Berislav Zlokovic - Biography#

Berislav V. Zlokovic (Betza) is the director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine, and a professor of biological sciences at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Zlokovic has a long-standing career in studying the role of cerebral blood vessels in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke as a foundation for the development of new treatments for these disorders. Using animal models and studying human brain, his laboratory has shown that damage to the BBB and brain microcirculation can accumulate before neuronal dysfunction, injury and cognitive decline. His research team has identified the cellular and molecular mechanisms in small cerebral blood vessels causing disruption of the neurovascular unit and BBB breakdown, which leads to neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration in models of AD, ALS, pericyte-deficient rodents and stroke. Discoveries of his research team have contributed to the development of clinical trials based on amyloid-beta clearance in AD, and a new therapeutic approach for stroke based on activated protein C mutant that is currently under clinical assessment in phase 2 studies in stroke patients as a neuroprotective agent. Currently, Zlokovic studies how genes that influence AD risk (e.g., APOE4, PSEN1, PICALM, CLU) affect cerebrovascular system using transgenic models, human pluripotent stem cell technology and novel neuroimaging methods and molecular biomarkers in the living human brain to evaluate BBB function and cerebral blood flow changes in relation to brain connectivity and cognitive decline.

Thomson Reuters listed Zlokovic as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014 for ranking high among the most-cited authors in the field of neurosciences from 2002 to 2012. He is the recipient of many awards, including the MetLife Award for Medical Research for “significant contributions to our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and for bringing us closer to a cure”, the Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology " in recognition of outstanding achievements in research on Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases”, the Javits Award from the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke "in recognition of distinguished record of substantial contributions in a field of neurological sciences”, the MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging "in recognition of sustained contribution to aging and leadership and commitment to the field” and is a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiative. Zlokovic is also an active entrepreneur and inventor. He co-founded ZZ Biotech, a biotechnology company that is dedicated to developing new treatments for stroke and other neurological disorders.
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