Linda Younkin

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (104)610.93 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) in cerebral arteries, known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), occurs both in the setting of Alzheimer's disease and independent of it, and can cause cerebrovascular insufficiency and cognitive deficits. The mechanisms leading to CAA have not been established, and no therapeutic targets have been identified. We investigated the role of CD36, an innate immunity receptor involved in Aβ trafficking, in the neurovascular dysfunction, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation that occurs in mice expressing the Swedish mutation of the amyloid precursor protein (Tg2576). We found that Tg2576 mice lacking CD36 have a selective reduction in Aβ1-40 and CAA. This reduced vascular amyloid deposition was associated with preservation of the Aβ vascular clearance receptor LRP-1, and protection from the deleterious effects of Aβ on cerebral arterioles. These beneficial vascular effects were reflected by marked improvements in neurovascular regulation and cognitive performance. Our data suggest that CD36 promotes vascular amyloid deposition and the resulting cerebrovascular damage, leading to neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive deficits. These findings identify a previously unrecognized role of CD36 in the mechanisms of vascular amyloid deposition, and suggest that this scavenger receptor is a putative therapeutic target for CAA and related conditions.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuronal network hyperexcitability underlies the pathogenesis of seizures and is a component of some degenerative neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently, the microtubule-binding protein tau has been implicated in the regulation of network synchronization. Genetic removal of Mapt, the gene encoding tau, in AD models overexpressing amyloid-β (Aβ) decreases hyperexcitability and normalizes the excitation/inhibition imbalance. Whether this effect of tau removal is specific to Aβ mouse models remains to be determined. Here, we examined tau as an excitability modifier in the non-AD nervous system using genetic deletion of tau in mouse and Drosophila models of hyperexcitability. Kcna1(-/-) mice lack Kv1.1-delayed rectifier currents and exhibit severe spontaneous seizures, early lethality, and megencephaly. Young Kcna1(-/-) mice retained wild-type levels of Aβ, tau, and tau phospho-Thr(231). Decreasing tau in Kcna1(-/-) mice reduced hyperexcitability and alleviated seizure-related comorbidities. Tau reduction decreased Kcna1(-/-) video-EEG recorded seizure frequency and duration as well as normalized Kcna1(-/-) hippocampal network hyperexcitability in vitro. Additionally, tau reduction increased Kcna1(-/-) survival and prevented megencephaly and hippocampal hypertrophy, as determined by MRI. Bang-sensitive Drosophila mutants display paralysis and seizures in response to mechanical stimulation, providing a complementary excitability assay for epistatic interactions. We found that tau reduction significantly decreased seizure sensitivity in two independent bang-sensitive mutant models, kcc and eas. Our results indicate that tau plays a general role in regulating intrinsic neuronal network hyperexcitability independently of Aβ overexpression and suggest that reducing tau function could be a viable target for therapeutic intervention in seizure disorders and antiepileptogenesis.
    Journal of Neuroscience 01/2013; 33(4):1651-9. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate whether prostate cancer patients receiving leuprolide demonstrated objective cognitive decline accompanied by a change in plasma levels of amyloid-β. Between November 19, 2003, and July 21, 2008, we prospectively enrolled 50 patients with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer and measured plasma amyloid-β peptide 40 and amyloid-β peptide 42 levels with sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at baseline before the first leuprolide injection and at 2, 4, and 12 months. The Mini-Mental State Examination was used to assess 49 patients at baseline and at subsequent visits, and 24 were also assessed by the California Verbal Learning Test-Short Form. Patients were a median age of 71 years (range, 59-89 years). Compared with baseline levels, plasma amyloid-β peptide 40 levels were increased at 2 months (P = .04) and 4 months (P = .02). Age was correlated with plasma amyloid-β peptide 40 levels (P = .003) and likely accounted for this relationship. Plasma amyloid-β peptide 42 and performance on cognitive tasks did not differ from baseline, but memory measures improved slightly after baseline, most likely due to a practice effect. Leuprolide therapy was not associated with a decline in cognition or memory function or with elevated plasma amyloid short-term. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.
    Urology 01/2013; 81(1):150-4. · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leucine rich repeat transmembrane protein 3 (LRRTM3) is member of a synaptic protein family. LRRTM3 is a nested gene within α-T catenin (CTNNA3) and resides at the linkage peak for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) risk and plasma amyloid β (Aβ) levels. In-vitro knock-down of LRRTM3 was previously shown to decrease secreted Aβ, although the mechanism of this is unclear. In SH-SY5Y cells overexpressing APP and transiently transfected with LRRTM3 alone or with BACE1, we showed that LRRTM3 co-localizes with both APP and BACE1 in early endosomes, where BACE1 processing of APP occurs. Additionally, LRRTM3 co-localizes with APP in primary neuronal cultures from Tg2576 mice transduced with LRRTM3-expressing adeno-associated virus. Moreover, LRRTM3 co-immunoprecipitates with both endogenous APP and overexpressed BACE1, in HEK293T cells transfected with LRRTM3. SH-SY5Y cells with knock-down of LRRTM3 had lower BACE1 and higher CTNNA3 mRNA levels, but no change in APP. Brain mRNA levels of LRRTM3 showed significant correlations with BACE1, CTNNA3 and APP in ∼400 humans, but not in LRRTM3 knock-out mice. Finally, we assessed 69 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within and flanking LRRTM3 in 1,567 LOADs and 2,082 controls and identified 8 SNPs within a linkage disequilibrium block encompassing 5'UTR-Intron 1 of LRRTM3 that formed multilocus genotypes (MLG) with suggestive global association with LOAD risk (p = 0.06), and significant individual MLGs. These 8 SNPs were genotyped in an independent series (1,258 LOADs and 718 controls) and had significant global and individual MLG associations in the combined dataset (p = 0.02-0.05). Collectively, these results suggest that protein interactions between LRRTM3, APP and BACE1, as well as complex associations between mRNA levels of LRRTM3, CTNNA3, APP and BACE1 in humans might influence APP metabolism and ultimately risk of AD.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e64164. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence indicates that cerebrovascular dysfunction plays a pathogenic role in Alzheimer's dementia (AD). Amyloid-β (Aβ), a peptide central to the pathogenesis of AD, has profound vascular effects mediated, for the most part, by reactive oxygen species produced by the enzyme NADPH oxidase. The mechanisms linking Aβ to NADPH oxidase-dependent vascular oxidative stress have not been identified, however. We report that the scavenger receptor CD36, a membrane glycoprotein that binds Aβ, is essential for the vascular oxidative stress and neurovascular dysfunction induced by Aβ1-40. Thus, topical application of Aβ1-40 onto the somatosensory cortex attenuates the increase in cerebral blood flow elicited by neural activity or by endothelium-dependent vasodilators in WT mice but not in CD36-null mice (CD36(0/0)). The cerebrovascular effects of infusion of Aβ1-40 into cerebral arteries are not observed in mice pretreated with CD36 blocking antibodies or in CD36(0/0) mice. Furthermore, CD36 deficiency prevents the neurovascular dysfunction observed in transgenic mice overexpressing the Swedish mutation of the amyloid precursor protein Tg2576 despite elevated levels of brain Aβ1-40. CD36 is also required for the vascular oxidative stress induced by exogenous Aβ1-40 or observed in Tg2576 mice. These observations establish CD36 as a key link between Aβ1-40 and the NADPH oxidase-dependent vascular oxidative stress underlying the neurovascular dysfunction and suggest that CD36 is a potential therapeutical target to counteract the cerebrovascular dysfunction associated with Aβ.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2011; 108(12):5063-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lower plasma β-amyloid 42 and 42/40 levels have been associated with incident dementia, but results are conflicting and few have investigated cognitive decline among elders without dementia. To determine if plasma β-amyloid is associated with cognitive decline and if this association is modified by measures of cognitive reserve. We studied 997 black and white community-dwelling older adults from Memphis, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who were enrolled in the Health ABC Study, a prospective observational study begun in 1997-1998 with 10-year follow-up in 2006-2007. Participant mean age was 74.0 (SD, 3.0) years; 55.2% (n = 550) were female; and 54.0% (n = 538) were black. Association of near-baseline plasma β-amyloid levels (42 and 42/40 measured in 2010) and repeatedly measured Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS) results. Low β-amyloid 42/40 level was associated with greater 9-year 3MS cognitive decline (lowest β-amyloid tertile: mean change in 3MS score, -6.59 [95% confidence interval [CI], -5.21 to -7.67] points; middle tertile: -6.16 [95% CI, -4.92 to -7.32] points; and highest tertile: -3.60 [95% CI, -2.27 to -4.73] points; P < .001). Results were similar after multivariate adjustment for age, race, education, diabetes, smoking, and apolipoprotein E [APOE ] e4 status and after excluding the 72 participants with incident dementia. Measures of cognitive reserve modified this association whereby among those with high reserve (at least a high school diploma, higher than sixth-grade literacy, or no APOE e4 allele), β-amyloid 42/40 was less associated with multivariate adjusted 9-year decline. For example, among participants with less than a high school diploma, the 3MS score decline was -8.94 (95% CI, -6.94 to -10.94) for the lowest tertile compared with -4.45 (95% CI, -2.31 to -6.59) for the highest tertile, but for those with at least a high school diploma, 3MS score decline was -4.60 (95% CI,-3.07 to -6.13) for the lowest tertile and -2.88 (95% CI,-1.41 to -4.35) for the highest tertile (P = .004 for interaction). Interactions were also observed for literacy (P = .005) and for APOE e4 allele (P = .02). Lower plasma β-amyloid 42/40 is associated with greater cognitive decline among elderly persons without dementia over 9 years, and this association is stronger among those with low measures of cognitive reserve.
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 01/2011; 305(3):261-6. · 29.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioural and psychological signs and symptoms of dementia encompass a wide range of neuropsychiatric disturbances which coincide with progressing cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Physical aggression and agitation, which occurs in 20-65% of AD patients, is physically and emotionally stressful, not only to patients but also to immediate family and caregivers. The exact mechanisms underlying the increased aggressive behaviour in AD has yet to be elucidated. We used a transgenic mouse model, denoted Tg2576, which over-expresses a mutated human amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene implicated in familial AD, to investigate aggressive behaviour of males at the stage of amyloid beta pathology preceding overt amyloid plaque deposition in the brain. The aggressive behaviour of transgenic and non-transgenic littermate males was evaluated in a standard resident-intruder test in which an isolated resident male responded aggressively toward an experimentally naïve intruder male of A/J strain. We showed that 7-month-old Tg2576 resident males demonstrated significantly higher and unchanged level of aggression towards intruder males during 3 consecutive encounters as compared to their non-transgenic littermate counterparts. These results validate further the Tg2576 mouse model of AD underscoring its usefulness in studying non-mnemonic changes in behaviour related to the disease.
    Behavioural brain research 01/2011; 216(1):77-83. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) is a common disorder with a substantial genetic component. We postulate that many disease susceptibility variants act by altering gene expression levels. We measured messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of 12 LOAD candidate genes in the cerebella of 200 subjects with LOAD. Using the genotypes from our LOAD genome-wide association study for the cis-single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (n = 619) of these 12 LOAD candidate genes, we tested for associations with expression levels as endophenotypes. The strongest expression cis-SNP was tested for AD association in 7 independent case-control series (2,280 AD and 2,396 controls). We identified 3 SNPs that associated significantly with IDE (insulin degrading enzyme) expression levels. A single copy of the minor allele for each significant SNP was associated with approximately twofold higher IDE expression levels. The most significant SNP, rs7910977, is 4.2 kb beyond the 3' end of IDE. The association observed with this SNP was significant even at the genome-wide level (p = 2.7 x 10(-8)). Furthermore, the minor allele of rs7910977 associated significantly (p = 0.0046) with reduced LOAD risk (OR = 0.81 with a 95% CI of 0.70-0.94), as expected biologically from its association with elevated IDE expression. These results provide strong evidence that IDE is a late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) gene with variants that modify risk of LOAD by influencing IDE expression. They also suggest that the use of expression levels as endophenotypes in genome-wide association studies may provide a powerful approach for the identification of disease susceptibility alleles.
    Neurology 02/2010; 74(6):480-6. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulin-degrading enzyme gene (IDE) is a strong functional and positional candidate for late onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). We examined conserved regions of IDE and its 10 kb flanks in 269 AD cases and 252 controls thereby identifying 17 putative functional polymorphisms. These variants formed eleven haplotypes that were tagged with ten variants. Four of these showed significant association with IDE transcript levels in samples from 194 LOAD cerebella. The strongest, rs6583817, which has not previously been reported, showed unequivocal association (p = 1.5x10(-8), fold-increase = 2.12,); the eleven haplotypes were also significantly associated with transcript levels (global p = 0.003). Using an in vitro dual luciferase reporter assay, we found that rs6583817 increases reporter gene expression in Be(2)-C (p = 0.006) and HepG2 (p = 0.02) cell lines. Furthermore, using data from a recent genome-wide association study of two Croatian isolated populations (n = 1,879), we identified a proxy for rs6583817 that associated significantly with decreased plasma Abeta40 levels (ss = -0.124, p = 0.011) and total measured plasma Abeta levels (b = -0.130, p = 0.009). Finally, rs6583817 was associated with decreased risk of LOAD in 3,891 AD cases and 3,605 controls. (OR = 0.87, p = 0.03), and the eleven IDE haplotypes (global p = 0.02) also showed significant association. Thus, a previously unreported variant unequivocally associated with increased IDE expression was also associated with reduced plasma Abeta40 and decreased LOAD susceptibility. Genetic association between LOAD and IDE has been difficult to replicate. Our findings suggest that targeted testing of expression SNPs (eSNPs) strongly associated with altered transcript levels in autopsy brain samples may be a powerful way to identify genetic associations with LOAD that would otherwise be difficult to detect.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(1):e8764. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2010; 6(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2010; 6(4).
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    ABSTRACT: By analyzing late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) in a genome-wide association study (313,504 SNPs, three series, 844 cases and 1,255 controls) and evaluating the 25 SNPs with the most significant allelic association in four additional series (1,547 cases and 1,209 controls), we identified a SNP (rs5984894) on Xq21.3 in PCDH11X that is strongly associated with LOAD in individuals of European descent from the United States. Analysis of rs5984894 by multivariable logistic regression adjusted for sex gave global P values of 5.7 x 10(-5) in stage 1, 4.8 x 10(-6) in stage 2 and 3.9 x 10(-12) in the combined data. Odds ratios were 1.75 (95% CI = 1.42-2.16) for female homozygotes (P = 2.0 x 10(-7)) and 1.26 (95% CI = 1.05-1.51) for female heterozygotes (P = 0.01) compared to female noncarriers. For male hemizygotes (P = 0.07) compared to male noncarriers, the odds ratio was 1.18 (95% CI = 0.99-1.41).
    Nature Genetics 02/2009; 41(2):192-8. · 35.21 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2009; 5(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2009; 5(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2009; 5(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) are associated with a marked reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaques containing the amyloid-beta protein (Abeta). Studies of the effects of NSAIDs upon the inflammatory response surrounding amyloid plaques and upon the generation of Abeta from the amyloid precursor protein (APP) have led to two proposed mechanisms by which NSAIDs may protect against Alzheimer's disease: one, the selective lowering of Abeta42 by a subset of NSAIDs; and two, the reduction of inflammation. Although Alzheimer's disease is a disorder of brain and synaptic function, the effects of NSAIDs on Abeta-mediated suppression of synaptic plasticity and memory function have never been reported. We therefore investigated how three different NSAIDs, chosen for their distinct effects on Abeta42 production and the inhibition of the cyclooxygenase (COX) isoenzymes, COX-1 and COX-2, affect memory function and synaptic plasticity. By focusing upon brain and synapse function, we made novel observations about the effects of NSAIDs on Abeta-mediated neural processes. Here we report that the selective inhibition of COX-2, but not COX-1, acutely prevented the suppression of hippocampal long-term plasticity (LTP) by Abeta. The non-selective NSAIDs, ibuprofen and naproxen, and a selective COX-2 inhibitor, MF-tricyclic, each restored memory function in Tg2576 mice over-expressing APP, and also blocked Abeta-mediated inhibition of LTP. There was no advantage of ibuprofen, a selective Abeta42-lowering agent (SALA), over the non-SALAs, naproxen and MF-tricyclic. The beneficial effects on memory did not depend upon lowered levels of Abeta42 or the inflammatory cytokines, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta). Intriguingly, improved memory function was inversely related to prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels. Conversely, exogenous PGE2 prevented the restorative effects of COX-2 inhibitors on LTP. The data indicate that the inhibition of COX-2 blocks Abeta-mediated suppression of LTP and memory function, and that this block occurs independently of reductions in Abeta42 or decreases in inflammation. The results lead us to propose a third possible mechanism by which NSAIDs may protect against Alzheimer's disease, involving the blockade of a COX-2-mediated PGE2 response at synapses.
    Brain 04/2008; 131(Pt 3):651-64. · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plasma A beta levels are elevated in early-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) caused by autosomal dominant mutations. Our objective was to determine whether similar genetic elevations exist in late-onset AD (LOAD). We measured plasma A beta in first-degree relatives of patients with LOAD in a cross-sectional series and in extended LOAD families. We screened these subjects for pathogenic mutations in early-onset AD genes and determined their ApoE genotypes. Plasma A beta is significantly elevated in the LOAD first-degree relatives in comparison to unrelated controls and married-in spouses. These elevations are not due to ApoE epsilon 4 or pathogenic coding mutations in the known early-onset AD genes. The findings provide strong evidence for the existence of novel, as yet unknown genetic factors that affect late-onset Alzheimer disease by increasing A beta.
    Neurology 03/2008; 70(8):596-606. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) has been proposed as a potential agent for Alzheimer's disease (AD) immunotherapy because it contains antibodies against beta-amyloid (Abeta). We carried out an open label dose-ranging study in 8 mild AD patients in which IVIg was added to approved AD therapies for 6 months, discontinued, and then resumed for another 9 months. Infusions were generally well-tolerated. Anti-Abeta antibodies in the serum from AD patients increased in proportion to IVIg dose and had a shorter half-life than anti-hepatitis antibodies and total IgG. Plasma Abeta levels increased transiently after each infusion. Cerebrospinal fluid Abeta decreased significantly at 6 months, returned to baseline after washout and decreased again after IVIg was re-administered for an additional 9 months. Mini-mental state scores increased an average of 2.5 points after 6 months, returned to baseline during washout and remained stable during subsequent IVIg treatment. Our findings confirm and extend those obtained by Dodel et al. [Dodel, R.C., Du, Y., Depboylu, C., Hampel, H., Frolich, L., Haag, A., Hemmeter, U., Paulsen, S., Teipel, S.J., Brettschneider, S., Spottke, A., Nolker, C., Moller, H.J., Wei, X., Farlow, M., Sommer, N., Oertel, W.H., 2004. Intravenous immunoglobulins containing antibodies against beta-amyloid for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 75, 1472-1474] from a 6-month trial of IVIg in 5 AD patients and justify further studies of IVIg for treatment of AD.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2008; 30(11):1728-36. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations in cerebrovascular regulation related to vascular oxidative stress have been implicated in the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but their role in the amyloid deposition and cognitive impairment associated with AD remains unclear. We used mice overexpressing the Swedish mutation of the amyloid precursor protein (Tg2576) as a model of AD to examine the role of reactive oxygen species produced by NADPH oxidase in the cerebrovascular alterations, amyloid deposition, and behavioral deficits observed in these mice. We found that 12- to 15-month-old Tg2576 mice lacking the catalytic subunit Nox2 of NADPH oxidase do not develop oxidative stress, cerebrovascular dysfunction, or behavioral deficits. These improvements occurred without reductions in brain amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) levels or amyloid plaques. The findings unveil a previously unrecognized role of Nox2-derived radicals in the behavioral deficits of Tg2576 mice and provide a link between the neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive decline associated with amyloid pathology.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2008; 105(4):1347-52. · 9.74 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2008; 4(4).

Publication Stats

6k Citations
610.93 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • Division of Neurobiology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2008–2011
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Neurology and Neuroscience
      Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 2009
    • Mayo Clinic
      Jacksonville, Florida, United States
  • 1999–2009
    • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      • Department of Neuroscience
      Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • 2002–2008
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
      • Department of Neurology
      Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 2007
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Division of Biology
      Pasadena, CA, United States
  • 2004–2006
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Pathology
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 1988–1995
    • Case Western Reserve University
      • • Department of Neurology (University Hospitals Case Medical Center)
      • • Department of Pharmacology
      • • Department of Oral Pathology
      Cleveland, OH, United States
  • 1988–1992
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States