Rudolph TanziDepartment of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Charlestown, MA, USA F1000 Faculty Member (since 28 March 2002)
Joseph P and Rose F Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr Tanzi completed his undergraduate education at the University of Rochester and earned his PhD at Harvard.
Dr Tanzi has received numerous awards, including the two highest awards for Alzheimer's disease research: The Metropolitan Life Award for Biomedical Sciences and the Potamkin Prize. In 2007, he was included on the list of the 'Harvard 100: Most Influential Alumni' and in 2009 was named a 'Rock Star of Science' in GQ magazine. He has also received the Ronald Reagan Award for Alzheimer's Disease, a French Foundation Fellowship Award, the Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences Award, the Nathan Shock, and the Alzheimer's Association TLL Temple Award. He was appointed a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Aging, and currently serves as the Chair of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund Research Consortium.
Dr Tanzi's research is primarily aimed at identifying and characterizing Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated gene mutations/variants with the ultimate goal of defining the molecular, cellular, and biochemical events leading to neuronal cell death in the brains of AD patients. Dr Tanzi has been investigating the genetics of neurological disease since 1980 when he participated in the study that led the first disease gene to be found by genetic analysis (Huntington's disease). In 1987, Dr Tanzi isolated the first familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) gene, known as the amyloid beta-protein (A4) precursor. In 1995, he co-discovered the second two FAD genes: presenilin 1 and 2. Dr Tanzi is currently carrying out genome wide screens to identify additional AD genes. In 1993, Dr Tanzi discovered the gene responsible for the neurological disorder known as Wilson's disease, and over the past 25 years, he has collaborated on studies identifying several other disease genes including those causing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and autism. Dr Tanzi currently spearheads the Alzheimers Genome Project, which recently identified four new AD gene candidates. This achievement was named one of the 'Top Ten Medical Breakthroughs of 2008 by Time Magazine. In 1994, Dr Tanzi discovered that the metals, zinc and copper, are necessary for the formation of neurotoxic assemblies of the A-beta peptide, the main component of beta-amyloid deposits in brains of AD patients. Based on this discovery, Dr Tanzi developed the 'Metal hypothesis of Alzheimers disease', which has led to successful clinical trials for treating and preventing AD by targeting Abeta-metal interactions. These trials were carried out by Prana Biotechnology Ltd, for which Dr Tanzi served as a co-founder.
Dr Tanzi has co-authored over 400 research articles, including three of the top ten most cited AD papers. He also co-authored the popular book 'Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease'.
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F1000 Biology Reports 2009 1:(54) (08 Jul 2009)
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