Neuropathology Core

Was it really Alzheimer’s disease? This is the most important question that the Neuropathology Core addresses after a patient or research volunteer passes away. During an autopsy of the donated brain, the neuropathologist examines the brain, looking for the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease – senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles – as well as other pathological changes that may have contributed to the clinical symptoms. Even today, neuropathological examination of the brain remains the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, Ron Kim, M.D.

Neuropathology Core Leader, Ron Kim, M.D.

In addition to providing families with a “final answer,” brain donation enables scientists to conduct innumerable studies that explore the variety of neuropathological changes that occur during the transition from normal aging to dementia and the relationship of those changes to the cognitive, functional, and behavioral symptoms present in life.  Biological specimens (e.g., plasma, serum, cerebrospinal fluid) donated by research volunteers while alive are being used to investigate potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.  Autopsy confirmation remains the gold standard for validation in these studies.  Accurate biomarkers would enable scientists and clinicians to identify Alzheimer’s disease in its preclinical state, years before symptoms are evident, and initiate treatment earlier.  Overall, efforts of the Neuropathology Core, led by Drs. David Cribbs and Ron Kim, are directed at uncovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, David Cribbs, Ph.D.

Neuropathology Core Investigator, David Cribbs, Ph.D.

All brain tissue and other biological specimens are stored in the ADRC’s Tissue Repository, which is managed by the Neuropathology Core.  Additionally, the Neuropathology Core is responsible for distributing tissue and other biological specimens to researchers and promoting cross-center collaborations to maximize use of these precious samples.   Every ADRC clinician and investigator involved in handling brain tissue and biological specimens does so with great care, highly aware of the invaluable gift research volunteers are making.

Neuropathology Core Members

  • Ron Kim, M.D., Core Leader
  • Edwin Monuki, M.D., Ph.D., Core Co-Leader
  • David Cribbs, Ph.D., Core Investigator
  • Wayne Poon, Ph.D., Core Investigator

Click here to visit Memory Assessment and Research Center About Biomarkers.
Click here to visit Memory Assessment and Research Center About Brain Donations.


Helps families affected by Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's disease, or another dementia while gathering invaluable research data about the clinical presentation and progression of these cognitive disorders.
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Outreach, Recruitment, and Education
Garners community involvement in research, combats the widespread lack of knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease through a variety of education and outreach activities.
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Was it really Alzheimer’s disease? This is the most important question that the Neuropathology Component addresses upon the death of a research volunteer for the children and grandchildren who are concerned about developing dementia.
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Data Management and Statistics
Responsible for transferring our ADRC data to the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center which houses and makes available data from all 29 Alzheimer’s disease centers to researchers worldwide.
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Responsible for high-level planning, coordinating the five components and any research projects funded through the ADRC, attracting and nurturing the development of new investigators, and managing all ADRC operational requirements.
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