Maher, who has been a senior staff scientist at Salk since 2004, will continue her work screening for compounds that could slow or stop the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Two of her compounds are currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s (see this issue’s Discoveries for details).

“Salk is fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated scientist as Pam, and we are thrilled to appoint her as research professor,” says Salk President Rusty Gage.

Maher, who is also the head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, uses compounds derived from natural products, such as strawberries, turmeric and cannabis, in order to treat the cellular aging and memory loss observed in Alzheimer’s. Her team has taken multiple drug candidates from conception in the laboratory into clinical trials. Currently, two of these compounds, CMS121 and J147, are in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. In mice, these compounds protected neurons and prevented the molecular changes that are associated with aging.

Maher was previously awarded the Edward N. & Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation Award in Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery and the Michael J. Fox Award for Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Parkinson’s Disease. She currently has five NIH-funded grants to examine the relationship between aging, inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.

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