Rutgers to Open Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center
Backed by a $5 million donation from Herbert C. Klein, an alumnus of the university and a former U.S. congressman, who made the gift in memory of his wife, the center is scheduled to open in the fall
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) is launching the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center. Based at the Rutgers Brain Health Institute and scheduled to open in fall 2023, the center will offer research expertise from the institute, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, as well as facilitate clinical research in Alzheimer’s disease that could result in new medical treatments.
An estimated 6.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, which calls the disease “a growing public health crisis in New Jersey” that affects about 190,000 people over age 65 in the state.
The center is supported by a $5 million donation from Herbert C. Klein, a Rutgers alumnus and former U.S. congressman, who made the gift in memory of his wife, Jacqueline Krieger Klein, who died in 2017 after battling Alzheimer’s disease.
“My wife was a wonderful woman whose life was cut down by this disease,” said Klein, a longtime donor in supporting Rutgers’ leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other devastating neurodegenerative conditions. “She suffered for nine years. Sadly, there was really nothing that could be done to treat her. I am very proud to associate her with Rutgers’ efforts to defeat this dreadful disease. The work by this center will have a tremendous effect in this fight.”
“This center will bring new ideas and new approaches to understanding and eradicating Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of RBHS. “Mr. Klein’s vision and generosity, combined with the expertise and dedication of Rutgers’ researchers, can help return patients and their families to the lives that these conditions steal from them.”
Michal Beeri, a global leader in Alzheimer’s disease clinical research, has been named the center’s director. She also has been nominated as the Herbert C. and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Endowed Chair in Neurodegeneration Research, which is pending approval by the Rutgers Board of Governors. Beeri, who will start at Rutgers on April 15, is a professor in the psychiatry department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She developed The Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, a successful center in Alzheimer’s disease research.
Beeri, who will be based at the Rutgers Institute for Health, will be a professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Neurology and a Core Member of the Brain Health Institute. She will develop a cohort of hundreds of potential subjects for clinical studies on Alzheimer’s disease and lead some of those studies to understand the causes of this disease and develop novel therapeutics for its treatment.
“Dr. Beeri brings enormous enthusiasm and experience in building a research center focused on Alzheimer's disease,” said Gary Aston-Jones, director of the Brain Health Institute. “This new center will leverage multiple strengths in our biomedical research community to develop new understandings and novel approaches to treating this devastating disease.”
“Advancing our research into the underlying causes of dementia-related disease is an important step forward that benefits the residents of New Jersey,” said Amy P. Murtha, dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “The knowledge gained from this work will improve care and offer hope for our patients whose lives, and the lives of their loved ones, have been unequivocally altered by the devastating effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
According to Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, the joint chair of the Department of Neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, opportunities at the center will expand to include faculty at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
The Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center is the latest in a line of major Rutgers centers of excellence at the core of the university’s academic health system. Centers that seek to develop personalized and novel therapies for neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders include the Center for Advanced Human Brain Imaging Research, the Rutgers Addiction Research Center, the Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education and Services (all at the Brain Health Institute), the Advanced Addictions Treatment Center and the Brandt Behavioral Health Mood and Anxiety Treatment and Residential Center for older adolescents and younger adults.