Neuropathologist and expert in Neurodegenerative Diseases at New England Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VISN-1), ADC Center Associate Director, CTE Center Director, AD & CTE Center Neuropathology Core Director & Professor of Neurology & Pathology , BUSM
Dr. Ann McKee, started out as a clinician, completing medical school at Case Western Reserve University and her internship and residency in Internal Medicine. Along the way, McKee became fascinated by the brain and brain disorders. She completed a second residency in Neurology at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital under the leadership of the extraordinary Maurice Victor, MD, a truly exceptional neurologist, who taught Mckee the deep intricacies and mysteries of nervous system disease in his inimitable and entertaining way. During McKee’s third year of Neurology, she studied under Betty Banker, MD, a world-renowned neuropathologist, who also happened to be Dr. Victor’s wife. Dr. Banker introduced McKee to the fascinating world of neuropathology and taught her how neuropathology can explain a patient’s behaviors, clinical signs and symptoms. Dr. McKee completed a clinical fellowship in dementia at the University of Massachusetts but her love for neuropathology led her to take on a third residency in Neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital under the extraordinary neuropathologists, E.P. Richardson, MD and E.T. Hedley-Whyte, MD. It was during their weekly clinico-pathological case conferences at Massachusetts General Hospital that McKee interacted with two other giants in neurology, C. Miller Fischer, MD and Raymond D. Adams and learned how the study of neuropathology expands her understanding of the human condition.
McKee is a board certified in Neurology and Neuropathology. She began practicing as a full-time neuropathologist in 1989. Her superb training in neurology and neuropathology combined with her insatiable curiosity to better understand human disease has led to her success in medicine, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and more recently, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
The VA-BU-CLF (UNITE) Brain Bank holds the world’s largest collection of brains from donors who experienced repetitive head trauma, over 650 cases, and the largest collection of CTE cases in the world (>350). Dr. McKee’s research over the past decade has led the field in CTE and post-traumatic neurodegeneration and has been instrumental in changing public awareness regarding the late effects of concussion, subconcussion and blast related injury. Her work was fundamental to defining the neuropathological diagnostic criteria, staging scheme and clinicopathological correlations of CTE. She was the first to report the association between ALS and CTE. She reported the first case of CTE in ice hockey, soccer, mixed-martial arts , baseball, high school football, and college football. Dr. McKee reported the youngest athlete ever diagnosed with CTE (17 years). Her team defined the roles of other pathological proteins, TDP-43, beta amyloid, alpha-synuclein in the development and progression of CTE. Her team reported the association between high cognitive reserve and delayed emergence of clinical symptoms in CTE and the association between age at first exposure to football and the risk of cognitive impairment and depression in later life. Her team published on the roles of microglia and inflammation in repetitive head impact injury and CTE , the unique finding of the cytokine, CCL11, in CTE, on prion spread of tau in CTE, and the presence of prion disease in some individuals diagnosed with CTE.
Dr. McKee also helped define microvascular injury and the neuropathology of aging and Alzheimer’s disease through her work with the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Framingham Heart Study.
National Academy of Medicine
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors
Time 100 Most Influential People in the World, 2018, Time Magazine
Time 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare 2018, Time Magazine
Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Bostonian of the year 2017
McKee AC, Robinson ME. Military-related traumatic brain injury and neurodegeneration. Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Jun;10(3 Suppl):S242-53.
Saman S, Lee NC, Inoyo I, Jin J, Li Z, Doyle T, McKee AC, Hall GF. Proteins recruited to exosomes by tau overexpression implicate novel cellular mechanisms linking tau secretion with Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014 Jan 1;40(0):S47-70.
Robbins CA, Daneshvar DH, Picano JD, Gavett BE, Baugh CM, Riley DO, Nowinski CJ, McKee AC, Cantu RC, Stern RA. Self-reported concussion history: impact of providing a definition of concussion Open Access J Sports Med. 2014 May 7;5:99-103.
Kaur B, Himali JJ, Seshadri S, Beiser AS, Au R, McKee AC, Auerbach S, Wolf PA, Decarli CS. Association Between Neuropathology and Brain Volume in The Framingham Heart Study. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2014 Mar 7.
McKee AC, Daneshvar DH, Alvarez VE, Stein TD. The neuropathology of sport. Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Jan;127(1):29-51. doi: 10.1007/s00401-013-1230-6. Epub 2013 Dec 24.
Stein TD, Alvarez VE, McKee AC. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: a spectrum of neuropathological changes following repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2014 Jan 15;6(1):4.
Carreras I, McKee AC, Choi JK, Aytan N, Kowall NW, Jenkins BG, Dedeoglu A. 1.R-flurbiprofen improves tau, but not Aß pathology in a triple transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Res. 2013 Dec 6;1541:115-27.
Pekkala S, Wiener D, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, Obler LK, Liu Y, McKee A, Auerbach S, Seshadri S, Wolf PA, Au R. Lexical retrieval in discourse: An early indicator of Alzheimer’s dementia. Clin Linguist Phon. 2013 Aug 28.
Stern RA, Daneshvar DH, Baugh CM, Seichepine DR, Montenigro PH, Riley DO, Fritts NG, Stamm JM, Robbins CA, McHale L, Simkin I, Stein TD, Alvarez VE, Goldstein LE, Budson AE, Kowall NW, Nowinski CJ, Cantu RC, McKee AC. Clinical presentation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Neurology. 2013 Aug 21.
Brady CB, Trevor KT, Stein TD, Deykin EY, Perkins SD, Averill JG, Guilderson L, McKee AC, Renner SW, Kowall NW. The Department of Veterans Affairs Biorepository Brain Bank: A national resource for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research. Brady CB, Trevor KT, Stein TD, Deykin EY, Perkins SD, Averill JG, Guilderson L, McKee AC, Renner SW, Kowall NW.
Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2013 Aug 23.
Factor-Litvak P, Al-Chalabi A, Ascherio A, Bradley W, Chío A, Garruto R, Hardiman O, Kamel F, Kasarskis E, McKee A, Nakano I, Nelson LM, Eisen A. Current pathways for epidemiological research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2013 May;14 Suppl 1:33-43.
Weiner MW, Friedl KE, Pacifico A, Chapman JC, Jaffee MS, Little DM, Manley GT, McKee A, Petersen RC, Pitman RK, Yaffe K, Zetterberg H, Obana R, Bain LJ, Carrillo MC. Military risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2013 Jul;9(4):445-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2013.03.005.
Lee JK, Shin JH, Hwang SG, Gwag BJ, McKee AC, Lee J, Kowall NW, Ryu H, Lim DS, Choi EJ. MST1 functions as a key modulator of neurodegeneration in a mouse model of ALS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 1.
Reitz C, Jun G, Naj A, Rajbhandary R, Vardarajan BN, Wang LS, Valladares O, Lin CF, Larson EB, Graff-Radford NR, Evans D, De Jager PL, Crane PK, Buxbaum JD, Murrell JR, Raj T, Ertekin-Taner N, Logue M, Baldwin CT, Green RC, Barnes LL, Cantwell LB, Fallin MD, Go RC, Griffith P, Obisesan TO, Manly JJ, Lunetta KL, Kamboh MI, Lopez OL, Bennett DA, Hendrie H, Hall KS, Goate AM, Byrd GS, Kukull WA, Foroud TM, Haines JL, Farrer LA, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Mayeux R; Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium. Variants in the ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCA7), apolipoprotein E ϵ4,and the risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease in African Americans. JAMA. 2013 Apr 10;309(14):1483-92. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.2973.
Seichepine DR, Stamm JM, Daneshvar DH, Riley DO, Baugh CM, Gavett BE, Tripodis Y, Martin B, Chaisson C, McKee AC, Cantu RC, Nowinski CJ, Stern R. Profile of self-reported problems with executive functioning in college and professional football players. J Neurotrauma. 2013 Feb 19.
Peskind ER, Brody D, Cernak I, McKee A, Ruff RL. Military- and sports-related mild traumatic brain injury: clinical presentation, management, and long-term consequences. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;74(2):180-8. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12011co1c.
McKee AC, Stein TD, Nowinski CJ, Stern RA, Daneshvar DH, Alvarez VE, Lee H-S, Hall GF, Wojtowicz SM, Baugh CM, David O. Riley DO, Kubilus CA, Cormier KA, Jacobs MA, Martin BR, Abraham CR, Ikezu T, Reichard RR, Wolozin BL, Budson AE, Goldstein LE, Kowall NW, Cantu RC. The Spectrum of Disease in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Brain 2013, Jan;136(Pt 1):43-64. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws307.
Holton P, Ryten M, Nalls M, … McKee AC, …Younkin SG. Initial assessment of the pathogenic mechanisms of the recently identified Alzheimer risk Loci. Ann Hum Genet. 2013 Mar;77(2):85-105. doi: 10.1111/ahg.12000. Epub 2013 Jan 30.
Le M, Kim W, Lee S, McKee A, Hall G. Multiple mechanisms of extracellular tau spreading in a non-transgenic tauopathy model. Am J Neurodegeneration, 2012;1(3):316-33. Epub 2012 Nov 25.
Augustinack JC, Huber KE, Stevens AA, Roy M, Frosch MP, van der Kouwe AJ, Wald LL, Van Leemput K, McKee AC, Fischl B Predicting the location of human perirhinal cortex, Brodmann’s area 35, from MRI. Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 1;64C:32-42.
Jun G, Moncaster JA, Koutras C, Seshadri S, Buros J, McKee AC, Levesque G, Wolf PA, St George-Hyslop P, Goldstein LE, Farrer LA. δ-Catenin is genetically and biologically associated with cortical cataract and future Alzheimer-related structural and functional brain changes. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e43728.
Whitcomb DC, Larusch J, Krasinskas AM, … McKee AC, … Devlin B. Common genetic variants in the CLDN2 and PRSS1-PRSS2 loci alter risk for alcohol-related and sporadic pancreatitis. Nat Genet. 2012 Nov 11;44(12):1349-54. doi: 10.1038/ng.2466. Epub 2012 Nov 11. PMID: 23143602.
Jung MK, Kim KY, Lee NY, Kang YS, Hwang YJ, Kim Y, Sung JJ, McKee A, Kowall N, Lee J, Ryu H. Expression of Taurine Transporter (TauT) is Modulated by Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) in Motor Neurons of ALS. Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Nov 23.
Au R, Seshadri S, Knox K, Beiser A, Himali JJ, Cabral HJ, Auerbach S, Green RC, Wolf P, McKee AC. The Framingham Brain Donation Program: Neuropathology Along the Cognitive Continuum Current Alzheimer Research, 2012, Jul;9(6):673-86.
Goldstein LE, Fisher AM, Tagge CA, Zhang X-L,Velisek L, Sullivan JA, Upreti C, Kracht JM, Ericsson M, Wojnarowicz MW, Goletiani CJ, Maglakelidze GM, Casey N, Moncaster JA, Minaeva O, Moir RD, Nowinski CJ, Stern RA, Cantu RC, Geiling J, Blusztajn JK, Wolozin BL, Ikezu T, Stein TD, Budson AE, Kowall NW, Chargin D, Sharon A, Saman S, Hall GF, Moss WC, Cleveland RO, Tanzi RE, Stanton PK, McKee AC: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Blast-Exposed Military Veterans and a Blast Neurotrauma Mouse Model. Sci Trans. Med. Sci Transl Med. 2012 May 16;4(134):134ra60.
Stern RA, Riley DO, Daneshvar DH, Nowinski CJ, Cantu RC, McKee AC. Long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy. PMR. 2011 Oct;3(10 Suppl 2):S460-7. [PDF]
Saman S, Kim W, Raya M, Visnick Y, Miro S, Saman S, Jackson B, McKee AC, Alvarez VE, Lee NC, Hall GF. Exosome-associated Tau is secreted in Tauopathy Models and is Selectively Phosphorylated in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Early Alzheimer Disease. J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 3;287(6):3842-9.
Sullivan CP, Berg EA, Elliott-Bryant R, Fishman JB, McKee AC, Morin PJ, Shia MA, Fine RE. Pyroglutamate Aß 3 and 11 colocalize in amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease cerebral cortex with Pyroglutamate Aß 11 forming the central core. Neurosci Lett. 2011 Nov 14;505(2):109-12.
Lee J, Kosaras B, Del Signore SJ, Cormier K, McKee A, Ratan RR, Kowall NW, Ryu H. Modulation of lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial function improves neuropathology in Huntington’s disease mice. Acta Neuropathol. 2011 Apr;121(4):487-98.
Liu-Yesucevitz L, Bilgutay A, Zhang YJ, Vanderwyde T, Citro A, Mehta T, Zaarur N, McKee A, Bowser R, Sherman M, Petrucelli L, Wolozin B. Tar DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) associates with stress granules: analysis of cultured cells and pathological brain tissue. PLoS One. 2010 Oct 11; 5(10): e13250.
McKee A, Gavett B, Stern R, Nowinski C, Cantu R, Kowall N, Perl D, Hedley-Whyte E, Price B, Sullivan C, Morin P, Lee H-S, Kubilus C, Daneshvar D, Wulff M, Budson A. TDP-43 Proteinopathy and Motor Neuron Disease in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Journal Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 2010, 69: 918-929. Authors’ reply: McKee AC, Budson AE, Gavett BE, Stern RA, Daneshvar D, Nowinski CJ, Cantu RC, Kowall NW, Perl DP, Hedley-Whyte ET. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2011 Jan; 70(1): 98-100.
Jun G, Naj AC, Beecham GW, Wang LS, Buros J, Gallins PJ, Buxbaum JD, Ertekin-Taner N, Fallin MD, Friedland R, Inzelberg R, Kramer P, Rogaeva E, St George-Hyslop P; Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium, Cantwell LB, Dombroski BA, Saykin AJ, Reiman EM, Bennett DA, Morris JC, Lunetta KL, Martin ER, Montine TJ, Goate AM, Blacker D, Tsuang DW, Beekly D, Cupples LA, Hakonarson H, Kukull W, Foroud TM, Haines J, Mayeux R, Farrer LA, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD. Meta-analysis confirms CR1, CLU and PICALM as Alzheimer disease risk loci and reveals interactions with APOE genotypes. Arch Neurol. 2010 Dec; 67(12): 1473-84.
Van Deerlin V, Sleiman P, Martinez-Lage M, Chen-Plotkin A, Wang L, Graff-Radford N, Dickson D … McKee A… Lee VM. (GWAS study) Common genetic variants at 7p21 show strong association with frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions. Nature Gen, 2010, Mar; 42(3): 234-9.
Yamin R, Zhao C, O’Connor PB, McKee AC, Abraham CR. Acyl peptide hydrolase degrades monomeric and oligomeric amyloid-beta peptide. Mol Neurodegener, 2009, Jul 23; 4:33.
Mastroeni D, McKee A, Grover A, Rogers J, Coleman PD. Epigenetic differences in cortical neurons from a pair of monozygotic twins discordant for Alzheimer’s disease. PLoS One, 2009, Aug 12; 4(8):e6617.
Harper DG, Stopa EG, Kuo-Leblanc V, McKee A, Asayama K, Volicer L, Kowall N, Saitlin A. Dorsomedial SCN neuronal subpopulations subserve different functions in human dementia. Brain, 2008, in press.
McKee AC, Cantu RC, Nowinski CJ, Hedley-Whyte ET, Gavett BE, Budson AE, Santini VE, Lee H-Y, Kubilus CA, Stern RA. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in athletes: Progressive tauopathy after repetitive head injury. J Neuropath Exp Neurol, 2009, 68(7): 709.735.
Hanlon EB, Perelman LT, Vitkin EI, Greco FA, McKee AC, Kowall NW. Scattering differentiates Alzheimer disease in vitro. Opt Lett 2008, 15:33 (6): 624-26.
McKee AC, Carreras I, Hossain L, Ryu H, Klein W, Oddo S, LaFerla F, Jenkins B, Kowall N, Dedeoglu A. Ibuprofen reduces intraneuronal Aß, prevents hyperphosphorylated tau and ameliorates cognitive deficits in young triple transgenic Alzheimer mice.Brain Research, 2008 May 1; 1207: 225-36.
Tobin JE, Cui J, Wilk JB, Latourelle JC, Laramie JM, McKee AC, Guttman M, Karamohamed S, DeStefano AL, Myers RH. Sepiapterin reductase expression is increased in Parkinson’s disease brain tissue. Brain Research, 2007; 1139: 42-47.
McKee AC, Au R, Cabral HJ, Kowall NW, Seshadri, S, Kubilus C, Drake J, Wolf P. Visual Association Pathology in Preclinical AD. Journal Neuropath Exp Neurol, 2006 June;65(6):621-630. [PubMed]
Kraytsberg Y, Kudryavtseva E, McKee AC, Geula C, Kowall NW, Khrapko K. Mitochondrial DNA deletions are abundant and cause functional impairment in aged human substantia nigra neurons. Nat Genet, 2006 May;38(5):518-20. [PubMed]
Lynch JA, George AM, Eisenhauer PB, Conn K, Gao W, Carreras I, Wells JM, McKee A, Ullman MD, Fine RE. Insulin degrading enzyme is localized predominantly at the cell surface of polarized and unpolarized human cerebrovascular endothelial cell cultures. J Neurosci Res. 2006 May 15;83(7):1262-70. [PubMed]
Wolozin B, Manger J, Bryant R, Cordy J, Green RC, McKee A. Re-assessing the relationship between cholesterol, statins and Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 2006; 185:63-70.
Yip AG, McKee AC, Green RC, Wells J, Young H, Cupples LA, Farrer LA. APOE, vascular pathology, and the AD brain. Neurology. 2005 Jul 26;65(2):259-65. [PubMed]
- VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank