Category: Spotlight

2021 Jack Spivack Excellence in Neuroscience Awards Announced

March 24th, 2021 in Spotlight

Mr. Spivack established these awards in 2013 to recognize and support the research of outstanding BUSM faculty conducting either clinical or basic research in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and other neurological disorders.

Douglas L. Rosene, PhD, is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Neuroscientist Award.

Dr. Rosene is Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology and Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neurobiology. Dr. Rosene is recognized as one of the world’s experts on the anatomy of the temporal lobe limbic system and has published extensively in this area, with over 170 publications. He is also recognized for his work on the neurobiology of cognitive aging and was Program Director for 15 years of a long-standing NIH Program Project studying the neural bases of cognitive decline using the rhesus monkey as a model of normal human aging. Currently he is principal investigator or co-investigator on several other NIH grants that study various aspects of aging and age-related disease in primate models. A more recent research interest is the neurobiological bases and facilitation of recovery of fine motor function after cortical stroke in the rhesus monkey with his colleague Dr. Tara L Moore. Most recently he has been funded by NSF to study the neurobiological validity of diffusion MRI tractography of the human connectome.

Dr. Rosene received his BA in Psychology from Stanford University and his PhD in Psychology and Neurobiology from the University of Rochester. He completed a three-year postdoc at Harvard Medical School in Neuroanatomy before assuming a faculty position in 1978 in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Spivack Emerging Leader

Michael Alosco, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, is currently conducting an initial proof-of-concept study that will test the effectiveness of a second generation tau PET tracer (MK-6240) in detecting chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living people. It will involve former National Football League (NFL) players, participants with Alzheimer’s disease dementia, and controls. The Spivack Award will provide Dr. Alosco with funds to increase the methodological rigor of this study by ensuring amyloid status is characterized for all participants and by enhancing participant recruitment. The unique preliminary data generated from this proposal will allow Dr. Alosco to compete for larger proposals that validate MK-6240 and/or other tau tracers as an accurate and reliable biomarker to support a clinical diagnosis of CTE.

Dr. Alosco completed his undergraduate studies at Providence College and his PhD in clinical psychology, with a focus on neuropsychology, from Kent State University, Akron, Ohio. He completed his clinical internship in neuropsychology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

Spivack Pilot Fund Award

Thor D. Stein, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and neuropathologist at the Department of Veteran Affairs, studies the role of trauma in the development and acceleration of multiple types of neurodegenerative disease. He combines neuropathology with genetics and proteomics to model age- and trauma-related disease with the ultimate goal of improved diagnostics and treatments. Dr. Stein is also a neuropathologist for numerous regional and national brain banks, including the Boston University Alzheimer Disease and CTE Center, Framingham Heart Study, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) National ALS Biorepository, as well as the National Veterans Administration ALS, Gulf WarVeterans Illnesses, and PTSD biorepositories. Dr. Stein is a member of American Association of Neuropathologists and College of American Pathologists.

Dr. Stein completed his MD/PhD training at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Neuroscience program at Madison. He completed his residency and fellowship training in neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Spivack Young Investigator

Xiaoling Zhang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in Biomedical Genetics, is actively pursuing the driving force of Alzheimer’s Disease. Her proposed research aims to explore how individual cell types/subpopulations contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease patients with diverse ancestral backgrounds.This analysis will provide a blueprint of both global and cell-type specific expression changes underlying AD in the human hippocampal samples collected from European Ancestry and African American ethnic groups. Results from this work can inform targeted functional studies to regulate AD-related GWAS genes in specific cell types in the AD brain, which will warrant further examination of these genes in iPSC-derived and mouse models of AD pathogenesis. The results can also provide insights on the search for potential new drugs targeting different ethnic groups.

Dr. Zhang received her medical degree from Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, an MS in computer science from State University of New York at Buffalo and her PhD in bioinformatics from Boston University.