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UK DRI pay tribute to Professor John Trojanowski

John T Prize Web Copy

Banner image (left-right) - Professors Khalid Iqbal, John Trojanowski, Kaj Blennow, Colin Masters and Henrik Zetterberg at the 2016 Söderberg Prize Seminar in Stockholm. Photo courtesy of the Swedish Society of Medicine and the Prize Jury.


The UK DRI community is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Prof John Trojanowski, eminent neuropathologist at the Center for Neurodegenerative Research at University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.

A world-leading dementia researcher, Prof Trojanowski has been at the forefront of our understanding neurodegenerative diseases for over 30 years, working closely alongside his wife and research partner Prof Virginia Lee. He is responsible for many breakthrough discoveries in the field, particularly around the identity and characteristics of protein aggregates in disease such as Tau in Alzheimer’s, alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s and TDP-43 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Prof Trojanowski leaves an extraordinary legacy with over 1400 co-authored research publications, several of which are amongst the most highly cited in the field. His achievements are recognised with prestigious honours including the Metlife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease (1996), the Potamkin Prize For Research In Pick's, Alzheimer's And Related Diseases (1998) and the Alzheimer's Association Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer's Disease Research (2018).

Read more about the achievements of Prof Trojanowski in this Alzforum article and tribute from the Department Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, within the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where John held the position of Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.


UK DRI colleagues have been sharing tributes and memories of John:

UK DRI Director, Prof Bart De Strooper:

“John was already a giant when I entered the field, and it was so encouraging to meet him in person. He was a funny, creative and friendly man who was always up for a good discussion. John was one of the founders of the field of dementia research and, together with his wife Virginia Lee, pioneered many important breakthroughs. We will miss him deeply.”

UK DRI Director (COO), Dr Adrian Ivinson:

“John’s contributions went beyond his prodigious science. He carried with him a collegial and up-beat demeanour—it was a pleasure to share a room with him. And if you saw him listed as chair of a meeting you knew you were in for a good and lively time. I also admired John’s steadfast focus on why we do research. It was not an exercise in the abstract. Alleviating suffering was the motivation. A life well lived and a tough act to follow. ”

UK DRI Group Leader at UCL, Prof Henrik Zetterberg:

“John welcomed me with open arms into the Alzheimer's fluid biomarker field when I started my research there some 20 years ago. I think I first met him when I was a stand-in for a double-booked Kaj Blennow at an important meeting. I was so impressed by his interest, knowledge, enthusiasm, and kindness. On top of this, I thought he looked so much like Mick Jagger. To me, John will always be the rock star of Alzheimer's research.”

Article published: 16 February 2022

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