b-amyloid (Ab) pathology and Alzheimer Disease (AD)
Dr. Benzinger completed her M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where, as a graduate student, her work on Ab structure demonstrated the first evidence for a parallel beta-sheet structure for Ab fibrils using solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) (Benzinger et al., PNAS, 1998, >450 citations). During her radiology residency at Washington University in St. Louis, she honed her focus on translational human magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Dr. Benzinger’s initial grants and publications after fellowship were developed from this training, including her publication in NeuroImage in 2011 (> 250 citations) which demonstrated that advanced MR diffusion analyses could distinguish demyelination from axonal injury in multiple sclerosis (MS). Two years after her clinical training ended, in 2008, she began collaborating in the then novel area of Alzheimer’s Ab PET neuroimaging and quickly rose to become an innovative leader in the field.
In 2010 Dr. Benzinger became the first Director of the Knight Alzheimer Research Imaging (KARI) Program at Washington University and Imaging Core Leader for the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN, and related clinical trials unit, DIAN-TU) just as sites were coming online. She quickly developed collaborations and workflows for harmonizing, processing, and analyzing MRI and PET data from the participating global sites. This work led to their 2013 publication in PNAS (> 200 citations), which demonstrated regional pathological trajectories for Ab accumulation, brain atrophy, and hypometabolism across the disease spectrum of autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease, further extended with longitudinal multimodal imaging, (Lancet Neurology,2018) and with tau PET imaging (Brain, 2019).