Walter Lukiw, BS, MS, PhD

Louisiana State University Neuroscience Center

Dr. Lukiw has had extensive research experience and have made many important contributions in the molecular-genetics, epigenetics and altered gene expression patterns in a number of human-specific conditions including (i) normal aging; (ii) Alzheimer’s disease (AD); (iii) age-related macular degeneration (AMD); (iv) prion disease (PD); (v) progressive inflammatory diseases of the brain and retina associated with aging; (vi) neurotrophic virus infection involving HSV-1 and other incapacitating and lethal human viruses; (vii) environmental neurotoxicology with emphasis on aluminum and mercury; and (viii) autism spectrum disorders (ASD). He has had considerable experience in establishing biomarkers in these many human conditions using human primary brain cells of all types, as well as in biopsied human brain and retina and short post-mortem interval human specimens; in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood serum and urine taken from patients and controls. One specific area that we have particular strength in is the establishment of nucleic acid biomarkers for disease including microRNA (miRNA) and other small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) in CSF, blood serum and urine of AD and age-matched control patients; together these help establish a diagnostic panel of biomarkers for the normally aging, the prodromal AD, and the early, moderate and late stages of AD.
They have had extensive experience with humanized-transgenic and other transgenic murine models expressing specific disease genes employing multiple methodologies, research strategies and experimental designs. With respect to his ability to foster collaborative research, He can proudly note my 300+ peer-reviewed scientific papers on inter-related aspects of the molecular-genetics of human nervous system and cell survival signaling published in several prestigious scientific journals including Experimental Neurology, Journal of Virology, Nature Genetics, Neurology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and Trends in Genetics. These works include 32 book chapters and 27 novel and original brain- and retina-relevant DNA sequence entries to GenBank. Importantly, these publications involve colleagues, coauthors and collaborators at 74 different universities and academic institutions, both domestic and international. In addition, he has had been continuously funded by the NIH and Louisiana State agencies for 18 years performing research involving co-investigators from diverse disciplines such as immunology, innate-immunity and cell survival signaling to complement my own expertise. At this stage of his career, He is ready to apply my collaborative skills, experience in experimental design and extensive research know-how to advancing this project involving the Alzheimer’s disease Research Center (ADRC) in the state of Louisiana.
Concerning administrative and organizational experience, since 2003 I have been a member of the LSUHSC’s Mentors Program; Dr. Lukiw has instructed undergraduate and graduate courses in biochemistry, genetics and molecular neurobiology in both the US and Canada; He has also instructed courses for medical and graduate students in China, Russia, Mexico and at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC); Currently (and for the last 15 years) he has been director of the graduate course NRSC 201 ‘Investigative Neuroscience’ at the LSU Neuroscience Center. He has personally mentored 18 medical and graduate students to the level of the MS or PhD degrees at LSUHSC. Further administrative duties at LSUHSC include his past and continuing service on the graduate and faculty promotions committee, the graduate/medical student selection committee and the LSU Mentors Program for potential incoming students, and providing educational aid, planning and guidance to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and new and junior faculty. At the national level, he has served on many NIH study sections and other scientific-review panels; and has served on the editorial boards of many medical-scientific journals (see below). He has administratively organized several scientific symposia on ‘miRNA and cell survival signaling’ including, most recently, those held at the American Society for Neurochemistry (2015) and the Society for Neuroscience (2016) meetings.
As Co-director of the Biomarker Core he sincerely looks forward to interacting with his colleagues who will be serving as interactive directors and co-directors of this project; he is extremely pleased that Dr. Bazan has agreed to serve as the PI/PD of this project and head of the Administrative Core of the ADRC with acknowledgement of his extensive experience and track-record in AD research and the neurodegenerative disease process.