UW ADRC Mission and center history




Dr. Thomas Montine has served as Director of the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (UW ADRC) since 2012 and has led or co-led the UW ADRC Neuropathology and Targeted Molecular Testing Core since 2002. He is also the Alvord Endowed Chair in Neuropathology and Chair of the Department of Pathology at the UW, where he serves as professor of pathology and adjunct professor of neurological surgery, and the director of the Pacific Northwest Udall Center. Dr. Montine has been ranked among the top recipients in National Institutes of Health funding among all pathology faculty in the United States and has been awarded the coveted Teacher of the Quarter award from the second-year students in the UW School of Medicine.

As the director of the UW ADRC, Dr. Montine has set our sights on discovering the means to prevent just one person from developing dementia; with this individual-focused approach, we hope to illuminate the path to treating many others and usher in an era of precision medicine. In his own research, Dr. Montine studies the structural and molecular bases of the cognitive impairment that occurs with advancing age. To this end, he uses the tools of epidemiology, neuropathology, and genomics to seek a better understanding of how aging processes cause Alzheimer’s disease and the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. With the help of his colleagues, Dr. Montine is performing biomarker studies, clinical trials, and experimental studies of neuroprotection in the brain; he hopes this work may define key steps in the Alzheimer’s disease process and thereby identify new potential therapeutic targets that will help people with this disease.

Read an interview with Dr. Montine in our Spring 2013 issue of Dimensions here.



The UW ADRC has been committed to helping advance Alzheimer’s research for thirty years. We believe that through hard work, innovation, the generous support of our donors and volunteers, and a concentrated research effort, we can develop more effective approaches to treating and ultimately preventing Alzheimer’s. We hope that you will join with us in answering the questions of this disease through innovative and productive research.

At our center, we specifically focus on a precision medicine approach to Alzheimer’s disease. This means that we seek to advance research in genetic risk, develop neuroimaging markers and biomarkers for preclinical detection, and discover novel therapeutics that can be tailored to address the underlying molecular causes of an individual’s disease. Our basic science and clinical studies strive toward precision medicine strategies that improve the care, functioning, and quality of life of both patients and caregivers.

Read more about precision medicine in our Fall 2015 issue of Dimensions here.



The UW ADRC was established in 1985 as one of ten Alzheimer’s Disease Centers that were originally funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to study Alzheimer's. Since then, the UW ADRC has fostered a research culture that helps investigators attain new knowledge about Alzheimer’s and related dementias and then helps them apply this knowledge to the development of innovative therapies. One way that we have been able to work toward innovative therapies is by gathering a multidisciplinary group of basic and clinical investigators, including neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, cell and molecular neurobiologists, neuropathologists, geneticists, biostatisticians, geriatricians, and others. These ADRC researchers work with fellows, volunteer research participants, community partners, and scientific collaborators locally, nationally, and internationally. Our investigators also partner with other Alzheimer’s centers across the country to evaluate promising new medications and other treatments for Alzheimer’s. Through these endeavors, the UW ADRC continues its education and training mission to develop the careers of new Alzheimer’s investigators and, as we first articulated in 1985, to enhance the education of professionals and the public on the nature of Alzheimer’s disease.

See a brief tribute to Dr. George Martin, the UW ADRC founder, in the Fall 2015 issue of Dimensions here.