Robert Vassar, PhD

Dr. Vassar received his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago in 1992, working in the lab of Dr. Elaine Fuchs modeling epidermal diseases in transgenic mice. He then did his postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Richard Axel at Columbia University in New York on the organization of odorant receptors in the olfactory system. Having a desire to study Alzheimer's disease (his mother died of the disorder), Vassar joined the biotechnology company Amgen in 1996 as a research scientist in the Neuroscience Department, where he discovered the β-secretase enzyme, BACE. After leaving Amgen in 2001, Vassar joined the faculty of the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, where he is Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and continues his work on BACE and mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis.

Vassar is the recipient of two prestigious Alzheimer's awards: The MetLife Foundation Award (2007) and the Potamkin Prize (2009).  Vassar is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member.