Alzheimer’s researcher first in Summer Institute Speaker Series

MV Times File Photo

Rudolph Tanzi, a pioneering researcher in the study of Alzheimer’s disease, will open the 2014 speaker series of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center’s Summer Institute with a talk on Thursday, July 10, “Ending Alzheimer’s Disease in our Lifetime: From Genes to Therapies.”

Dr. Tanzi holds the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Neurology and Mental Retardation at Harvard University. For more than 30 years, his groundbreaking research has focused on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In 1980 he participated in the work that led to the location of the gene for Huntington’s disease — the first disease gene ever found by genetic linkage analysis. Since then, he has helped discover all three genes now known to be associated with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s.

As director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital — also known as the Tanzi Lab — Dr. Tanzi oversees eight laboratories investigating the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s. He is one of the world’s most-cited authors on AD, having written a popular book on the subject, “Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.” With Deepak Chopra, he co-wrote the popular book “Super Brain” and starred in a television special adapted from the book by PBS.

An impassioned advocate for neuroscience research and public outreach, he’s also known as a “rock star of science” for his skills as a jazz organist who has recorded with Aerosmith.

Thursday evening programs of the Summer Institute, which begin at 7:30 pm, are held through mid-August at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. Doors open half an hour before the talks, and admission is $20. For more information, visit