The prize recognizes outstanding research in Alzheimer's and related neurodegenerative brain diseases, and is considered one of the most prestigious in the field of Alzheimer's research. Dr. Duff, a research scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, is one of three recipients of the prize, which will be awarded April 4 in San Diego at the academy's annual meeting.

Dr. Duff is a young British scientist widely known for her innovative work in developing transgenic mouse "models" of age-related human brain diseases. Until recently, scientists couldn't pinpoint the role of defective genes in causing or contributing to the death of neurons in the brain. Dr. Duff devised a way to insert human disease-causing genes into mice, creating genetically engineered mice that can be used to understand the underlying mechanisms of disease, and to test potential treatments. Drug companies have used her models to test proprietary experimental therapies for Alzheimer's.

"The products of Karen's research represent scientific contributions that have continued to benefit the Alzheimer's community long after the impact of the initial discoveries was felt," says Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD, Director of the NKI Center for Dementia Research and Professor and Vice-Chairman of Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

"The impact of her work modeling Alzheimer's disease in transgenic mice has been significant not only for our understanding of basic pathobiology, but also for identifying key therapeutic approaches that have led to the initiation of several clinical trials," says John Hardy, Ph.D., a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, who along with Michael L. Hutton, Ph.D. of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, nominated Duff for the prize.; Source: New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine