Michael Weiner

Alzheimer's Research

Self Exam

  • Occupation: Physician
  • Alternative career choice: Jazz Pianist
  • What do rock stars and scienctists have in common: Strong dedication to their work
  • Musical Instrument I Play: Jazz Piano
  • I tend to approach life: as a great adventure
  • Biggest misconceptions about me or my work: that scientists are nerds who have poor people skills and dont do exciting work.
  • Worst part-time job ever: cleaning toilets in a supermarket
  • Longest med school study session: 36 hours
  • Best moment in medicine/research: discovering the use of nuclear magnetic resonance to study living tissues in an intact rat.

About My Research

Disease Area: alzheimer's disease is a disorder where proteins called amyloid and tau are deposited in the brain resulting in memory problems progressing to dementia.

Research Area: I study alzheimer's disease with brain imaging. My goal is to find the best ways to detect alzheimer's disease at an early stage.

Science Impact/Accomplishments or Goal: we have identified various biomarkers that predict alzheimer's disease. Our goal is to help find treatments which slow the progression of alzheimer's.

Research Description: The overall goal of my research is to help find treatments which slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease (AD), and ultimately to prevent this terrible disorder. My research uses brain imaging to detect changes associated with AD. These changes can be used to identify patterns of change in the brain of apparently normal healthy people who have early AD, but who have no symptoms. Thus these changes can be used to determine which individuals are more likely to develop AD symptoms in the future. These changes can also be used to monitor progression of AD, and thus can determine whether treatments are slowing progression. I'm particularly interested in developing and implementing new techniques which provide improved diagnosis, early detection, and monitor longitudinal changes in treatment trials."


Dr. Weiner attended Johns Hopkins University and the State University of New York, and worked at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York (Resident), and Yale University (Fellow). After service in the US Air Force, in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin he was awarded a VA Research Associate at the Madison VA. Subsequently he was awarded a VA Clinical Investigatorship and relocated to the Palo Alto VA/Stanford University, where he subsequently received the Young Investigator Award of the American College of Cardiology in 1976. In 1980 he performed the first experiment using implanted coils to obtain 31P NMR spectra from the kidney of living rats, beginning his work using NMR/MRI for research. Since 1980 he has been at the San Francisco VA/UCSF. He is currently Director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases, a 10,000 square foot building with 2 research MRIs and over 70 staff including 9 faculty. He is Professor of Radiology, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at UCSF. He has published over 500 peer reviewed scientific papers. His grants include studies of gulf war illness, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, ALS, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, HIV/AIDS, and other neurodegenerative conditions. He is the Principle Investigator of: the NIA funded Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)/Grand Opportunities (GO) Grant, and the renewal of ADNI (total funding over $150 million for these 3 grants), the Research Resource for MRI of Neurodegenerative Diseases, and the DOD/NCIRE/VA Neuroscience Center of Excellence. In 2006 Dr. Weiner was awarded the Middleton Award, for outstanding research in the VA.