WPI Professor David Adams Named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Honored for Replication of Alzheimer’s Disease in Mouse
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December 18, 2008

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WORCESTER, Mass.– December 18, 2008 -- David S. Adams, professor of biology and biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Adams is being honored for distinguished contributions to the field of biology, particularly his successful replication of Alzheimer's disease in a mouse model.

Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Adams, along with this year’s other newly inducted fellows, will receive a certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 14 during the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

In his research, Adams investigates the genetic and biochemical underpinning of Alzheimer’s disease. He has also studied a class of neuroprotective peptides that may one day help slow or even prevent the brain disorder. These neurotrophic factors, which facilitate neuronal growth and survival, may have therapeutic applications for stroke and heart attacks, in addition to Alzheimer's disease. In particular, Adams and his research team work with smaller peptide chains that mimic the activity of the full-length factors, but which are better candidates for therapeutic applications since that can more easily cross the blood brain barrier.

His work has resulted in 36 presentations at national and international scientific meetings and 27 refereed publications in high-impact journals. Among those was a seminal 1995 paper in the prestigious international journal Nature that described the development of a transgenic mouse that expresses the amyloid protein believed to play a critical role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The mouse has become the established model for the investigation of the disease and has been cited more than 1,300 times in journal articles.

Adams earned a PhD at the University of Texas and was a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University, with funding from the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health, before joining the WPI faculty in 1984. The university has recognized his accomplishments as an educator, mentor, and researcher by presenting him with the WPI’s Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching (1990), the inaugural Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Academic Advising (2000), and the Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize (2008).

About AAAS

Founded in 1848, AAAS includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. It publishes Science, which, with 1 million readers, has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. Open to all, AAAS fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, and science education.