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Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Cambridge, UK Receive 2021 Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s Research

April 15, 2021 GMT

MIAMI, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2021 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases has been awarded to Kenneth S. Kosik, MA, MD, University of California Neuroscience Research Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, and Giovanna Mallucci, MD, PhD, University of Cambridge, UK.

The Potamkin Prize is given in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation. Potamkin Philanthropies Co-Chair Andi Potamkin presented the award to Kenneth S. Kosik, MA, MD, and Giovanna Mallucci, MD, PhD, at the Foundation’s 2021 Commitment to Cures virtual gala, hosted by CNBC personality Jim Cramer.


First established in 1988, the Potamkin Prize was created to honor Luba Potamkin, wife of famed entrepreneur Victor Potamkin. Luba Potamkin was diagnosed with Pick’s disease in 1978. The Potamkin Prize is often called the Nobel Prize of Alzheimer’s research.

Dr. Ken Kosik is the Harriman Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His contributions to the Alzheimer’s field are diverse and pioneering. His research has greatly impacted understanding of the tau protein, its relationship to the neuropathological features of Alzheimer’s Disease, the role of tau in fundamental cell biology, and the potential role of tau-modifying agents in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr. Giovanna Mallucci is the van Geest Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, UK and the Center Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at Cambridge. Her scientific accomplishments have been extraordinary and field-changing. Mallucci has been one of the leaders in the growing research area of protein-misfolding disorders and modulation of proteostasis. She was the first to describe the role of PERK signaling over-activation in driving synapse loss and neuronal loss through repression of global protein synthesis rates. Her work has shown how neuronal death can be prevented by blocking this process with drugs in mouse models of frontotemporal dementia and prion disease.

The Potamkin Prize selection committee said that they chose to award the Prize to two recipients based on their equally compelling research and accomplishments:

“Kosik, a neurologist, is well known for his many contributions to neurodegenerative disease research and leadership in the field. His career includes contributions to seminal biochemical discoveries such as the role of tau in neurofibrillary tangles as well as his current extraordinary work highlighting the efforts of the team in Colombia to characterize and learn from the PS1 kindred of patients – the largest genetically defined group of Alzheimer patients in the world.”


“Mallucci, a practicing neurologist, is a leader in the field. She has championed the idea that neurodegeneration processes span varied neurodegenerative diseases, seeing analogies across prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerations. Her work has focused on stress response pathways and protein degradation pathways as toxic insults, and she has highlighted the possibility that repurposing of drugs may prove useful in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“No greater honor can be bestowed on one’s research than recognition by colleagues. So, my gratitude goes to the Potamkin family for establishing an award through which our field can mark steady progress toward lighting a path, the only path--research--that will lead to a cure.” (Kenneth S. Kosik, MA, MD)

“I am delighted and deeply honored to receive the 2021 Potamkin Prize. It is a tremendous endorsement of my lab’s mission to discover ways to treat these currently incurable diseases – that touch so many of our lives – by targeting common dysregulated pathways. My sincere thanks to the Potamkin family.” (Giovanna Mallucci, MD, PhD)

Over the years, The Potamkin Prize has awarded more than $3 million to 68 scientists conducting innovative research in the field. The $100,000 annual award is given for achievements in emerging areas of research in Alzheimer’s, Pick’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

“It is my pleasure to award these two dedicated doctors with this year’s Potamkin Prize. My family and I are inspired by their innovative contributions in the fight to understand and treat brain degenerative diseases,” said Andi Potamkin.

About the American Academy of Neurology
The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.AAN.com.

About the American Brain Foundation
The American Brain Foundation was founded by the American Academy of Neurology as the premier foundation that promotes and invests in research across the whole spectrum of brain disease. We believe that when we cure one of these diseases, we will cure many. Learn more at www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org.

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SOURCE Potamkin Philanthropies