Decoding and unraveling the mysteries of certain neurodegenerative diseases are keeping some of Emory's top neurologists trekking to a land far, far away. From Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- or Lou Gehrig's disease, Emory researchers are collaborating with scientists at an Icelandic company called deCODE Genetics to identify genes which may contribute to the development of these diseases.
Allan I. Levey, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, will deliver a Great Teachers Lecture entitled "Hot Stuff from a Cool Place: The Emory-Iceland Connection and Genetics of Neurodegenerative Disease." The lecture will be held on Thursday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the University's Miller-Ward Alumni House, 815 Houston Mill Road.
The lecture will focus on Emory's partnership with deCODE and the ongoing research projects in which the researchers collaborate. Emory formed a strategic alliance with deCODE in 2002. Based in Reykjavik, deCODE uses its uniquely comprehensive population data to uncover the genetic factors underlying common diseases. The study of genealogy is a national Icelandic pastime and family lineages are well characterized and recorded. Because of this precise method of charting, deCODE has created an extensive database that anonymously cross-references genealogical information about the Icelandic population with genetic and disease data from volunteer participants and their relatives in more than 50 diseases projects.
Emory University physicians and scientists are tapping into the genetic clues provided by deCODE to advance clinical and laboratory research within the diverse Emory patient population. In addition, Emory is contributing extensive clinical and research expertise to deCODE in a number of medical specialties.
A faculty member since 1991, Dr. Levey is a renowned investigator of degenerative brain disorders. Besides chairing the Department of Neurology, Dr. Levey also holds the positions of director of both the Emory School of Medicine Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Emory University School of Medicine MD/PhD Training Program. He has secondary faculty appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
During the past 14 years, Dr. Levey's laboratory at Emory has been awarded millions of dollars in federally sponsored research support. He is internationally recognized for pioneering research in the chemical, molecular and pharmacological organization of brain systems targeted in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. His work has contributed to understanding the brain systems involved in neurodegenerative disorders and in identifying molecular targets for new therapeutic strategies. Dr. Levey's Great Teachers Lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is also available. For more information, please contact the Emory Center for Lifelong Learning at 404-727-6000.