About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute (AADRI) is:

  1. To discover the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  2. To develop new therapies and preventive strategies based on this increased understanding of the underlying etiology.
  3. To foster better communication and joint research efforts among scientists from different disciplines and institutions.
  4. To increase public awareness of the coming epidemic of age-related dementias and mobilize the public and private sectors to help fight it.
Meet Our Director
Dr. Li Gan: Director of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute and the Burton P. and Judith B. Resnick Distinguished Professor in Neurodegenerative Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Dr. Gan is the director of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute and the Burton P. and Judith B. Resnick Distinguished Professor in Neurodegenerative Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Gan received a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology in 1990 from Peking University in Beijing and a doctorate in cellular and molecular physiology in 1996 from Yale University School of Medicine. She completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease at the University of California, San Francisco, where she became a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, and professor-in-residence at UCSF, joining Weill Cornell Medicine in July 2018.

Dr. Gan’s research focuses on innate immunity and proteostasis, the converging and interconnected pathways in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). On the proteostasis front, her work linked endolysosomal dysfunction with amyloid beta degradation in AD and aberrant acetylation with tau degradation and toxicity in FTD. Her research also aims at dissecting how maladaptive innate immune responses leads to functional deficits, proteostasis malfunction, and disease progression. Her earlier work uncovered a novel epigenetic mechanism underlying the interplay of NF-kB hyperactivation and SIRT1 in aging-associated chronic inflammation. Her research also identified a critical role of microglial NFκB-TNFα hyperactivation in obsessive-compulsive behavioral observed in progranulin deficient FTD mouse models. Her most recent work focuses on functional consequence and underlying mechanism of mutations on TREM2, the strongest innate immune risk factor in AD.

Helen and Robert Appel and Their Philanthropic Contributions to the Institute 

Helen and Robert Appel

Robert and Helen Appel

The institute owes its existence to the extraordinary generosity of Helen and Bob Appel, patrons and loyal friends of WCM for more than a decade. In 2006, inspired by two of their close friends diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the Appels established the AADRI with a major philanthropic gift. The Appels understood that an institute with research focused on Alzheimer’s would be critical for the future of those living with the disease, those who will one day be diagnosed with the disease and our health care system at large. 

The AADRI represents just one gift among many from the Appels but donations only tell half the tale. The Appels are as benevolent with their time and talent as they are with their philanthropic support. Thanks to their generosity, we have the opportunity to mobilize a range of new resources in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

Our Partners

The Feil Family Brain & Mind Research Institute (BMRI)

The AADRI is part of the Feil Family BMRI, an institute that provides a home for all basic and clinical WCM research with a focus on the brain and its diseases. Through the BMRI, we conduct bench-to-bedside research to develop novel treatments for neurological diseases to be tested in cutting-edge clinical trials, as well as bedside-to-bench investigations to enhance current treatments and truly bridge the current gap in translational neurological medicine. 

WCM Neurology

WCM neurologists provide premier patient care, with a long-standing history of innovation and leadership, including general neurologists as well as specialty neurologists with advanced clinical subspecialty training in their practice. Each WCM Neurology division is staffed by some of the world's finest physicians and scientists, supporting our interdependent missions of patient care, research and education. WCM neurologists offer cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic clinical services within state-of-the-art facilities, accepting referrals for patients from all over the world. 

Specialized Divisions

Weill Cornell Medicine Helen & Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute 413 E. 69th St. New York, NY 10021