Ann-Charlotte Granholm-Bentley, PhD, DDS

All investigators involved in this project have significant experience in the Down syndrome and Alzheimer fields.

Ann-Charlotte Granholm, PhD, DDS, is the executive director of the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging at University of Denver (DU). She has a broad background in neurodegenerative disease, especially as it pertains to Down syndrome (DS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and aging. She has been funded by the NIH for 25 years and has more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, most of them related to aging, neurodegeneration, or behavioral alterations associated with aging, including both cognitive and motor domains of function. Dr. Granholm was the director of the Brain Bank at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for 15 years, and is now the inaugural Executive Director for the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging at DU since 2016. Dr. Granholm’s laboratory is highly focused on exosome work, both in mouse models and humans. Dr. Granholm recently published the first study on AD biomarkers in exosomes from patients with DS-related AD and controls, demonstrating that AD biomarkers are present early in life in those with DS. This was a collaborative study, co-authored by Dr. Mufson (below) and several collaborative partners. 

Elliott Mufson, PhD, is professor of Neurobiology and director of the Alzheimer’s Research Laboratory at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. He is the principal investigator of a multisite clinical molecular neuropathology program project grant entitled “Neurobiology of Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly,” supported by the National Institute of Aging. This program involves investigators at several different universities and Alzheimer disease (AD) centers within the USA. He brings to the project his research perspective in human brain clinical pathological studies, as well as expertise in human single cell gene array technology. He is an internationally recognized expert in human brain connectivity and the neurobiology of mild cognitive dementia and AD and has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications on molecular and cellular pathology of AD and DS in human brain and mouse models of this disorder.

Elizabeth Head, PhD, directs the University of Kentucky Aging Study in Down Syndrome, consisting of a cohort of more than 70 adults with DS, a cohort made up primarily of individuals without dementia, as well as a smaller group of individuals with dementia who have been followed for up to eight years. This study has been funded by the NIH/NICHD (R01HD064993). Dr. Head has published extensively in the DS, aging, and dementia field, with over 50 papers in this area.  She has contributed to several books and special topics issues dedicated to describing research in aging adults with DS. She brings her expertise in lifespan changes in brain proteins that may contribute to AD (AD) in DS. Her current work is focused on cerebrovascular dysfunction and white matter integrity losses as underlying pathologies contributing to the development of dementia in DS.  Dr. Head has a background of working on autopsy tissue from DS donors, having served as co-leader of the University of California-Irvine AD Research Center Neuropathology Core, and director of its brain Tissue Repository. She also has been involved with imaging studies in DS to detect structural, connectivity and cerebrovascular changes as a function of age and dementia.