Throwback Thursday – June 2023

Week 23 - June 8 | Down syndrome & Alzheimer's Disease

Brad Christian plus study participant Sigan Hartley with study particpant
Team members Renee Makuch (left) and Barb Mueller (right) help participant Annie Dewey (center) into the PET scanner. Father and son visiting the Waisman Center testing facilities.
People with Down syndrome are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s-related brain changes and at an earlier age than the general population. For over a decade, the Waisman Center has researched the connection between the two. Led by Brad Christian, PhD with Sigan Hartley, PhD, the researchers use positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and biofluid measures to look for early biomarkers, or changes in the brain, that may herald the onset of Alzheimer’s disease years before a person shows symptoms. The study also includes cognitive evaluations to track the cognitive abilities of participants as a marker for Alzheimer’s disease progression.
Photo 1: Brad Christian plus study participant. Photo 2: Sigan Hartley uses cognitive evaluations. Photo 3: Team members Renee Makuch (left) and Barb Mueller (right) help participant Annie Dewey (center) into the PET scanner. Photo 4: Father and son visiting the Waisman Center testing facilities.

Week 24 - June 15 | Terry Dolan

Terry Dolan Terry Dolan
Terry Dolan Terry Dolan

#TBT A big part of the success of the Waisman Center is owed to the remarkable leadership it has had through the years. Terrence “Terry” Dolan was the longest-serving director of the Waisman Center, with exactly 20 years in the leadership role. One of his many legacies at Waisman is the building of the north tower, which now houses the brain imaging center, Waisman Biomanufacturing, and numerous biological labs. During his last years as director, he took a sabbatical to help establish a research center on childhood diseases and disabilities in Saudi Arabia. He retired from UW-Madison in May 2002.

Week 25 - June 22 | PKU / Kay Emerson

Kay Emerson and Harry Waisman

#TBT In the late 1950s, Kay Emerson became the first person in Wisconsin to be successfully treated for phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare metabolic condition that can cause severe intellectual and developmental disability if left untreated. She was treated by Harry Waisman, MD, PhD, who was a renowned PKU researcher and physician and who the Waisman Center is named after. He advocated to add PKU to the Newborn Screening Panel in Wisconsin.

Week 26 - June 29 | Jon Wolff

Jon Wolff, MD Jon Wolff, MD Jon Wolff, MD

#TBT The work of late Waisman Center physician scientist, Jon Wolff, MD, on delivering DNA to muscle cells was foundational for the creation of the COVID-19 and other vaccines. At Waisman, he also directed the Biochemical Genetics Clinic and was a professor and division chief of genetics and metabolism in pediatrics. As a geneticist with expertise in treating metabolic disorders in children, Wolff also served as an advisory member for the Wisconsin Newborn Screening Program, helping create programs to detect metabolic and genetic conditions. In addition to establishing his own company, MirusBio, he also created a non-profit organization called Genetics Support Foundation to provide genetic counseling services to all.