Singleton To Direct New Intramural Effort for Dementia Research
Dr. Andrew B. Singleton is the director of a new NIH intramural research effort, the Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (CARD). He has been serving as CARD acting director since its construction plan launch in January 2020. He is set to stimulate and lead collaborative research group projects to expand knowledge of the biological mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and to explore methods of treatment and prevention.
“With his decades of experience leading cutting-edge neurodegenerative disease research, Andy is uniquely qualified to inspire and facilitate a collaborative network of multidisciplinary scientists to realize the CARD mission of initiating, stimulating, accelerating and supporting research in Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” said NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes. “I am confident that through his leadership, NIH will continue to make significant advancement toward the development of effective treatments and prevention strategies for these devastating diseases.”
NIA and NINDS established CARD in 2020 and the plan is to open a dedicated laboratory facility on the NIH main campus in early 2022. Researchers will have opportunities to capitalize on unique NIH resources, including the Clinical Center for conducting early-phase clinical trials, and NCATS for high-throughput testing capabilities.
Alzheimer’s is the most common diagnosis for dementia. Experts estimate that as many as 5.8 million Americans 65 and older in 2020 have Alzheimer’s disease dementia, and the prevalence in the United States is projected to increase to 13.8 million by 2050.
As CARD director, Singleton will lead its scientific and administrative oversight to advance basic, translational and clinical research for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and collaborate with researchers across the nation and around the world.
“Our immediate priorities will be to quickly stand up our clinical, translational and basic research efforts,” he said. “Critical to this effort will be the recruitment of key positions within CARD, including leadership of translational and clinical areas. It is essential that we train and recruit the very best and brightest scientists with an emphasis on creating a diverse and energetic culture.”
Singleton credits the NIH Intramural Research Program for providing, through its unique abilities, opportunities and incredible wealth of talent, the foundation for this new center. He joined NIH’s NIA IRP in 2001 and became a principal investigator leading its molecular genetics unit the following year.
In 2007, he became an NIA tenured senior investigator. In 2008, he was named chief of the NIA Laboratory of Neurogenetics. His lab has worked over the last two decades on the genetic causes and contributors to neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers have identified causes and risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s, dementia with Lewy bodies, motor neuron diseases and rare progressive neurological disorders.
Singleton currently serves on the scientific advisory board of the Lewy Body Dementia Association and is a member of the editorial boards of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Neurobiology of Disease, Neurogenetics, Movement Disorders (associate editor), Lancet Neurology, Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, NPJ Parkinson’s Disease (associate editor) and the Journal of Huntington’s Disease.
Examples of his many other honors are the 2019 Robert A. Pritzker Award for Leadership in Parkinson’s Research, 2017 American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Award and NIH Director’s Awards in 2008 and 2016.
Singleton earned his Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, and his B.Sc. from the University of Sunderland, U.K.