Dennis J. Selkoe

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Dennis J. Selkoe
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Born(1943-09-25)25 September 1943
New York City, United States
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Columbia University (Bachelor,1965) University of Virginia School of Medicine (M.D. 1969) Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
OccupationPhysician (neurologist)
Known for
Selkoe Laboratory (founder)Molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease (Research)
A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine (2002) Potamkin Prize (1989) Alzheimer's Association (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008)

Dennis J. Selkoe (born September 25, 1943, in New York City) is an American physician (neurologist) known for his research into the molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease.[1] He is also a member of the American Association for the AAAS and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IoM).[2]

Career and Early Life

Selkoe studied at Columbia University (Bachelor's degree 1965) and the University of Virginia School of Medicine (M. D. 1969).[3] He also took up a residency (internship) program at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital (1969). From 1970 to 1972, Selkoe performed research at the National Institutes of Health and continued his residency as a neurologist at the Peter Bent Brigham Children's Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. In 1975, he held the position of instructor at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, before moving up to become an assistant professor of this health institution in 1978.[4] The year 1985 saw Selkoe take the mantle of Co-Director of the Center for Neurological Diseases and from 1990, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (Vincent and Stella Coates Professor of Neurological Diseases).[5] In 1978, he established a laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital to apply biochemical and cell biological methods to the study of degenerative neural diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.[6] In 1982, he and collaborators isolated the clusters of neurofibrils typical of Alzheimer's disease and described their chemical properties. With other laboratories, he showed that the tau protein of the microfibrils is their main component. With his laboratory, he also conducted extensive research on the second pathogenic component, senile plaques of beta-amyloid (Aβ).[7] They discovered in 1992 that Aβ is also formed in normal cells from its precursor APP. The study of these processes led to the identification of inhibitors for the formation of Aβ. Selkoe was also able to show with his laboratory that innate mutations in the APP genes and the presenilin genes cause Alzheimer's disease (increased Aβ production). In 1999, Selkoe and co-workers identified presenilin as the long-sought-after gamma-secretase, one of the enzymes involved in the pathogenic conversion of APP to Aβ in Alzheimer's disease. In his laboratory, it could also be shown that small, soluble oligomers from Aβ can damage the synapses and have an influence on memory performance. He was the principal founding scientist of the pharmaceutical company Athena Neurosciences (Elan Corporation).[8] In 2001 he was one of the founders of the Harvard Medical Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair.[9] He has received several awards for his Alzheimer's research. In 2002 he received the A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine, the Rita Hayworth Award from the Alzheimer's Association (1995)[10], the Wood Kalb Foundation Prize (1984), the Potamkin Award , and the Metlife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Metropolitan Life Foundation Award. He received an honorary doctorate from Harvard in 1991. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Medicine.[11] His post-doctoral fellows include Christian Haass, Edward H. Koo, Thomas Koeglsperger, Tracy L. Young-Pearse, Nobuyuki Nukina, and Dominic Walsh.[12]

Awards and Honors

Over the years, Dennis J. Selkoe received many awards and honors from various organizations and medical institutions. In 2002, he was awarded the A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine. He's also a recipient of the Life Achievement Award from the Alzheimer's Association, an honor the group bestowed on him in 2008.[13]

Some of the numerous awards and honors Selkoe has collected include the Potamkin Prize, the Mathilde Solowey Award, and the Ulysses Medal of University College Dublin.





  1. "Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe Neurologist in Boston, MA". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  2. "Institute of Medicine News: IOM elects 64 new members, five foreign associates". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Christine Stencel. 2005-10-24. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  3. "Biography – The Laboratory of Dennis J. Selkoe, MD". Brigham and Women's Hospital. Selkoe Laboratory. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  4. "ADDING MULTIMEDIA MetLife Foundation Marks 20th Anniversary of Awards for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease; Two Decades of Investing in Science and Scientists". Business Wire. 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  5. "DENNIS SELKOE, M.D." Cure Alzheimer's Fund. Curealz. 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  6. "The Laboratory of Dennis J. Selkoe, MD". Brigham and Women's Hospital. Selkoe Laboratory. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  7. "The Laboratory of Dennis J. Selkoe, MD". Selkoe Lab. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  8. "Dennis Selkoe, MD". World Neuroscience Innovation Forum. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  9. "Biography". Selkoe Lab. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  10. "Rochester neuroscientist receives $1 million Alzheimer's research award". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Tom Rickey. 1999-11-16. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  11. "DENNIS J. SELKOE (1943), USA". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Knaw. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  12. "Dennis J. Selkoe, MD". Neurotree. Miso. 2006-12-03. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  13. "AAIC 2019 - Awards". Alzheimer's Association. AAIC. 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-03.

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