Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.


Investigator
Neurology, Mass General Research Institute
Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation
Harvard Medical School
Vice-Chair
Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director
Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Co-Director
Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health, Massachusetts General Hospital
Co-Director
MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital
PhD Harvard University 1990
B.S. Microbiology; B.A. History University of Rochester 1980
3d cell cultures; adam proteins; alzheimer's disease; alzheimer's in a dish; amyloid beta-peptides; amyloid beta-protein precursor; amyloid precursor protein secretases; antimicrobial cationic peptides; apolipoproteins e; ataxin-1; caspases; cd33; dementia; epigenetics; familial alzheimer's disease; gamma secretase modulators; genetic predisposition to disease; genetics of alzheimer's disease; isoflurane; metal chaperones; microglia; neurogenesis; neuroinflammation; neuroplasticity; organoid platforms; presenilin-1; presenilin/gamma-secretase; trem2

Dr. Tanzi is the Vice-Chair of Neurology, Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Co-Director of the Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health, and Co-Director of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves as the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tanzi received his BS (microbiology) and BA (history) at the University of Rochester in 1980 and his PhD (neurobiology) at Harvard Medical School in 1990.

Dr. Tanzi co-discovered the first Alzheimer’s disease (AD) gene, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene, and the two other early-onset familial AD genes, presenilin 1 and presenilin 2. As leader of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Dr. Tanzi identified several other AD genes, including CD33, the first AD gene shown to regulate neuroinflammation. He also discovered the Wilson’s disease gene and other neurological disease genes.

Dr. Tanzi’s team was the first to use human stem cells to create three-dimensional neural-glial; cell culture organoids of AD, dubbed “Alzheimer’s-in-a-Dish”. This model was the first to recapitulate all three key AD pathological hallmarks in vitro, and first to definitively show that amyloid plaques directly cause neurofibrillary tangles. The 3-D model also made drug screening for AD faster and more cost-effective. Using this system, Dr. Tanzi has developed several novel therapies for AD including gamma secretase modulators targeting amyloid pathology (Phase 1 clinical trial planned 2021) and AMX0035 (Phase 2 clinical trial readout in 2021), which was already successful in a clinical trial of ALS and now seeking FDA approval. Dr. Tanzi also discovered that beta-amyloid plays a functional role in the brain as an anti-microbial peptide, supporting a role for infection in AD pathology.

Dr. Tanzi serves as Chair of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Leadership Group and numerous advisory and editorial boards, He has published over 600 research papers and has received the highest awards in his field, including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award, Potamkin Prize, Ronald Reagan Award, Oneness in Humanity Award, Silver Innovator Award, the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, the Brain Research Foundation Award, and the Kary Mullis Award for Medical Research. He has been named to TIME magazine’s list of TIME100 Most Influential People in the World. Dr. Tanzi is a New York Times bestselling author who has co-authored the books Decoding Darkness, and the bestsellers Super Brain, Super Genes, and The Healing Self with Dr. Deepak Chopra. Dr. Tanzi has hosted several shows on public television, regularly appears on television news programs, and has testified to Congress on both Alzheimer’s disease and brain health.