• Professor, Department of Neurology
  • Founding Director, N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care
  • Edmund Wallace and Anne Marie Tulloch Chairs in Neurology and Neuroscience

Karen Hsiao Ashe, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurology, is a pioneer in Alzheimer’s disease research. Ashe has studied the disease for more than 26 years and in her 20 years at the University of Minnesota she has trained more than 40 undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral scientists. Ashe has made a commitment in training the next generation of great scientists, in particular developing the careers of translational scientists. Her primary research areas include the genetics of human prion diseases; transgenic models of prion and Alzheimer’s diseases; and the molecular basis of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Ashe’s current research interest involves the discovery of tau mutations that cause neurodegeneration. Ashe created tau transgenic mice to study tau-based mechanisms of memory loss and neurodegeneration. In 2006, Ashe became the founding Director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care, a tripartite endeavor encompassing basic, translational and clinical research and care in memory disorders. 

  • Long-Term Care Professor, School of Public Health

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, a long-term care professor in the School of Public Health, researches the sources and effectiveness of long-term care for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Dr. Gaugler's interests include the ramifications of family care for adults with dementia, the effectiveness of community-based and psychosocial services for older adults with memory concerns and their caregiving families, and the social integration of residents in nursing homes, assisted living and family care. Gaugler serves as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Applied Gerontology and serves on the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, and Psychology and Aging. 

Expert in:
  • Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Medical School
  • Co-Director and ITN Scholar, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN)
  • Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Medical School

Michael K. Lee, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience.  An international leader in his field, Dr. Lee studies the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases using transgenic mouse models – or models that mimic the disease. Lee and his team seek to understand how neurons die in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and then develop ways to stop the conditions. In the Parkinson's mouse model, the group studies how abnormal alpha-synuclein (a protein abundant in brain) causes neurons to die and ways to slow this process. In the Alzheimer's mouse model, Lee and his team study how senile plaques (protein clumps) that are linked with Alzheimer's cause selected neurons to die. 

  • Professor and Associate Head, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School

James Pacala, MD, MS, is a practicing Family Medicine doctor in Minneapolis, and the Associate Head of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Pacala has conducted an array of research and published extensively on models of care delivery to geriatric populations and innovative teaching methods. He is co-author of the AGS practice handbook, Geriatrics At Your Fingertips. 

  • Associate Professor, School of Nursing
  • Associate Director, Doctoral Recruitment and Career Development Minnesota Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (MnHCGNE)
  • Editor, Nursing and Health Sciences

Dr. Fang Yu is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Dr. Yu’s teaching revolves around gerontological nursing, research, evidence-based practice, Science of Nursing Intervention, and AGNP specialty courses. Aside from teaching, Dr. Yu enjoys research on the following topics: effects of aerobic exercise in Alzheimer’s disease, physical activity and cognition, community-based care for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Dr. Yu is currently investigating the effects of a novel 6-month, individualized, moderate intensity cycling intervention on cognition and hippocampal volume in community-dwelling older adults with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.