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Upcoming Distinguished Lecturer Alberto Ascherio

By Eddy Ball
August 2008

Alberto Ascherio
Distinguished Lecturer Alberto Ascherio (Photo courtesy of Leslie Unger and Harvard University)

The 2007 - 2008 NIEHS Distinguished Lecture Series will welcome its final speaker, Alberto Ascherio, M.D., Dr.P.H., at 11:00 a.m. August 12 in Rodbell Auditorium. Ascherio will explore the topic of "Environmental Risk Factors and Biomarkers of Parkinson's Disease." The lecture will be hosted by Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., a tenure-track investigator in the Aging and Neuroepidemiology Group.

Ascherio's research ( Exit NIEHS is primarily devoted to finding the causes of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. For more than a decade, he has investigated neurodegenerative diseases in several large cohorts comprising more than 400,000 men and women who have provided detailed information on their dietary habits and lifestyle, in addition to blood or cheek cell samples for genetic and other laboratory analyses.

Currently, Ascherio directs a large prospective sero-epidemiological study based on the Department of Defense Serum Repository to identify prediagnostic markers of infection and nutritional status in relation to MS risk and collaborates with the Parkinson Study Group to investigate risk factors for Parkinson's disease progression.

A native of Italy, Ascherio trained in internal medicine in Italy, and from 1980 to 1988 he practiced medicine and public health in Latin America and Africa. He came to the United States in 1988 and earned a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the Harvard University School of Public Health in 1992.

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