Alzheimer’s Research Expert

Prior Director, UCI MIND– Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California, Irvine. UCI Mind is Orange County’s only federal and state designated Alzheimer’s disease research and diagnostic clinical center.

UCI MIND is internationally recognized for its research accomplishments in disorders of the brain. The Institute is UCI’s center for aging and dementia research, with our faculty seeking to understand the causes leading to neurological disorders. We aim to identify the life-style factors that promote wellness and “successful aging”.

UCI MIND was first established in 1995. At the time of its establishment, the center was named Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia (IBAD) and was led by the founding director, Dr. Carl W. Cotman. In January 2009, Dr. Cotman transitioned the directorship to Dr. Frank LaFerla.

Help us at UCI MIND lead the fight against dementia. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital research to find cure for tomorrow. If you would like to make a donation to UCI Mind, click here.


UCI Mind - Alzheimer's Research


About UCI Mind:

History of UCI Mind
UCI Mind’s Mission
Accomplishments of UCI Mind

UCI Mind Strives To Make A Difference



History of UCI Mind

UCI MIND was first established in 1995. At the time of its establishment, the center was named Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia (IBAD) and was led by the founding director, Dr. Carl W. Cotman. In January 2009, Dr. Cotman transitioned the directorship to Dr. Frank LaFerla, who had served as the Institute’s co-director during the previous 5 years. After the transition, a proposal was submitted in the Spring, 2009 and subsequently approved by Chancellor Michael Drake to change the name of the ORU to Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND). This name change more accurately reflects the breadth and depth of the evolving research program and clinical enterprise, and provides a more user-friendly name.

Since its inception, UCI MIND has grown into an internationally acclaimed site for excellence in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and is particularly recognized for its research accomplishments in the following areas: amyloid biochemistry, animal models, calcium signaling, epidemiology, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, protein aggregation, and successful aging. The Institute is also widely recognized for clinical research in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Down syndrome, its program on the oldest old (The 90+ Study), and for conducting clinical trials.

The Institute is one of 29 Alzheimer’s disease centers (ADRC) supported by the National Institute for Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. As an ADRC, one of our main functions is to educate the public we are able to integrate clinical and scientific research, as well as.

The Institute is one of 10 California Alzheimer Disease Clinical Centers (CADC) funded by the California Department of Public Health. The mission of the CADC is to diagnose and serve the needs of Orange County.


UCI Mind’s Mission

Researching Ways to Make Memories Last a Lifetime

UCI MIND seeks to conduct research to enhance the quality of life for the elderly by identifying factors and life-style approaches that promote successful brain aging. Toward this end, the Institute facilitates and coordinates a number of activities, some of which are listed below:

  • Recruit subjects to maintain a research cohort of memory disorder patients, mild cognitively impaired patients, Down syndrome patients, and healthy elderly control subjects.
  • Follow patients longterm to evaluate their clinical and neuropsychological health.
  • Provide investigators with biological resources such as human brain tissue, serum, DNA and cerebrospinal fluid from well-characterized clinical subjects.
  • Cultivate community-based AD-related programs and transmit new information to community professionals and the general public.
  • Sponsor seminars and meetings to promote scholarship and information exchange.
  • Pursue resource development to stimulate research through individual and collaborative grants.
  • Train and educate the next generation of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the field of brain aging and neurodegeneration.
  • Develop and maintain common facilities.
  • Develop a base of community supporters to facilitate fundraising.
  • Support interdisciplinary, investigator-initiated research and recruit and train the next generation of investigators.


Accomplishments of UCI Mind

The Institute continues to develop new major resources to help us achieve our goals. Over the past five years, the following notable successes were achieved:

  • Designation as an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), including 5 years of financial support, which provides the means to diagnose dementia patients and to help recruit them for research studies
  • Designation as a funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center of California (ARCC) by the State Department of Public Health
  • A training grant for pre- and postdoctoral students was refunded, providing support for the next generation of scientists
  • A program project grant by Institute faculty was renewed, allowing investigators to work collaboratively in identifying factors that promote the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Awarded a multi-million dollar grant to investigate the successful aging process in 90+ year old individuals
  • Generated the first transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease that develops both plaques and tangles, and widely distributed this model throughout the world
  • Achieved recognition as a high ranking national site for conducting clinical trials



Understanding the basic mechanisms of brain aging while developing effective treatments for neurodegenerative disorders of the brain is of local and national importance. People over 65 years old are the fastest growing segment of the American population. Today, this cohort comprises 12 percent of the population, although it is expected that the percentage of people over 65 will increase to 20 percent of the population, or 54 million individuals, by the year 2020. Maintaining cognitive function is vitally important to the quality of life for seniors. With age, however, the odds of falling victim to dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease in particular, increase markedly. Dementias afflict roughly 12 percent of the 65-74 year-old population and alarmingly 47% of people older than 85.

Orange County is one of the fastest growing national metropolitan sites today and has more than 30,000 individuals suffering from AD. The region’s geriatric population is expected to double in the next 20 years. With a diverse ethnic population, Orange County is projected to have a nearly 60% non-Caucasian population in the next 20 years. The diagnosis, management and treatment of dementia are major challenges permeating all levels of social and economic status in a diversity of cultures. The community looks to the University and the Institute for leadership, and in turn the Institute seeks to meet the needs of a local population by providing scholarly education and discoveries to a populace severely impacted by the disease. The Institute is well positioned to meet emerging research needs in the field and to translate these findings to relevant clinical practice in the local community.

UCI Mind Strives To Make A Difference

Our researchers are committed to finding answers about Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders that affect memory and the brain. Through cutting-edge research, scientists and clinicians focus on finding a cure and bringing solutions to:

  • Identify the causes of dementia and the conditions and factors that affect its progression
  • Find ways to effectively treat and prevent cognitive decline
  • Pinpoint lifestyle factors that promote wellness and successful aging
  • Translate laboratory findings to real-life solutions for patients in the community



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