Two faculty are honored for their novel work.
Alzheimer’s and Ebola are two of the more devastating diseases that torment humankind. For their work to understand and arrest these scourges, two Alpert Medical School faculty were honored as 2015 Rhode Islanders of the Year by the magazine Rhode Island Monthly in December.
Adam Levine, MD, MPH, assistant professor of emergency medicine and director of the Brown University Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship, was one of the first responders to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, where he set up the International Medical Corps’ first treatment facility. After the epidemic subsided, Levine and his colleagues had data from more than 2,000 patients that, they hope, will unlock some clues to this still-mysterious disease; they’re working with the World Health Organization to set up a data-sharing platform with other aid organizations. Levine told RI Monthly the research is vital because an outbreak will happen again. “The question is how do we prepare ourselves to make sure that we have the best tools and the best trained people available to respond the next time,” he said.
With science and art, Peter Snyder, PhD, professor of neurology (research), is taking a fresh look at Alzheimer’s disease. The chief research officer of the Lifespan Hospital System has been examining the eyes of children of Alzheimer’s patients for evidence of protein buildup and other early signifiers of the disease, with the ultimate goal that physicians would be able to treat people sooner and slow its progress. “Once the tissue is lost, it doesn’t come back,” Snyder told the magazine. “So we want to protect it when it’s vulnerable, not yet destroyed.”
As he collected retinal and brain scans and other data for the study, Snyder, a sculptor, also found inspiration. With four other artists he organized an exhibition, “Interstice: Memory, Mind, and Alzheimer’s Disease,” at Brown last summer to illustrate the experience of patients, families, and caregivers—of their fear and uncertainty, but also love and hope.