2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge



November 7, 2013


Diana Mask

dmask@mrss.com, 202-478-6175

2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge

Crowdvoting by Scientists and Public Determines

Round Two Winners of $50,000 21 CBT Innovation

Enrico Glaab, Ph.D., focuses on male-specific gene to unlock sex-based differences in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease 

NEW YORK, NY – The 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge on sex-based differences in Alzheimer’s disease – in support of the WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s Network – today announced Enrico Glaab, Ph.D., research associate at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg, as the grand-prize winner of its online global research competition at the Alzheimer’s Disease Summit: The Path to 2025, presented by The New York Academy of Sciences, National Institute on Aging/NIH and the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease.

This rigorous scientific challenge with $100,000 in awards exceeded expectations in terms of both scientific interest and global outreach with more than 800 open project rooms from 65 countries.  Vetted by the NIA as technical advisor, the 2013 Geoffrey Beene NeuroDiscovery Challenge is the first-ever research-based competition created with the goal of identifying male/female differences and the impact in neurodegenerative progression leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Glaab will receive $50,000 in awards from the 21st Century BrainTrust™ to continue his research.

The results of the voting by Summit attendees were so close that one of the Challenge panelist, Anne Whitaker, President North American Pharmaceutical, CEO Sanofi US , stepped forward and offered an additional $50,000 to fund the second-place winners, Kimberly Glass, Ph.D., and John Quackenbush, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“Because one finalist was a female, Dr. Kimberly Glass, we felt it was important to encourage more women to go into STEM careers,” said Sanofi US CEO Anne Whitaker, who is also a founding member of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s.

The winners were selected from a pool of three finalists through online voting open to the public from November 1-5, and a live vote today at the Alzheimer’s Disease Summit: The Path to 2025.

Enrico Glaab, Ph.D., will continue his study of age-related gender differences in brain expression levels of tau-interacting ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 and possible implications for Alzheimer’s disease.

Second-place winners Kimberly Glass, Ph.D. and John Quackenbush, Ph.D., will continue their study of sex-specific differences in Alzheimer’s disease characterized by unique alterations in cellular network structure.

Four Finalists shared the Round One Award of $50,000. More than 6,000 online votes combined with summit attendees selected the winning entry.

“What better way to inform the science and mobilize women than to ask a research question that matters to them? What better way to validate the wisdom of the crowd than to invite them to vote online alongside the scientific community?” said Meryl Comer, President and CEO of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative and co-founder of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and the 21st Century BrainTrust™.

Challenge participants leveraged large sets of existing data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) – a significant study of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease that is one of the great success stories of NIH National Institute on Aging and private-sector funding – to tap into potential new uses, demonstrating the power of these sectors working together towards the same shared goal.

“The number of people with Alzheimer’s globally is expected to triple by 2050, and women will bear the greatest burden,” said Reisa Sperling, MD, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a founding member of the WomenAgainstAlzheimer's. "Women need to unite behind a research agenda that gives us hope and these challenge finalists represent our most promising next-generation scientists. If we continue to invest in innovative research like theirs, we will find a way to prevent and treat this disease by 2025."

Alzheimer’s disease has a disparate impact on women, who make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s victims as well as two-thirds of unpaid caregivers in the United States. Understanding sex-based differences in early stages of cognitive decline may help find ways to prevent and treat this incurable disease in women and men alike. As George Vradenburg, Convenor of the CEOi and co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s said, “Men can always learn a lot from women. This research benefits all victims of Alzheimer’s regardless of gender.”   

Said Trish Vradenburg, co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s and WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, “Women are twice as likely as men to have Alzheimer's; women are also twice as likely as men to be caretakers of Alzheimer's victims. We of the gentler, weaker, more adaptable sex are screwed.  So, we have to be our own best friend, advocate, solver.  I, for one, don't want my son changing my diapers. As a great philosopher once asked: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If not now, when?’ Our time is now.”

 To speak with finalists or Challenge organizers, please contact Diana Mask at 202-478-6175 / dmask@mrss.com .  For profiles and video of the finalists and additional information about the Challenge, visit www.geoffreybeenechallenge.org.


The 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge was launched in association with: Foundation for National Institute of Health (fNIH),National Institute on Aging(NIA), Institute of Medicine(IOM), Women Against Alzheimer’s Network (WA2), 21st Century BrainTrust™ (21 CBT), BrightFocus Foundation, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass Bio (600 Biotech Companies), Society for Women’s Health Research(SWHR),

21st Century BrainTrust™ founding partners: Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, USAgainstAlzheimer’s (USA2) and BrightFocus Foundation.  

About the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative

The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBFAI) launched in 2007 as a major charitable beneficiary of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation – to fight Alzheimer’s.  GBFAI is a philanthropic, not for-profit 501(c)(3), committed to providing catalyst funding to innovative new projects that advance awareness, diagnosis and research in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Contributions in excess of $4.8 million have been made to support groundbreaking awareness programs and next generation research in early diagnostics. of the Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012, the 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge, and co-founder of the 21st Century BrainTrust™.

Powered by INNOCENTIVE® and Galileo Cosmos™

The 2013 Geoffrey Beene NeuroDiscovery Challenge is powered by Innocentive®, a global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s best minds who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific, and technical challenges.   

About WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s

WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s is the first national network of women in leadership positions working to speed the pace of research and build real momentum to end Alzheimer’s disease. The WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s network was launched by USAgainstAlzheimer’s Action, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing organizations and individuals with the information they need to effectively communicate about Alzheimer's to the general public, policy leaders, and the media. For more information about USAgainstAlzheimer’s Action, please visit http://usagainstalzheimersaction.org/. For more information about WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, please visit http://www.womenagainstalzheimers.org.


^ Back to Top