BrightFocus Foundation Lauds Recipients of Prestigious MetLife Awards for Alzheimer’s Research

  • Press Release
Published on:

BrightFocus Grantees Bateman and Haass Honored

CLARKSBURG, MD—BrightFocus Foundation, which funds research worldwide on diseases of mind and sight, today congratulated two of its grantees – Randall Bateman, MD of St. Louis and Christian Haass, PhD of Munich—who tonight are receiving the 2015 MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s disease.

“BrightFocus identified Drs. Bateman and Haass’ promising research and prodigious talents early in their careers. They are two of the finest researchers we have helped support, and I congratulate them on receiving this great honor,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Haller.”

Randall Bateman, MD is the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology, at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is widely regarded for his work on biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, and for the innovation of his SILK technology. Dr. Bateman lead the development of SILK (or stable isotope-linked kinetics), a process that made it possible to determine that the clearance of amyloid beta is impaired in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

BrightFocus has twice funded Dr. Bateman: a 2008 grant for a study on the roles of ApoE alleles as genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s; and a current study using the SILK method to measure how quickly the tau protein is produced and cleared away in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Christian Haass, PhD, is Professor of Biochemistry at the Biomedical Center, Ludwig Maximilians University, and at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, both in Munich.  He is known for his work to unravel the biology behind gamma-secretase inhibitors, the enzymes involved in the generation of amyloid beta peptides, which play a crucial role in the development of Alzheimer’s. He helped demonstrate that the accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain is a normal part of the aging process, but something goes awry in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Haass was funded by BrightFocus in 2002 for work to identify the genes and the processes involved in potentially blocking the generation of amyloid-peptide using gamma-secretase inhibitors.

BrightFocus, a Maryland non-profit, recently announced $11 million in new research grants, a record annual amount for the nonprofit organization working to cure diseases of mind and sight. In the past three years alone, the Foundation invested over $27 million in new scientific research and is managing a portfolio of 150 promising projects worldwide.