Markesbery Symposium continues to honor the legacy of its namesake

William Markesbery, M.D., led the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging from its founding in 1979 until his death in 2010
Attendees participating in the 2019 Markesbery symposium and poster session. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UKphoto

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2022) — The University of Kentucky’s (UK) Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) will host its 12th annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging and Dementia this weekend. The event is named in honor and memory of the late William R. Markesbery, M.D., founding director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Markesbery's legacy of groundbreaking research formed the bedrock for the quest by researchers at the SBCoA to understand and treat Alzheimer's disease and to improve the quality of life of older adults.

"It's always invigorating to have clinicians and researchers from UK and other institutions come together to share current findings and trends on dementia and aging," said Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the SBCoA. "We consider it part of our responsibility as a world leader in Alzheimer's research to foster collaboration among institutions and share our insights with members of our community."

The two-day program kicks off Friday at the Lee T. Todd Building on UK’s campus. Friday’s session will be geared toward a scientific audience while Saturday’s session will be for the broader community and will take place in downtown Lexington at the Central Bank Center.

The program for both days will feature several researchers from SBCoA as well as two keynote speakers. Ann McKee, M.D., of Boston University will discuss her ongoing work as a leader in the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). McKee will be joined by Josh Grill, Ph.D., of University of California Irvine. Grill is a leader in clinical trial design and recruitment.

“We are thrilled to have two world-class leaders as our keynote speakers this year,” Van Eldik said. “I encourage everyone to attend both of their presentations and hear about the exciting research they are doing.”

Chris Norris, Ph.D., is one of the additional speakers presenting at this year’s scientific session and believes this two-day event is a perfect tribute to its namesake. “It’s always a thrill to share our research at the Markesbery Symposium. The input we get from the faculty, staff and students always pushes our work forward in new and exciting ways,” said Norris. “It’s an intellectually stimulating and highly collaborative event — something I think Bill Markesbery would be very proud of.”

Those attending Saturday’s community session will hear from Elizabeth Rhodus, Ph.D.

“We are excited to bring state-of-the-art science directly to the hands of our community members. We will provide recommendations for and benefits of staying engaged for people who may be living with or caring for someone with memory loss, as well as those not yet impacted by cognitive decline,” said Rhodus.

Additionally, the scientific session will feature poster and abstract presentations while the community session will include a panel discussion with keynote speaker Ann McKee, M.D., as well as UK’s Greg Jicha, M.D., Ph.D., Elizabeth Rhodus, Ph.D., and Lauren Whitehurst, Ph.D. The panel discussion will be moderated by Donna Wilcock, Ph.D., associate director of the SBCoA.

“The panel discussion is one of the most popular parts of our symposium. Our attendees get to ask a panel of experts, including the visiting speakers, all the questions they have about healthy brain aging and Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” said Wilcock.

The scientific session will be held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18The community session will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 with both an in-person option and a virtual option. This event is free, but registration is required.

Register for the scientific session here and the community session here.

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