Copyright © 2018 UCSD ADRC.
All rights reserved.

About Us

Director: James Brewer, MD, PhD
Program Director:
Emily Little, MPH

The University of California San Diego, Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) is one of the original five of the now 29 Alzheimer's Disease Centers supported by the National Institute on Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. Our ADRC was established in 1984 to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and care for persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) while, at the same time, focusing on finding ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately eradicate the disease. In November of 2004, UCSD announced a $4 million pledge from Donald and Darlene Shiley to support the UCSD ADRC. In recognition of their generous gift and in honor of Darlene's mother Dee Marcos, UCSD renamed the ADRC the Shiley-Marcos ADRC.


Our Mission is to:

  • Carry out research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease

  • Act as a local and national resource by providing research subjects, data, and materials to researchers in AD and related disorders

  • Provide training opportunities for clinicians and researchers

  • Educate professionals and the community regarding AD

  • Provide outreach to the diverse San Diego community regarding diagnosis, treatment, and care for persons with AD

We are organized into the following various cores that focus on carrying out our multidisciplinary goals and objectives in accordance with our mission.

 Clinical Core: 

The overall objective is to maintain research subjects, clinical resources, and clinical data to support ongoing and proposed research and to assist in the development of new clinical and interdisciplinary research. This core is responsible for performing the annual nursing, neurological, and neuropsychological evaluations of all ADRC participants, as well as refining and evaluating clinical and neuropsychological assessment procedures for accurate identification of MCI and the transition to AD in very mildly impaired subjects. Additionally, this core participates in projects with other ADCs and in multicenter therapeutic drug trials for AD. 

The Education and Information Transfer Core:

The Education and Information Transfer Core is focused on increasing the number of individuals interested in, trained for, and actively pursuing AD research and clinical care. This team simultaneously works to reach caregivers to provide information about AD, access to community resources, and opportunities to participate in ADRC research.

Our multidisciplinary staff provides valuable education to the medical and lay community in the form of lectures workshops, and in-service training. Every four months we issue "Currents" our newsletter that provides information about recent research progress and educational events. We also publish the quarterly international newsletter "Perspectives", written specifically for people with dementia. 

We hold an annual conference featuring internationally recognized speakers, who give updates on the latest advances in Alzheimer's care and research. Our physicians and staff continue to publish extensively in all aspects of Alzheimer's disease and its treatment.

We also have a number of Quality of Life Programs through this core that aim to improve emotional and social support for patients and caregivers through support groups and activity -based programs.

Neuropathology Core:

Our team of neuropathologists maintain a state of the art Alzheimer's brain bank with well characterized cases, including Mild Cognitive Impairment and Lewy Body disease.  An AD diagnosis can only be conclusively made by examining the brain after death in an autopsy to identify the characteristic plaques and tangles. Autopsy provides valuable information that can educate and enlighten families, physicians, and researchers, who are working to discover more reliable tests for AD. The autopsy results of AD patients who have been followed over time at our ADRC are espcially valuable because in conjunction with the substantial tratment and care histories that are collected, researchers can obtain information essential to the search for effective treatments for AD. This research will contribute to our eventual understanding of the chain of events that leads to AD and related dementias.

Data Management and Statistics Core (DMSC):

Our team of statisticians collect, store, manage, and analyze data generated by other ADRC components, primarily the Clinical Core. They provide statistical design and analysis consultation services to ADRC investigators and prepare the ADRC database for routine submission to the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center.  Additionally, they educate investigators, trainees, and junior faculty in the principles and use of statistical analysis methodologies. The DMSC is also responsible for developing new statistical methodologies that apply to the analysis of Alzheimer's disease data.