Rudolph Tanzi, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi is the Vice-Chair of Neurology, Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Co-Director of the Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health, and Co-Director of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves as the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tanzi received his BS in microbiology and BA in history at the University of Rochester in 1980 and his Ph.D. in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in 1990. Dr. Tanzi co-discovered the first three Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genes, including APP, PS1, and PS2. Dr. Tanzi also established CD33 as the first AD risk gene, related to innate immunity and neuroinflammation. Dr. Tanzi created 3D neural-glial cell culture organoids of AD, dubbed “Alzheimer’s-in-a-Dish”, which was the first model to recapitulate all three key AD pathological hallmarks in vitro, and the first to show that amyloid plaques directly cause neurofibrillary tangles. Dr. Tanzi also discovered that beta-amyloid plays a functional role in the brain as an anti-microbial peptide, supporting a role for infection in AD pathology. Dr. Tanzi has received the highest awards in his field, including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award, Potamkin Prize, Ronald Reagan Award, Oneness in Humanity Award, Silver Innovator Award, the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, the Brain Research Foundation Award, and the Kary Mullis Award for Medical Research.