• Press Release

Mount Sinai Health System Names Director of Newly Established Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease

Renowned neuropsychiatric researcher Alison Goate, PhD, has joined the Mount Sinai Health System as the founding Director of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease.

  • New York
  • (February 19, 2015)

Renowned neuropsychiatric researcher Alison Goate, PhD, has joined the Mount Sinai Health System as the founding Director of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Established by a recent $15 million gift from Daniel S. Loeb, CEO and Founder of Third Point, LLC and his wife, Margaret Munzer Loeb, in memory of Daniel’s father, Ronald M. Loeb, the center will provide a focus for a network of research programs closely tied to research and clinical initiatives across the Health System.  

As a molecular geneticist, Dr. Goate has established an international reputation for her research to elucidate the genetic, molecular and cellular basis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative disorders.

“Alison brings to Mount Sinai a research history distinguished by its translational and interdisciplinary focus, integrating molecular and genetic studies,” says Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Nash Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  “Her research team will help Mount Sinai play a global leading role in finding new and better treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders.”

She has identified key gene mutations linked to the heritable risk for Alzheimer’s disease, including her finding that a rare mutation of the PLD3 gene doubles the risk of developing late onset AD.  Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Goate led a team of researchers at Washington University, St. Louis, that performed the largest ever genome-wide association study of protein markers found in cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in the discovery of three genetic variants that may come with an increased risk of developing AD.

“Alison Goate is truly one of the chief architects of the genomics revolution happening in Alzheimer’s disease research,” says Mount Sinai President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth L. Davis, MD.  “Under her leadership, we will bring together Mount Sinai’s core competencies in genomics, bioinformatics, imaging and clinical trials to vigorously pursue major breakthroughs for a disease that touches so many lives.”

As Director of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease at Mount Sinai, Dr. Goate will recruit new talent in areas such as induced pluripotent stem cells or IPSCs. In this line of research, researchers take a patient’s skin cells, for instance and coax them back along the differentiation pathway to become stem cells.  These induced cells can then be differentiated into any kind of cell in the body, including neurons.  Because the resulting cells are genetically identical to those found in the donor, researchers can use them to model disease and safely investigate the efficacy of new drug treatments at the cellular level in a way not previously possible.

“Alison is a transformative recruit to Mount Sinai,” says Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System.  “Our mission is nothing less than discovering the causes and better treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions.  Through Dr. Goate’s leadership of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease, Mount Sinai is one of the nation’s few centers capable of achieving these ambitious goals.”

Dr. Goate will also establish ties between the Center and the many basic and clinical researchers across the Mount Sinai Health System focused on neurodegenerative disorders.  In particular, she will work closely with: the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, funded by the National Health Institute’s National Institute on Aging and directed by Mary Sano, PhD, one of the nation’s leaders in clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease; the Center for Cognitive Health, directed by Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, an expert on the amyloid plaque protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease; and faculty of the Icahn Institute for Genomics & Multiscale Biology, directed by Eric Schadt, PhD, who have an NIA-funded program that applies multi-scale biology to Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Dr. Goate has an established research program on the genetics of alcoholism and so will broaden Mount Sinai’s portfolio in this disorder as well.  

The team at the Ronald M. Loeb Center will have access to innovative new MRI and PET technology (Mount Sinai is one of the few sites in the U.S. with such advanced technology) and the Minerva supercomputer, the largest supercomputer ever constructed for the purpose of genomic investigation, to aid in their endeavors.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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