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Leading Alzheimer’s researcher among St. Kate’s Commencement speakers

Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe has been studying Alzheimer’s disease for more than 20 years.
Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe has been studying Alzheimer’s disease for more than 20 years.
Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota.

In 2005, Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe made headlines when she discovered that memory loss is reversible in mice. Her research, which included the development of a line of transgenic mice that develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s Disease, has had broad implications for the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the disease.

Ashe, who directs the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care at the University of Minnesota, will give the address during St. Catherine University’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m. on May 19.

She was raised in St. Paul, Minn., and received a B.S. in chemistry and physics from Harvard University in 1975, a Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1982.

After completing a medical internship and neurology residency at the University of California, Ashe conducted post-doctoral research under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Dr. Stanley Prusiner.

She joined the Neurology Department at the University of Minnesota in 1992 and the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System’s Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in 2002. She also holds the Edmund Wallace and Anne Marie Tulloch Chairs in Neurology and Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Ashe’s transgenic mice model was named one of the Top 10 Medical Advances by Harvard Medical School, and the National Institutes of Health hailed it for its usefulness in testing drugs that affect the disease and treat its symptoms.

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May 19, 11 a.m., Associate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Toné Blechert ’67, MAOL’93 

May 20, 2 p.m., Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Kathleen O'Brien ’67

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May 7, 2012 by Pauline Oo

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