Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Moving up

Greetings, fellow TUF bloggers. I have good news and bad news:

The good news: my lab has moved to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida!

The bad news: hmmm…well, I guess there is no bad news, after all!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the place, the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville (MCJ) is unquestionably one of THE top centers for Alzheimer’s research in the country (make that the planet!), home to a long list of preeminent Alzheimer’s scientists such as Steve Younkin, Todd Golde and Dennis Dickson, to name just a few. Moreover, MCJ served as a fertile launching pad for the careers of numerous others Alzheimer’s luminaries such as John Hardy, Mike Hutton and others.

So, what's the secret ingredient that led to all this success? It was the Mayo’s sage decision to build a research group in Jacksonville that focuses exclusively on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. This allowed the development of a critical mass that most other institutions lack, which fosters collaboration, makes maximum use of shared resources, and lowers the threshold for significant breakthroughs. I am grateful beyond expression to be associated with such an esteemed group of scientists.

There are more specific reasons for my move, as well, relating to my lab's interest in beta-amyloid degradation. Chris and Elizabeth Eckman are among the earliest pioneers in the broader area of beta-amyloid degradation. Moreover, Steve Younkin and his colleages were among the first to identify the link between Alzheimer’s disease and variations in insulin-degrading enzyme (my favorite beta-amyloid-degrading enzyme and yours). I can only hope that my arrival will make the critical mass more, well, critical!

I have actively collaborated with Mayo scientists for almost a decade, but I’m almost embarrassed to say that, until visiting earlier this year, I didn’t realize what a great thing they have going here. Instead of hiring and training undergraduates to perform the chemical studies I’m involved in, I now have access to a chemistry core (run be real chemists)! Instead of hiring and training technicians to stain the brains of the Alzheimer’s mouse models I work with, I can collaborate with the world’s experts! Instead of shipping my samples to the Mayo to measure beta-amyloid levels, as I have done for years, I can simply drop them off down the hall, or run the samples myself! I’m like a kid in a toy store!!

I hope the reader will stay tuned for some exciting developments to come. Moving twice in two years has surely slowed things down some, but I have tons of data I’m currently writing up, and I know my tenure at MCJ will help me make up for lost ground.

Get your subscriptions for
Nature and Science before it’s too late!

--Malcolm Leissring, Ph.D.

1 comment:

  1. Malcolm,

    Thanks for the update. I can't wait to hear more about your work at Mayo!

    Mona Johnson
    The Tangled Neuron