The KU ADRC supports work that further advances care, treatment, or prevention of AD, brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders.
Our Research Division is organized into 7 cores that provide research services. Researchers are encouraged to contact core leaders directly for information on available services and consultation.
Unique to the KU Alzheimer's Disease Research Center are the core research areas of Mitochondrial Genomics and Metabolism and Neuroimaging. The KU ADRC has successfully developed and recruited leading researchers from around the country who are applying state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques and advancing research in cell metabolism in older adults.
The KU ADRC has established itself as a pioneer in research that seeks to understand relationships that exist between our genes, the structural changes that take place in the brain as we age and Alzheimer's disease.
The Administrative Core oversees the operation of the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (KU ADRC).
The Administrative Core encourages investigators to utilize KU ADRC resources. We support a diverse spectrum of Alzheimer's disease and brain aging research. To further promote Alzheimer's disease and brain aging research in the Kansas City region, the Administrative Core also offers a Pilot Grant Program.
The role of the Administrative Core is to:
- Develop and oversee the KU ADRC, which supports, facilitates, and advances research on brain aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease and disease-related disorders
- Expand the base of clinical, translational and basic science investigators conducting research on brain aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease and disease-related disorders at the University of Kansas.
With the aging population, age-related disorders such as dementia are rising in prevalence at an unprecedented rate. Promoting and supporting clinical and translational research into neurodegenerative disorders may lead to important prevention and treatment strategies. The overall goal of the Clinical Core is to provide KU ADC investigators with access to a well-characterized cohort of research participants with and without dementia. The Clinical Core will continue to emphasize recruiting individuals without dementia and those in the earliest symptomatic stages of AD, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The role of the Clinical Core is to:
- Maintain an active group of research participants, both with and without memory problems, to support cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.
- Support and encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary studies on AD and aging by providing data, biological specimens, and clinical research structure, expertise and support to approved investigations and national data-sharing initiatives.
The Data Management and Statistics (DMS) Core provides support for many KU ADC activities, such as data collection on the Clinical Cohort, administrative tracking, pilot project development and review, and data management and statistical support for KU ADC pilot projects. The central focus of this core is managing and maintaining the entire spectrum of study-related information for the Clinical Cohort, as this information is collected across cores and research projects.
This core also supports research on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases by providing statistical and informatics expertise for investigators and projects that use the KU ADC in coordination with the Department of Biostatistics (including the Division of Medical Informatics).
The role of the DMS Core is to:
Share clinical cohort data with investigators
Assist investigators with statistical expertise and proper study design, interpretation and dissemination of study findings
Develop novel statistical methodology when needed for proper study interpretation
- Maintain the Researcher Resource Data Dictionary (R2D2) and Curated Clinical Cohort Phenotypes and Observations (C3PO). A rich dataset, it is!
The Neuropathology Core collects, characterizes, stores, and distributes brain tissue from Clinical Core autopsy participants, consisting of well-characterized individuals with Alzheimer's disease or related disorders and aged control individuals without neurological disease. This highly annotated brain tissue is provided to committed researchers to support the highest quality research in Alzheimer's, brain aging and related disorders.
Neuropathology services are also available to assist investigators in studying animal models of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
The role of the Neuropathology Core is to:
Perform diagnostic neuropathological evaluations using standardized protocols on postmortem brains from clinically characterized participants, essential to all related studies of these participants and correlations with other Alzheimer's Disease Centers
Prepare brain tissue for research in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders
Provide equivalent neuropathologic services to animal-based researchers studying animal models of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders
Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement Core connects our constituent stakeholders—the public, healthcare professionals, trainees and investigators—to each other and to each of our cores to facilitate aging and AD research. The Core works to educate on the latest research in the field of brain health and dementia. The Core organizes regular meetings, workshops and speaking engagements throughout the region. The Core is also responsible for linking individuals who are interested in participating in research studies with investigators. The ORE Core partners with Texas A&M University Geoservices for geolocation research purposes https://geoservices.tamu.edu/
The role of the Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement Core is to:
- Recruit participants for our many programs and studies
- Support the training of students and health professionals on clinical and research skills related to Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
- Increase knowledge of Alzheimer's and the KU ADRC in the public and academic communities
Neuroimaging provides a non-invasive means to measure the structure and function of the living human brain. The overall goal of the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Neuroimaging Core is to enhance the neuroimaging infrastructure and facilitate increased research in aging and Alzheimer's disease for researchers at the University of Kansas and other institutions. The Neuroimaging Core builds on the established resources of the KU Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center, which brings together a unique array of human and animal MRI, cortical, and fetal magnetoencephalography (MEG). In addition, the Neuroimaging Core works closely with The University of Kansas Health System, which provides positron emission tomography (PET) as well as a strong faculty of imaging scientists with outstanding experience across multiple modalities.
The role of the Neuroimaging Core is to:
- Provide an integrated imaging environment with advanced scientific support and subsidized scans for AD research
- Provide advanced training and education in imaging for KU ADRC investigators
- Develop novel imaging techniques for studies in AD
Mitochondrial dysfunction may represent one of the key cellular pathologies in Alzheimer’s disease and may be intimately related to its progression. Defective metabolism and increased generation of excess reactive oxygen species in mitochondria, as widely observed in Alzheimer's cases, can lead to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) oxidative modification and likely increases in rates of mtDNA mutations. Such molecular changes can enhance the mitochondrial and cellular pathology, especially in populations of neurons selectively vulnerable to oxidative stress.
The Biomarker Core of the KU Alzheimer's Disease Research Center was structured to provide unique resources and expertise to investigators who plan to probe mitochondrial changes in Alzheimer's disease and unravel the relationships between Alzheimer's and altered mitochondrial metabolism in white blood cells, platelets, neurons, glia, and muscle cells.
The role of the Biomarker Core is to:
Biomarker Core will assist investigators in studies on mitochondria obtained from the brain, muscle, white blood cells, and platelets of well-characterized cases of Alzheimer's, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and age-matched controls. Specifically, Biomarker offers the following core resources and expertise for ADC investigators:
- Preparation, cataloging, and storage of mitochondria, protein extracts, DNA, and RNA from living and deceased subjects recruited by the Clinical Core
- Preparation and banking of cybrid lines using neuronal and platelet mitochondria obtained from living participants
- Sequencing of mtDNA, determination of levels of mtDNA heteroplasmy, and measurements of mtDNA oxidation