lindy harrellThe UAB Alzheimer's Disease Center was chartered by the Board of Trustees on December 13, 1991, with Dr. Lindy Harrell as the founding director. Dr. Harrell joined the UAB faculty in 1983 as the fourth member of the new Department of Neurology and established a thriving program of research and clinical care in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. She led the center until 2005 and retired in 2013, when she was appointed Professor Emeritus. In recognition of her leadership and contributions, the department hosts a distinguished expert in AD research annually as the Harrell Lecturer in Alzheimer's disease.  Dr. Daniel Marson led the center from 2005-2015 and was also appointed Professor Emeritus upon his retirement, when Dr. Erik Roberson became the Center's third director.

Alzheimer's disease research at UAB has a long and distinguished history. Important discoveries made at UAB over the years include:

  • One of the four papers published in the spring of 1986 showing that neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of AD patients are composed of tau, led by the late Dr. Skip Binder.
  • The original publication showing that tau is hyperphosphorylated in AD, also by Dr. Binder in collaboration with Drs. Inge and Khalid Iqbal.
  • Seminal work on tau phosphorylation by Dr. Gail Johnson.
  • Pioneering work on changes in the cholinergic system in AD by Dr. Lindy Harrell.
  • Studies of functional decline in financial capacity and medical decision-making capacity in persons with MCI and AD by Dr. Dan Marson.