods. 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.

Core Leader:

Tammie Benzinger, MD, PhD (Leader)
Cyrus Raji, MD, PhD (Associate Leader)

Neuropathology Core

The Neuropathology Core provides neuropathologic diagnoses on all new brain accessions from Knight ADRC participants using standard diagnostic criteria. The Core’s tissue resource component collects, stores, and distributes fixed and frozen brain tissue in concert with the Administration, Biostatistics, and Clinical Cores to support Knight ADRC investigators and outside collaborations that complement in-house research. Information stored includes demographic data, diagnoses, quantitative morphometric data, bibliographic information, and data relevant to the tissue banking activities of the Core.

Core Leader:

Richard J. Perrin, MD, PhD

Outreach, Recruitment & Engagement Core

The Outreach, Recruitment, & Engagement (ORE) Core is the focal point for outreach, recruitment, and retention for the ADRC, HASD, and ACS grants.  The Core 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 ORE Core activities is derived from the active involvement of personnel from other Cores and components of the Center. The Core also is responsible for the engagement and education of our research participants, their families, and other community members.

Core Leader:

Andrea Denny, JD, MSSW

Research Education Component

The Research Education Component (REC) was started in May 2020. The goal of the REC is to develop a dynamic training pipeline to meet the nation’s need for a diverse clinical translational workforce in Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD). The REC will assist trainees with career development along the entire training continuum by leveraging national collaborative relationships as well as the rich research and training resources available at Washington University. The REC will provide resources and mentoring to all levels of trainees and has a more intensive REC Scholars program for trainees at the late postdoctoral/early faculty stage. The REC has a special interest in increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, women and persons with disabilities to ADRD research. The long-term goal of the REC is to train, develop and support a diverse group of independent ADRD researchers.

Core Leaders:

B. Joy Snider, MD, PhD
Susan L. Stark, PhD