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.
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
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.