Fagan receives lifetime achievement award from Alzheimer’s Association

Anne Fagan, PhD, an internationally recognized expert on fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named the 2023 recipient of the Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alzheimer’s Association. The award recognizes a senior investigator whose contributions have made a lasting impact on the field and whose body of work has demonstrated a careerlong commitment to progress against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Fagan pioneered the use of biomolecules found in the cerebrospinal fluid — the liquid that bathes the brain and spinal cord — as markers of Alzheimer’s pathology. Her many achievements include demonstrating that biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid accurately reflect the degree of Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain as seen on a brain scan; showing that such biomarkers reliably can identify individuals with Alzheimer’s brain changes even in the absence of cognitive symptoms; and proving that such biomarkers are useful for predicting cognitive decline. The identification and development of fluid biomarkers have transformed the way Alzheimer’s disease is studied and Alzheimer’s clinical trials are run. As a relatively accessible source of information on all sorts of changes to the brain over time, fluid biomarkers underpin many of the most important Alzheimer’s discoveries of the past two decades.

In recent years, Fagan’s interests have expanded from the two canonical markers of Alzheimer’s disease — amyloid beta and tau — to include biomarkers of neuroinflammation, neuronal injury and synaptic dysfunction. She also has been a longtime contributor to global biomarker standardization and validation efforts, to harmonize research efforts and facilitate biomarker use in clinical settings worldwide.

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