Dr. Matthew Huentelman honored for his contributions to Alzheimer's disease and aging research

PHOENIX, AZ, JUNE 3, 2008--Dr. Matthew Huentelman, an Associate Investigator in the Neurogenomics Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), was the recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium. Dr. Huentelman was recognized for his pioneering accomplishments in Alzheimer's disease research and for being an outstanding mentor to his research team and students.

"The Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium is extremely proud of Matt. He has already made significant contributions to the genetic understanding of memory and Alzheimer's disease, and to the discovery of promising memory-enhancing treatments. Matt's know-how and accomplishments, his dedication, hard work and enthusiasm, and his mentoring skills and collaborative spirit are examples for us all," said Dr. Eric Reiman, Director, Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium.

The Young Investigator Award is given annually to a young investigator in Arizona for their contributions to Alzheimer's disease and aging research. The selection process for the Young Investigator Award is extremely competitive. Each candidate is evaluated by the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium's Internal Scientific Advisory Board, which consists of 25 researchers from the organization's seven institutional members.

"I really value my relationship with the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium. There are many excellent young investigators within the Consortium, and I consider it a great honor to receive this award," said Dr. Huentelman.

Dr. Huentelman received a plaque and a $5,000 research grant to continue his work in memory research. He accepted the award at the Consortium's annual meeting attended by fellow researchers, members of the community, the Consortium's Internal and External Advisory Boards, and the meeting's keynote speaker, Dr. David Holtzman, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine.

"This is an outstanding honor for a terrific young scientist whose efforts are moving this field forward in remarkable ways," said TGen President Dr. Jeffrey Trent.

Currently, Dr. Huentelman is using genetic technologies to study a gene called KIBRA, which plays a significant role in memory performance in humans. Dr. Huentelman has received grants from the National Institutes of Health and Science Foundation Arizona to continue this work with the hope of developing promising new Alzheimer's disease treatments.

Dr. Huentelman joined TGen in July of 2004 after completing his doctoral work at the University of Florida's Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics where he investigated the application of gene therapy in the study of hypertension. His undergraduate degree is from Ohio University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Dr. Huentelman's career includes visiting researcher stints in Moscow, Russia at the prestigious Lomonosov Moscow State University and in the United Kingdom at the University of Bristol. At present time he has published over 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the scientific literature.

The Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium is the nation's leading model of statewide collaboration in Alzheimer's disease research. Established in 1998, the Consortium capitalizes on its participating institutions' complementary strengths in brain imaging computer science, genomics, the basic and cognitive neurosciences and clinical and neuropathology research to promote the scientific understanding and early detection of Alzheimer's disease and find effective disease-stopping and prevention therapies. It also seeks to educate Arizona residents about Alzheimer's disease, research progress in the state and the resources needed to help patients, families and professionals manage the disease. The Consortium is determined to find effective treatments to halt the progression and prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease in the next 12 years

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About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen's vision is of a world where an understanding of genomic variation can be rapidly translated in a manner tailored to individual patients.

About the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium
The Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium is a 501(c)(3) organization that includes the state-supported Arizona Alzheimer's Research Center (AARC), the National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded Arizona Disease Core Center (Arizona ADCC), and independently funded research programs. Its seven member institutions include: Arizona State University, the Barrow Neurological Institute, the Mayo Clinic Arizona, the Sun Health Research Institute, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the University of Arizona, and the Banner Alzheimer's Institute. Its three affiliated institutions include Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System and the University Physician's Hospital at Kino.

TGen Media Contact:
Galen Perry
(602) 343-8423

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