RUDOLPH TANZI
DR. RUDOLPH E. TANZI, DIRECTOR, GENETICS AND AGING RESEARCH UNIT, MASSGENERAL INSTITUTE FOR NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE & JOSEPH P. AND ROSE F. KENNEDY PROFESSOR OF NEUROLOGY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

AFFILIATION:
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

DEPARTMENT:
Genetic and Aging Research Unit

Charlestown, Massachusetts

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EDUCATION
University of Rochester BS/BA, Microbiology/History 1976 – 1980 Activities and Societies: Sigma Chi Harvard University Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), NeuroscienceBIO
Dr. Tanzi is the Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which includes eight laboratories that do research on the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Since the 1980s, Dr. Tanzi’s studies were mainly on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In 1987, he was behind the isolation of the first familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) gene, known as the amyloid beta-protein (A4) precursor (APP), and in 1995 of another gene called presenilin 2. He also collaborated on the isolation of the second FAD gene, presenilin 1. In 1993, Dr. Tanzi isolated the gene responsible for the neurological disorder known as Wilson’s disease. Over the past 25 years, he has collaborated on studies identifying several other neurodegenerative disease genes including those causing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neurofibromatosis. Dr. Tanzi’s laboratory first discovered that the metals zinc and copper are necessary for the formation of neurotoxic assemblies of the AD-associated peptide, A-beta, the main component of beta-amyloid deposits in brains of AD patients. These studies have led to ongoing clinical trials for treating and preventing AD by targeting A-beta metal interactions. Dr. Tanzi was also involved in the first studies implicating gamma-secretase modulators as therapeutics for AD. These trials were carried out by Prana Biotechnology, LTD, for which Dr. Tanzi served as a co-founder. Dr. Tanzi is currently carrying out genome wide association screens to identify novel genes associated with AD and autism spectrum disorders, he spearheads the Alzheimer’s Genome Project. This achievement was named one of the “Top Ten Medical Breakthroughs of 2008” by Time Magazine.   Dr. Tanzi is one of the ten most cited researchers in AD, having co-authored over 340 research articles. He is also a co-author of a popular trade book on Alzheimer’s disease entitled “Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease”. In 2012, he co-authored the book “Super Brain” with Dr. Deepak Chopra, it is a New York Times Best Seller for 8 weeks. Dr. Tanzi has received several awards for his work, including the two highest awards for Alzheimer’s disease research: The Metropolitan Life Foundation Award and The Potamkin Prize. He has also received the Reagan National Alzheimer’s Disease Research Award, an NIH MERIT Award, and the “Oneness of Humanity” Global Award, and is an AAAS Fellow. In 2007, he was included on the list of the “Harvard 100: Most Influential Alumni” of over 220,000 living alumni. His invited honorary lectures include a Nobel Forum Lecture, Smithsonian Institution Distinguished Lecture, and the Society for Neuroscience Public Lecture. Dr. Tanzi is the Chairman of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium and serves over 40 editorial and scientific advisory boards.