Inaugural Rainwater Prize Winners Focus on Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Research

Inaugural Rainwater Prize Winners Focus on Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Research
An eminent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) scientist, Michel Goedert, and an early career genomic engineering investigator, Patrick Hsu, are inaugural winners of the Rainwater Prize Program that acknowledges leading work in brain research. Such work includes groundbreaking efforts to advance new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's, that are associated with tau protein accumulation in the brain. Managed by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, the newly established prize is also designed to attract researchers to the tauopathy field. Program leader at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom, Goedert received the Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research. That honor nets him $250,000 for his contribution to the understanding of tau-related diseases. “It is an honor to be recognized by a group of experts who understand the critical role played by the tau protein in many neurodegenerative diseases,” Goedert said in a news release. “With this prize, my goal is to encourage other researchers to join us in further exploring the root causes of these diseases and eventually to partner in developing novel methods for prevention of disease.” Goedert received wide acclaim in his field by demonstrating that tau is an important part of the paired helical filaments of Alzheimer's, and uncovering the tau isoforms expressed in the human brain. Since then, he has helped establish the centrality of the abnormal collection of tau protein to tauopathies. He and his team also identified one of the first mutations in the gene that encodes tau — MAPT — that causes inherited frontotemporal dementia. As it does to some extent in other neurodegenerative disorders, tau
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