Kentucky Alzheimer’s Researchers Step Up to Respond to Pandemic

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Donna M. Wilcock, PhD and her team during a Zoom meeting

As the global coronavirus pandemic began to hit our nation, University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s researcher Donna M. Wilcock, PhD and her team wanted to do something to help their community address the shortage of medical supplies hindering the local response.

Wilcock, who as a leading dementia scientist taught at the 2019 BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Fast Track, quickly mobilized her lab’s resources to help in this time of crisis.

“The local needs were so acute that when speaking with an official at the university’s health care system, they responded right away that they would take everything we have,” said Wilcock. “Twenty minutes later, our help was on the way.”

Photo of gloves, isolation masks, bleach, sanitizing spray, sleeve covers, eye protection, and other supplies
Wilcock’s lab shared the following resources with the local response:

  • 73 boxes of gloves
  • 8 packs of isolation masks
  • 6 bottles of bleach
  • 4 bottles of sanitizing spray
  • 1.5 cases sleeve covers
  • 9 pairs of eye protection

With most of her lab now working remotely, Wilcock and her colleagues have put in place ways to help the team’s well-being during this pandemic, “We have a daily check-in text message to make sure everyone is okay, and to even share memes.  We’ve also been having Zoom meetings to see everyone weekly.”

To support the research field during this time of great disruption, Lance Johnson, PhD, another faculty member at the University of Kentucky, has put together a virtual series of seminars featuring Alzheimer’s experts from around the world.

Wilcock and her colleagues at other Alzheimer’s centers around the nation are sharing with their patients a new a virtual guide to Alzheimer’s caregiving in a time of coronavirus.

Dr. Wilcock is the Associate Director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the Sweeney-Nelms Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease Research, both at the University of Kentucky.  Her 2019 presentation to the BrightFocus Fast Track was “Vascular Contributions to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia.”


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