Biomarker Core

The overall goal of the UK-ADC Biomarker core is to perform state-of-the-art neuroimaging and fluid assessments to develop novel biomarkers for diagnosis and precision medicine. A biomarker describes a measure that is indicative of a specific pathological process. The biomarker core was added to the ADC in 2018 and the primary goals of the core are to: 

  1. Analyze existing MRI, PET, blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples for measures of Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. 
  2. Integrate all biomarker data into the ADC database so that data can be analyzed in addition to the other data on our research participants. 
  3. Provide biomarker data to researchers whose laboratories are studying these, and other, biomarkers. 
  4. Provide biomarker data to the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center for integration with other ADC datasets and nationwide sharing of data to advance the study of Alzheimer’s and dementia. 


The biomarker core is integrated with the other ADC cores, and we have added blood biomarker measures to our monthly clinical-pathological consensus conferences so that we cn begin to understand what blood measures may indicate with respect to brain pathology and clinical symptoms. 

Important discoveries by the core to date include:

  1. Development of accurate brain imaging methods to identify early stages of cerebrovascular disease.
  2. Linking specific cerebrospinal fluid and plasma biomarkers with specific brain imaging patterns.
  3. White matter hyperintensities do not behave the same way in every individual. We have found that they can grow over time in some individuals, remain stable, or in some cases even regress. 
  4. Plasma biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease are emerging as promising alternatives to costly imaging to determine brain amyloid load, but more testing needs to be done and is currently being performed in the core. 
  5. There are inflammatory biomarkers that appear to be associated with cerebrovascular disease. 


The biomarker core aims to develop blood-based biomarkers, and imaging based biomarkers, to discriminate the underlying cause of an individual’s cognitive impairment so that we can begin to move in a precision medicine direction for the treatment of cognitive impairment and dementia. 

Donna M. Wilcock, PhD

Address

101B
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
800 S. Limestone St.
Lexington, KY

Phone Number

(859) 218-2390 (office)

Email

donna.wilcock@uky.edu

Senior Investigators

  • Brian Gold PhD, Associate Core Director
  • Greg Jicha, MD, PhD
  • Ai-Ling Lin, PhD
  • Riham El-Khouli, MD

Staff
Fluid Biomarker Manager, Scientist IIITiffany Lee
MRI Imaging ScientistBeatriz Rodolpho
Data CoordinatorBrandon Ramey
No