Bradley T. Hyman
82PhD, 83MD, 88R, 89F

Achievement 2010

Bradley T. Hyman

Bradley T. Hyman, 82PhD, 83MD, 88R, 89F, has devoted his medical and scientific career to understanding the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease—the devastating neurodegenerative affliction that has destroyed the lives of countless individuals and drains more than $20 billion from the healthcare system each year.

An internationally acclaimed physician and researcher, Hyman embodies the objectives of the University of Iowa's renowned Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) from which he graduated in 1983. Following completion of his medical degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry as a student of professor emeritus Arthur Spector, Hyman entered a UI fellowship in behavioral neurology under the direction of Antonio Damasio and Gary Van Hoesen. These experiences initiated Hyman's research and clinical focus on Alzheimer's disease, the subject of his scholarly activities ever since.

In 1989, Hyman joined Harvard Medical School, where he is now a neurology professor. Also director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Hyman works passionately to gain new insights into a brain disorder that affects about 25 percent of Americans who reach their 80s.

In addition to his basic science investigations of the molecular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer's disease, Hyman maintains an active clinical practice with the Memory Disorders Unit at MGH. By combining such invaluable patient care interactions with his research studies, he has been able to advance his knowledge in new and inventive ways.

Among Hyman's significant contributions to Alzheimer's research—made possible largely through grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—he has managed to "map" the natural history of the disease and distinguish it from normal aging. Hyman has also discovered vulnerable brain regions and neurons, identifying events that precede clinical symptoms. In addition, he's gained insight into a variety of genetic factors that lead to an increased risk for Alzheimer's, and he has played a major role in explaining the functions of the proteins and peptides involved in the disease. Most recently, Hyman's achievements have involved the application of advanced imaging techniques to allow researchers to follow the progression of degeneration in laboratory models of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, which will help lead to new therapies.

Such research breakthroughs have resulted in the publication of more than 380 original articles and 100 reviews, books, and editorials appearing in highly visible journals. Recognized as a world expert on Alzheimer's disease, Hyman has received numerous honors, including the Alzheimer Association Pioneer Award, the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award, an Alzheimer Association Faculty Scholar Award, and a National Institute on Aging Merit Award.

He has participated in many grant review and NIH panels, Alzheimer's Association panels, and external advisory boards, and he has served on the editorial boards of many neurobiology and neuropathology journals. Still, Hyman finds time to share his expertise with students, fellows, and residents, who highly respect his qualities as a mentor and educator.

A physician-scientist who excels in his worthy endeavors and has brought international acclaim to the University of Iowa, Bradley Hyman shines as a bright star in his field.