Newswise — Alison M. Goate, DPhil, a leading scientist in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), has been named Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Goate is the Willard T.C. Johnson Research Professor of Neurogenetics, and Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Neuroscience, and Neurology. She joined the Icahn School of Medicine faculty in 2015 as Founding Director of The Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease at Mount Sinai. She will assume her new responsibilities on January 1, 2021.  

“Dr. Goate has made significant contributions in the field of genetics and we know her leadership will propel Mount Sinai’s contributions to the field of genetics and futher the understanding of many diseases,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of Mount Sinai Health System. “We have made substantial investments in the future of genetic and genomic research which have led to developments in diagnostics and next-generation treatments We will continue this momentum under the leadership of a dynamic and visionary scientist.”   

“Dr. Goate brings tremendous expertise and leadership to a team of already exceptional scientists and faculty,” said Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, Director of The Friedman Brain Institute and Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Together, I know they will continue to shape this field and discover new and uncharted approaches to understanding and treating the most complex diseases. I am excited for this next frontier under her leadership.” 

Her notable accomplishments in the field include the discovery of genetic mutations and risk factors in AD. The progress that she made in early diagnosis of this crippling disease is a game changer for physicians and patients. She is a remarkable scientist who will build upon these achievements and push the boundaries of academic medicine in genetics and genomic sciences.  

“This is an extraordinary time for genomics and for this Department. We are a recognized leader in applying genomics and data science to medicine, and it is my privilege to build upon this foundation to prevent and treat human disease,” said Dr. Goate. “We have made tremendous advances in our understanding of the human genome and are poised to translate this fundamental knowledge in genomics and data science into knowledge that improves health for humanity. My vision for the Department is to be recognized as a world leader in genomics, to find solutions and make meaningful advances in human health.”   

Dr. Goate has devoted her life’s work to understanding neurodegenerative disease. Over the last three decades, she has been part of many gene finding teams that have identified disease-causing variants for both AD and frontotemporal dementia. As a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College, London, she worked with influential neurogeneticist John Hardy, PhD, and reported the first mutation to cause familial AD. She was later recruited to Washington University in St. Louis, where she led early studies that identified a mutation in Colombian families with early-onset AD. This work is now part of a larger clinical trial. Her lab was also part of the team that first reported MAPT mutations in FTD and she later led a National Institutes of Health-funded study to identify gene variants that protect against AD in people who are at greater risk for developing the disorder and whether gene variants influence the age of onset of the illness. During her tenure there, she became the Director of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders.  

Dr. Goate is a leader in the study of late-onset AD genetics using integrative genomic approaches to identify novel genetic risk factors. Her work has highlighted the enrichment of AD risk variants in microglial enhancers, regulatory elements in DNA that control gene expression in immune cells of the brain. She also leads an NIH funded study to identify gene variants that protect against AD, even in those who are at high risk for disease. She is now building upon these genetic insights using genome-editing in induced pluripotent stem cells to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying disease risk and protection to develop novel therapeutics.  

Dr. Goate continued, “A fundamental understanding of the genetic basis of disease and human traits can and will lead to major changes in the way we diagnose, prevent, and treat disease across all medical specialties. My primary goal will be to build a department with a diverse workforce and an international reputation for excellence in research, education, and patient care in genomic medicine and data sciences. I look forward to working with leaders of all genetics, genomics and data science Institutes and Centers within Mount Sinai to develop an integrated vision for the future.”  

Dr. Goate has received the Potamkin Award and the Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alzheimer’s Association and the MetLife Award for her research on AD. She was elected a fellow of AAAS in 2012 and a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2016.  


About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

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