Scientific Lectures | Gunnar Gouras

Professor Gunnar Keppler Gouras received his Bachelor of Arts and Science in Biology and later his MD degree from Columbia University in 1989. He completed his Neurology residency training at Harvard Medical School in 1995. He also finished his fellowship training in behavioural neurology and dementia at Cornell University Medical College.

Professor Gouras has dedicated a large part of his career to research on Alzheimer’s disease. He did his postdoctoral research training in Neuropathology/Alzheimer’s disease at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He continued his research in Cornell University Medical College and at Rockfeller University, where he worked at the Lab of Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience headed by Paul Greengard, Nobel laureate in 2000. At Rockefeller, he received from the National Institute of Health an NIH KO8 Clinical Scientist Development Award, in 1999.

Until 2011, Professor Gouras was Professor and Head of the Lab of Alzheimer’s disease Neurobiology in the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, USA. Since 2011, he has been living in Sweden, where he is Professor of Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University. In addition, he also holds the position of leader of the Experimental Dementia Research Unit in the department of Experimental Medical Science at the same university. Since 2012, he is also Head of the Section of Neurobiology and the Coordinator of the Strategic Research Environment in Neuroscience – MultiPark/NeuroLU. He is an Associate Editor for the Neurodegeneration section of the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal and a member of several scientific societies, such as the American Academy of Neurology amd the International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research.

Throughout his career, Professor Gouras has been awarded multiple times for his research on Alzheimer’s disease. He received the Paul Beeson Physician Scholars in Aging Research award (2000) from the American Federation for Aging Research, the Merck Young Investigator Award in Alzheimer’s disease from the American Academy of Neurology (2001), and Temple (2003) and Zenith (2007) awards from the Alzheimer’s Association.

EXPERIMENTAL DEMENTIA RESEARCH

Dementia is defined as a progressive and debilitating decline in cognitive function. The major causes of dementia are neurodegenerative diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading cause of dementia. Currently, there is neither a cure for this condition, nor treatments which effectively can contribute to slow its progression. Other types of dementia include Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and dementia related to vascular disease, which is an important cause and contributor.

The Experimental Dementia Research Unit aims to contribute to the development of more effective molecular based treatments for neurodegenerative diseases of aging. In order to accomplish this, they have been studying which biological and pathological mechanisms can contribute to the origin and progression of these diseases. In 2000, they have provided the first evidence that the accumulation and aggregation of β-amyloid inside neurons and in their terminals is crucial in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease and that this phenomena also occurs in Down Syndrome. This was an important breakthrough, since β-amyloid was traditionally perceived as a peptide that would aggregate outside neurons as amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. More of his recent work is focused on effects of synaptic activity on cellular β-amyloid metabolism and synapse pathology.

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