Director of Alzheimer's Disease Center honored
with first international neurology medal

Dr. Roger Rosenberg
Dr. Roger Rosenberg

DALLAS — Sept. 28, 2009 — Dr. Roger Rosenberg, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been awarded the first Medal for Scientific Achievement by the World Federation of Neurology.

The federation is made up of more than 100 neurology associations internationally. It established the award, and another for service to international neurology, in 2008. The prizes are the first ever given by the federation.

“I am honored that my colleagues in the World Federation of Neurology have recognized my efforts to develop the study of molecular genetics in neurological diseases, from Machado-Joseph disease to Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “I also want to acknowledge my colleagues at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center for their clinical and research efforts, which have facilitated my own research.”

The award will be presented at the federation’s World Congress of Neurology in Bangkok on Oct. 26. Dr. Rosenberg, who has studied the genetic basis of neurological diseases for three decades, is also co-chair of the meeting’s scientific program and provided input on molecular genetics for previous programs of the federation.

In 1975 he and his colleagues published the first in a series of papers on the clinical and genetic basis for an inherited disease that causes degeneration in a brain region essential for balance and coordination. He named the ailment Machado-Joseph disease after two affected families. 

He and his colleagues showed that this disease is caused by repeats of a small DNA coding in a single gene. Detection of this mutation and genetic counseling has eliminated the disease in affected families. 

Similar repeats have been found to occur in Huntington’s disease and other disorders of coordination.

Currently, Dr. Rosenberg’s research centers on a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease that uses DNA to create antibodies against beta-amyloid, a small protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. He recently received a patent for this approach.

Among his many publications is The Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disease, the leading textbook in the field, which is now in its fourth edition.

Dr. Rosenberg attended Tufts University and received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and medical degree with distinction from Northwestern University. He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1973, served as chairman of neurology until 1991 and became director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center in 1988.  

The center, one of 32 funded by the National Institutes of Health, contains five core groups that conduct clinical research, study the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s, provide education and outreach to the community, support data management and provide administrative functions.

Dr. Rosenberg served as president of the American Academy of Neurology from 1991 to 1993. He is editor-in-chief of Archives of Neurology and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Media Contact: Aline McKenzie
214-648-3404
aline.mckenzie@utsouthwestern.edu

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