UW ADRC core descriptions

Addressing the complexities of Alzheimer’s disease requires a concentrated effort from a diverse group of researchers and research trajectories. To facilitate this broad spirit of collaboration, the UW ADRC is organized into six different cores, each of which works to address the Alzheimer’s in its own important way.

Administrative Core

  • Center Director & Core Leader, Thomas Montine, MD, PhD
  • Center Associate Director, Murray Raskind, MD
  • Center Associate Director, Elaine Peskind, MD
  • Center Associate Director, Eric Larson, MD
  • Center Administrator, Molly Chinn 

The Administrative Core provides leadership and expert support to ensure that the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is successful in pursuing its vision of precision medicine for Alzheimer’s disease. The Administrative Core does the important behind-the-scenes work that enables researchers to concentrate on science—things like organizing meetings; recruiting new faculty; awarding pilot grants to promising researchers; providing expert grant management, fiscal support, and regulatory oversight; and facilitating collaborations between the Cores, Projects, and other national and international research efforts. The Administrative Core aims to build a research infrastructure, promote discovery, share with the community of physicians and scientists dedicated to developing solutions for AD, and propel advancement through commitment and collaboration. The Administrative Core integrates UW ADRC components and promotes synergy with the national ADC Program.

Clinical Core

  • Core Leader, Elaine Peskind, MD
  • Core Co-Leader, Gail Li, MD, PhD
  • Core Co-Leader, Suman Jayadev, MD

In alignment with the UW ADRC’s vision of precision medicine for Alzheimer’s disease, the Clinical Core is shifting its focus to concentrate on better defining cognitively normal aging and the transition from normal to pathological aging to prodromal AD and the earliest stages of dementia -- in particular, AD dementia. Participant volunteers will be screened into each of these clearly defined groups. The Clinical Core collects spinal fluid, plasma, serum, and neuroimaging data from these participants—including individuals from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) cohort and individuals from underserved African American and American Indian minority communities—and enrolls participants into epidemiologic studies, multi-center treatment trials, genetic and biomarker studies, and an autopsy program. By making Clinical Core samples available to researchers throughout the world and pursuing innovative studies of our own, the UW ADRC Clinical Core works toward findings that may be helpful for diagnosing Alzheimer's, monitoring disease progression, identifying people who are at risk for dementia disorders even when no symptoms are present, and ushering in an era of precision medicine for Alzheimer’s disease.

Neuropathology & Targeted Molecular Testing (NPTMT) Core

  • Core Leader, Christopher (Dirk) Keene, MD PhD
  • Core Co-Leader, Thomas Montine, MD, PhD
  • Core Co-Leader, Chang-En Yu, PhD

The NPTMT Core provides diagnostic expertise, facilitates research, teaches and mentors trainees, and develops innovative research approaches to Alzheimer’s disease. Members of the NPTMT Core examine targeted spinal fluid biomarkers in the UW ADRC spinal fluid bank and provide targeted genetic testing relevant to Alzheimer’s and related dementing diseases. In other words, the NPTMT Core seeks ways to enhance the research value of tissue and body fluid donations from cognitively healthy individuals and patients with dementia disorders like Alzheimer’s so that researchers may begin to develop effective means of precision medicine for Alzheimer’ disease.

Data Management & Statistics (DMS) Core

  • Core Director, Ellen Wijsman, PhD

The primary objective of this core is to provide database management and biostatisticial support to the Cores, Projects, Pilot Projects, and nationwide collaborators of the UW ADRC. The DMS Core is instrumental in providing ADRC investigators with database and statistical expertise both in the initial project design phase of studies and in later stages, when investigators are preparing manuscripts and performing statistical analyses and interpretations. The activities of DMS core members thereby facilitate the overall goals of the UW ADRC, particularly in its aim to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s disease.

Outreach, Recruitment, and Education (ORE) Core

  • Core Leader, Murray Raskind, MD

The ORE Core operates as the public face of the UW ADRC, actively facilitating community and professional outreach and education programs so that UW ADRC researchers may find and then enroll people who might be interested in helping develop ways of treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease, particularly people from minority communities that have been historically underserved by researchers, such as the African American and American Indian communities. To this end, Core members collaborate extensively with the Alzheimer's Association, the African American Advisory Board, Partnerships for Native Health, and the UW ADRC Satellite Core. In addition to recruiting and retaining research participants, the ORE Core works to educate professional clinicians and family caretakers in the recognition and treatment of Alzheimer’s. The ORE Core annually publishes, Dimensions, a newsletter that inlcudes UW ADRC updates and new developments in Alzheimer’s research.

Satellite Core

  • Core Leader, Debra Buchwald, MD

Little is known about Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disease in American Indian (AI) populations. Therefore, in collaboration with the Partnership for Native Health (P4NH), the Satellite Core is conducting a pilot project on AD among participants of the Strong Heart Stroke Study (SHSS) in Oklahoma. The Satellite Core will re-examine 100 SHSS participants from Oklahoma with the same cognitive testing and MRI procedures used in SHSS, augmented by new measures of cognitive function. Changes over time from initial testing (2009-2013) will be documented for both cognitive testing and MRI scans. The aim is to document longitudinal changes in both cognitive function by sex and age and MRI-defined brain structure and its relationship to cognitive decline. The Satellite Core will also work with the ORE Core to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and provide relevant education to community members. This Satellite Core offers an unparalleled opportunity to assess Alzheimer’s in an understudied group of rural participants, and these efforts will contribute to a more accurate understanding of Alzheimer’s in these communities, setting the stage for improved detection, treatment, and prevention for this tragically debilitating disease.