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Turning the Tide on Dementia

Dr Chris Chen
Associate Professor Gary Cheung
Professor Karen Duff, PhD
Dr Ashleigh Smith
Professor Peter Nestor


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Dr Chris Chen

Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Dr Chen is a Senior Clinician-Scientist at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and is supported by a Singapore Translational Research Investigator Award from the National Medical Research Council of Singapore.

He trained at Cambridge, Oxford and the Institute of Neurology, London. His major research and clinical interests are in blood biomarkers, neuroimaging and treatment of stroke and dementia. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers, leads studies on the treatment and prevention of stroke and dementia and is a member of trial steering and safety committees.

As Director of the Memory Aging and Cognition Centre he has supervised over 40 post-graduate students, and as co-chair of the World Stroke Organisation’s Future Leaders Program hopes to enhance mentorship of young academics and clinicians.

Through his role as President of the Asian Society Against Dementia he aims to build more regional collaborations.

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Associate Professor Gary Cheung

The University of Auckland and Health New Zealand


Associate Professor Gary Cheung is an academic old age psychiatrist who has a joint appointment at The University of Auckland and Health New Zealand. He co-leads the dissemination and research of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, an evidence based psychological intervention for people with dementia in New Zealand, including adapting it for Māori and Pacific peoples. 

A/Prof Cheung was awarded the 2021 Alzheimers New Zealand Fellowship to recognise his contribution to psychosocial dementia research in New Zealand. He has a special interest in postgraduate psychiatry training and is the current Chair of the Subcommittee of Advanced Training in Psychiatry of Old Age, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

He currently leads the Chinese arm of a new Health Research Council funded 5-year multi-cultural research programme on establishing dementia prevalence, exploring experiences and expectations of dementia care, and co-creating strengths-based whole-of-system solutions to improve access and quality of dementia care in New Zealand.

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Professor Karen Duff, PhD

UK Dementia Research Institute, University College London


Professor Duff is the Centre Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London and Professor Emerita and Special Lecturer at the Department of Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York.

She received her PhD from Sydney Brenner’s department at the University of Cambridge in 1991. She undertook postdoc positions in London with Alison Goate from 1991-1992, and John Hardy at the University of South Florida from 1992-1994. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida from 1993-1996, Associate Professor at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville from 1996-1998, and Professor at the New York University Nathan Kline Institute from 1998-2006 followed by Columbia University from 2006-2019 where she was deputy director of the Taub Institute. 

Professor Duff explores disease mechanisms and test therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer’s disease, FTD and other dementias. Her current interests are exploring the mechanisms involved in the spread of pathogenic proteins within the brain, understanding the basis of selective cellular vulnerability and resilience to tauopathy and developing new mouse and cell models to understand the earliest stages in tau pathogenesis.


Professor Duff has published 140 peer-reviewed research articles and received several prizes including the Potemkin Prize in 2006 and most recently the British Neuroscience Association award for Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience in 2020 and Fellowship of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2022.

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Associate Professor Ashleigh Smith
Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) Research Centre, University of South Australia

Associate Professor Ashleigh Smith is a Henry Brodaty Dementia Australia Research Foundation Mid-Career Research Fellow and the Deputy Director of the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) Research Centre at the University of South Australia.

Over her career Dr Smith has published >70 peer reviewed publications, book chapters and industry reports, she has also been awarded $8.2 million in funding with $3.7 million as CIA, including leading projects such as the ACTIVate study (NHMRF/MRFF funded), the Small Steps study (MRFF funded) and her recently initiated Rural ACTIVate study - Re ACTIVate (funded by Dementia Australia Research Foundation).

Ash leads a team of 19 including directly supervising 3 post docs, 11 students and 5 research assistants. Ash and her team are passionate about reducing dementia risk in older adults most at risk of dementia by targeting modifiable dementia risk factors and translating that information into feasible and enjoyable intervention studies.

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Professor Peter Nestor

University of Qld and the Mater Hospital, QLD

Peter Nestor is conjoint professor of cognitive neurology at the University of Queensland and the Mater Hospital, where he established the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Clinic in 2018.

He trained in neurology in Melbourne and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen’s Square, London in the 1990s and then did a PhD in cognitive neurology at the University of Cambridge.

Afterwards he remained at the University of Cambridge/Addenbrooke’s Hospital for several years as a clinician-scientist. From 2012, until returning to Australia in 2017, he was Professor of Cognitive Neurology at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). His research focuses on neuropsychology and brain imaging in neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia.

His research publications have received over 18,000 citations with an H-Index of 69; his book contributions include chapters for the Oxford Text of Medicine; the Oxford Textbook of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia; and Dementia 5th Ed.

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Dr Heidi Jacobs

Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States

Heidi Jacobs is an Associate Professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and visiting Associate Professor at Maastricht University (Netherlands). She directs the Jacobs Lab with a focus on improving the early detection and treatment of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease by targeting the initial brain sites of pathology, the neuromodulatory subcortical systems. She is co-leader within the Harvard Aging Brain Study, Chair of the “neuromodulatory subcortical systems” professional interest area of ISTAART and advisory council member of ISTAART. Her work is supported by the NIH-NIA, BrightFocus Foundation and Alzheimer Association funding. Heidi Jacobs was trained in Biological psychology in the Netherlands, worked for several years in a clinical setting as a psychotherapist and neuropsychologist in Belgium, and in 2011 obtained her PhD in clinical neuroscience in the Netherlands. After her postdoctoral training in Germany, she received the prestigious VENI-independence award to start her own lab.  Dr. Jacobs has published over 130 peer-reviewed research articles and received the de Leon Neuroimaging award for the best neuroimaging paper of 2021 and the International Junior Investigator award from the International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology.

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Dr Stephen Salloway

Founding Director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, Associate Director of the Brown Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Brown University, United States
Dr. Salloway is an internationally recognized leader in clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. He received his MD from Stanford Medical School and completed residencies in neurology and psychiatry at Yale University. He is the founding Director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, Associate Director of the Brown Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School, Brown University. He is an expert on amyloid-related imaging abnormalities and a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Therapeutic Work Group developing appropriate use recommendations to safely guide the clinical use of new disease-modifying treatments. He serves as a consultant for drug development to the NIH, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Foundation. He has published over 400 scientific articles and abstracts, edited 3 books and lectures widely about the early diagnosis and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

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