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The Administrative Core is responsible for the scientific leadership and stewardship of Center resources as a whole. Each year the Administrative Core brings together investigators for symposia [Link to Zilkha Symposium] and workshops. The Administrative Core also fosters the development and selection of pilot projects.

Leadership team

Helena Chui MD., Director

During the past 30 years, Dr. Chui’s research interests have focused on aging, Alzheimer disease, and vascular contributions to cognitive impairment in late life. For the past 20 years, she served as principal investigator of the Aging Brain Program Project, a multi-institutional longitudinal study to characterize interactions between vascular and Alzheimer disease, using state-of-the-art clinical-imaging-pathological correlations. Her team is particularly interested in non-occlusive pathways leading from vascular risk factors to vascular brain injury or AD pathology. Recently, they showed that low HDL and high HDL-C are independently correlated with β-amyloid deposition in the brain and that HDL-C may have a protective effect against brain atrophy. During the past 10 years, Dr. Chui has served Director of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center and Chair of the Department of Neurology at USC.

Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD., Co-Director

Dr. Zlokovic has a long standing interest in understanding the role of cerebral blood vessels and blood-brain barrier in the pathogenesis and treatment of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and stroke. Using experimental models of Alzheimer’s disease and studying human brain, his research team has shown that disruption of cellular cross-talk within the neurovascular unit can initiate neuronal dysfunction and injury, degeneration and loss, as well as accumulation Aβ and tau pathology. His lab has been working on developing new biomarkers of cell and system specific injury within the neurovascular unit; and new imaging biomarkers of neurovascular function in humans (DCE-MRI test) to narrow the gap between preclinical translational studies and clinical studies.

Caleb Finch PhD., Founding Director

In 1984, Dr. Finch brought together scientists from USC, UCI, Cal Tech and the City of Hope to become one of five inaugural Alzheimer Disease Research Centers funded by the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Finch has long-standing interests in environmental influences on aging, which began with an invited review in Science showing that heritable factors account for <35% individual differences in lifespan. His work on Alzheimer disease led him to investigate the role of inflammation, diet and most recently, urban environmental factors in brain aging. Working with colleagues in epidemiology and experimental animal models, he has drawn attention to the adverse impact of nano-sized particulate matter (urban air pollution) on humans and rodent brains throughout life.

Elena Taylor Munoz, MS.

Ms. Munoz has served as the ADRC Administrator for the past 15 years. She has extensive experience in managing NIH-funded multi-center grants, including program projects and Alzheimer Disease Centers. This includes management of grants, reports, financial, regulatory, personnel, contracts, and material transfers involving institutions across the country.