AHA-Allen Initiative

AHA-Allen Initiative Team led by Tony Wyss-Coray, Ph.D.

AHA-Allen Initiative Team at Stanford University

Tony Wyss-Coray, Ph.D., together with Marion Buckwalter, M.D., Ph.D., will lead a research team on a four-year project to unlock the biological secrets of youth and rejuvenation in young blood. They will search for the damaging proteins and molecules which accumulate in blood with aging, obesity and vascular disease, with the goal to neutralize these factors and protect against age-related diseases. The research team hopes to ultimately figure out how to mimic the beneficial effects of young blood to create new therapeutics for vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other aging-related brain disorders.

Tony Wyss-Coray, Ph.D.

Tony Wyss-Coray is a professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, the Co-Director of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and a Senior Research Career Scientist at the Palo Alto VA. His lab studies brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The Wyss-Coray research team is following up on earlier discoveries which showed circulatory blood factors can modulate brain structure and function and factors from young organisms can rejuvenate old brains. These findings were voted 2nd place Breakthrough of the Year in 2014 by Science Magazine and presented in talks at Global TED, the World Economic Forum, Google Zeitgeist, and Tencent’s WE Summit in China. Wyss-Coray is the co-founder of Alkahest, a company developing plasma-based therapies to counter age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Current studies in his lab focus on the molecular basis of the systemic communication with the brain by employing a combination of genetic, cell biology, and proteomics approaches in killifish, mice, and humans and through the development of bio-orthogonal tools for the in vivo labeling of proteins.

Marion Buckwalter, M.D., Ph.D.

Stanford School of Medicine

Marion Buckwalter, MD, PhD is a neurointensivist and basic scientist whose lab focuses on how inflammation triggered by ischemic stroke affects long term outcomes and brain health. She is a Professor at Stanford School of Medicine and a Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford. She trained in mouse genetics as an MD PhD student at University of Michigan, and then completed neurology residency and a two-year clinical fellowship in neurocritical care and stroke at UCSF, where she was also chief resident. Since completing her medical training, she has worked as an ICU neurologist at Stanford, taking care of stroke patients and serving as a co-Investigator on over 50 clinical stroke studies. In addition, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Tony Wyss-Coray, where she investigated the role of inflammation in neurogenesis. She established her independent laboratory in 2007 and has focused on neuroinflammation and recovery from stroke, with a particular interest in how inflammation after brain ischemia impairs recovery and causes post-stroke dementia. She discovered that brain ischemia triggers a long-lasting adaptive immune response in mice and people, and that it causes post-stroke cognitive decline in mice. In 2017 she co-founded the Stanford Stroke Recovery Program, which she leads with Dr. Maarten Lansberg, also an Investigator on the Stanford Brain Health Team. The Stanford Stroke Recovery Program runs clinical studies to understand stroke recovery and to develop new treatments. One major study, StrokeCog, is an integral part of Stanford’s Brain Health Project. StrokeCog is investigating systemic immune responses to stroke and asking whether chronic adaptive immune responses are associated with declining memory. Because ischemic brain lesions are very common in normally aging people as well as in people who have had a clinical stroke, this work aims to improve brain health in a wide swath of the aging population.