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MCI Research Opportunities


The Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center has a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers to participate in important research studies designed to discover ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately eradicate Alzheimer’s disease. We are recruiting diverse volunteers on an ongoing basis to learn more about memory and aging.

Research Registry

Are you interested in participating in a research study but don't currently see one that suits you? You can now join our Research Registry to be placed on a list for future studies. 

*Call the ADRC 858-822-4800 and ask for Tracey Truscott, LCSW for more information on being added to the registry or to determine your eligibilty for any of our enrolling studies.


Currently Enrolling New Participants


Observational Studies


PI: Douglas Galasko, MD            

CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or                 

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 5 years                                                                                                                                        

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this study is to learn how the brain changes as we age. This is an observational study with no medication, with behavioral, medical, and cognitive data collection and testing as well as a neurological exam. This is done annually from the time of enrollment to death. Information about strategies for healthy brain aging is provided, as is feedback about one’s annual performance on cognitive testing. We continue to obtain blood and CSF samples to match up changes in chemicals we can measure in the blood and CSF with changes in cognition and brain structure.                                      

REQUIREMENTS: Age 65 and older if normal cognition or diagnosis of MCI or early dementia due to Alzheimer’s, FTD, or DLB; study partner; LP and MRI required; brain autopsy required.

For the study brochure in English, click here

For the study brochure in Spanish, click here

Evoked Response Potentials

PI: James Brewer, MD, PhD CONTACT: Mollie Paster, (858) 822-4800

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 2 years 

DESCRIPTION: This study is to examine the utility of non-invasive measures of the brain’s electrical activity as an early marker of Alzheimer’s disease.  Electroencephalogram recordings (EEG) and Event-Related Potentials (ERP) have shown promise in small studies, but no study has examined how they compare to other markers more commonly used in clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease. We will collect EEG and ERP data along with brain imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess brain atrophy and use positron emission tomography (PET) to assess for the presence of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. We will determine whether EEG and ERP measures are powerful enough to serve as surrogates for these more expensive markers of disease.  
Clinical/cognitive, imaging (MRI and PET scans), biomarker, and genetic characteristics will be assessed across the three cohorts: Normal controls (NC), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Visits will occur triennially for all subjects with telephone contacts in between visits.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 60-90; fluent English speakers (as of age 12), with normal cognition or a diagnosis of MCI, or AD; have corrected visual acuity of at least 20/50 for distant vision; have overall good general health. Subjects are required to undergo an MRI, PET scan, and EEG.

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 3

PI: James Brewer, MD, PhD      

CONTACT: Mollie Paster, (858) 822-4800

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 5 years                                                                                                                                                    

DESCRIPTION: The primary goal is to discover, optimize, standardize, and validate clinical trial measures and biomarkers used in ongoing Alzheimer’s disease research. The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) plays a central role in improving treatment trials. Since the study’s launch, ADNI Investigators with regulators in both the US and abroad have facilitated the design of major completed and ongoing drug trials. ADNI 3 is a continuation of this work. ADNI 3 is a non-randomized, natural history, non-treatment study. Clinical/cognitive, imaging (MRI and PET scans), biomarker, and genetic characteristics will be assessed across the three cohorts: Normal controls (NC), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Visits will occur annually for MCI and AD subjects and biennially for NC subjects.               

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-90; have normal cognition or a diagnosis of MCI, or AD; have a study partner; have overall good general health. Subjects are required to undergo MRI and PET scans and undergo a lumbar puncture.

Clinical Trials for Persons with MCI or Early AD


PI: Douglas Galasko, MD

CONTACT: Sandy Jerkins, or 858-822-4800 (study coordinator, Dan Szpak, RN)

TIME INVOLVED: Up to two months and will require at least five study clinic visits including a three-day stay at the clinical research unit. Compensation will be provided to enrolled participants.

DESCRIPTION: Posiphen is an experimental drug developed as an anti-amyloid medication that may delay Alzheimer’s disease (AD) onset or slow the progression of possible AD-related brain damage due to amyloid build­up. Participants in Discover will help researchers learn if the experimental drug is both safe and tolerated. This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with a 50/50 chance of receiving the experimental drug.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-85; diagnosis of MCI or mild Alzheimer’s disease; MMSE 24-30; study partner, MRI scan, lumbar puncture, willing to undergo extended stay in clinical research unit (2 nights).

To view a slideshow presentation for more information, click here

To view the study flyer, click here


ABBVIE M15-566                                                                                                                                                    PI: Gabriel Leger, MD                          

CONTACT: Lorraine Cheng, MA (858) 229-2283 or                                

TIME INVOLVED: 92 weeks of treatment; 33 visits over 24 months                                                                              

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the study is to test a new drug (ABBV-8E12) which is being developed by AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. ABBV-8E12 is a humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody against human microtubule associated protein tau. It targets soluble extracellular tau in the brain, which has been implicated in the development and spreading of tau pathology. ABBV-8E12 may be able to block soluble tau aggregates, or seeds, from propagating between cells and thereby decrease the spreading of tau pathology and slow down Alzheimer’s disease. Drug is administered an infusion once a month.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-85; stable on memory medication for 3 months or no memory medications; 7 MRIs, Lumbar Puncture optional, 1 PET scan; study partner is required.

UC CURES SAL-AD                                                                                                                                              

PI: Stephanie Lessig, MD               

CONTACT:  Barbara Johnson (858) 246-1303 or                              

TIME INVOLVED: 52 weeks                         

DESCRIPTION: Double blind, randomized, placebo controlled, pilot PK/PD, evaluating tau acetylation inhibition for Salsalate in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Salsalate is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), which is used to treat arthritis. Salsalate is being tested here for its property to inhibit tau acetylation, which may play a role in tau aggregation.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 50-85 with diagnosis of AD; MMSE 14-30. Subject agrees to LP, MRI, PET (amyloid and tau), cognitive testing and must have a study partner.

BIOHAVEN, BHV4157-203 (T2) *Enrolling soon*

PI: Gabriel Leger, M.D.                  

CONTACT: Nana Kori (858)246-3279 or

TIME INVOLVED: 58 weeks total (up to 42 days of screening period, 48 weeks treatment, and 4-week post-treatment observation period)

DESCRIPTION: A phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BHV-4157 in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. BHV-4157 is an optimized prodrug of the glutamatergic agent, riluzole, which is currently used to treat ALS. Preclinical model suggests that BHV-4157 has neuroprotective effects from AD-related pathology and cognitive dysfunction. The medication is an oral tablet taken once daily.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 50-85; diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease; study partner to accompany all clinic visits; cognitive testing; blood and urine sample collection; MRI; optional lumbar puncture

Other Research

Amy Jak, PhD is conducting a study with persons who have a diagnosis of MCI called: "Impact of Combined Behavioral Interventions on Cognitive Outcomes in MCI." Click here to read the study brochure. For more information or to participate contact or (858) 642-6375.