23 May 2007
The 2007 Alzheimer Award is being presented to Jing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., in recognition of his outstanding work, "Detection of Biomarkers with a Multiplex Quantitative Proteomic Platform in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Patients with Neurodegenerative Disorders," by Fadi Abdi, Joseph F.Quinn, Joseph Jankovic, Martin McIntosh, James B. Leverenz, Elaine Peskind, Randy Nixon, John Nutt, Katherine Chung, Cyrus Zabetian, Ali Samii, Melanie Lin, Stephen Hattan, Catherine Pan, Yan Wang, Jinghua Jin, David Zhu, G. Jane Li, Yan Liu, Dana Waichunas, Thomas J. Montine, and Jing Zhang, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (IOS Press, Volume 9, pp. 293-348, 2006).
Dr. Zhang has begun applying a novel technology – proteomics – to neurodegenerative research. This study compared the proteins in Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) from patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), along with healthy controls. A key component to the research was that three different diseases were analyzed simultaneously along with normal controls, which helped to determine whether a particular protein response was related to a specific disease, and not just a neurodegenerative disease in general. These protein biomarkers, if validated, could be used clinically to assist the diagnosis of these major neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, monitoring these markers could help gauge therapeutic effects of existing and new therapeutic drugs. As new treatments for AD and PD are developed, a diagnosis early in the course of the disease increases the likelihood of success from treatments that might slow disease progression, as well as helping patients and their families make plans for future care.
The research team is comprised of several neuropathologists, Drs. Ellsworth Alvord, James Leverenz, and Thomas Montine, and a key member of the team, Dr. Elaine Peskind, a prominent AD researcher at the University of Washington who has established one of the largest CSF banks in the country. Dr. Zhang’s pursuit has been supported by many investigators from other institutions, including Dr. Joseph Jankovic at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Drs. John Nutt, Kathleen Chung and Joseph Quinn at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Marla Gearing at Emory University in Atlanta, Dr. Christine Hulette at Duke University in Durham, Dr. Roger Albin at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Dennis Dickson at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Obtaining well characterized human brain and CSF samples from his collaborators is a very important, if not the most important, step towards the success of Dr. Zhang’s proteomics study.
Jing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. He received his initial undergraduate and medical training in Shanghai, China. After graduating from a Ph.D. program in Cell Biology at Duke University in 1995, he finished his medical residency and fellowship in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology, respectively, at Vanderbilt University in 2001. While his research focus was centered on brain ischemia in his Ph.D. program, as a neuropathology fellow, Dr. Zhang turned his attention to neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease.
This annual award is generously sponsored by Elan Pharmaceuticals.