Dr. Jeffery Keller of Pennington Biomedical to Lead Answer ALS’ Open Access Data Repository

Published 12:17 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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Pennington Biomedical’s esteemed Dr. Jeffery Keller has been appointed Principal Investigator to spearhead Answer ALS’ open access data repository, Neuromine, as announced on January 31, 2024. Dr. Keller, serving as Director for Pennington Biomedical’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention and holding the position of Professor of Aging and Neurodegeneration, will play a pivotal role in advancing accessibility to Answer ALS data repository, touted as the most expansive ALS data resource to date.

“I’m honored to join the effort and momentum Answer ALS has created,” expressed Dr. Keller. “With over 300 new, independent research projects started as a result of open access to this tremendous rich data set, I’m looking forward to building on that momentum through rapidly advancing AI and organoid capabilities.”

Dr. Keller assumes the mantle of Principal Investigator from Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, MD, Ph.D., Director of both the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research and the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Rothstein, a foundational figure in the establishment of Answer ALS research, continues to contribute significantly to its progression.

Answer ALS, established in 2014 following a summit spearheaded by Team Gleason, emerged from Steve Gleason’s challenge to the research community to develop a strategic plan to combat ALS. The consortium comprises eight ALS clinics, numerous institutions, technology industry leaders, and the participation of over 1000 individuals living with ALS, culminating in the creation of a comprehensive and freely accessible data repository, supplemented with associated biological samples.

“Consensus is growing that a major breakthrough in ALS will involve big data, human based samples and the application of machine learning and AI,” stated Ed Rapp, Answer ALS Advisory Board Chair and a person living with ALS. “I believe Dr. Keller’s unique experience and perspective will not only help further our role in those areas but also foster growth in how others access the tools we make publicly available.”

With a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Keller has been instrumental in Pennington Biomedical’s research endeavors, conducting over three dozen clinical trials focused on neurodegenerative disease and developing high-performance drug screening models and basic science approaches.

“Answer ALS’ innovative quest for such a large-scale coordinated effort to understanding and ultimately defeating ALS is a landmark project in collaboration and the sharing of data,” remarked Dr. John Kirwan, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical. “For such a prominent organization to seek partnership with one of our researchers is a testament to the talent, skill and research acumen of Pennington Biomedical’s investigators. We congratulate Dr. Keller on this appointment and for being a bridge for our campus and Answer ALS.”

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, at the forefront of medical discovery related to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia, aims to lead global initiatives promoting metabolic health and eradicating metabolic diseases through scientific breakthroughs. The Center, affiliated with LSU, conducts basic, clinical, and population research and boasts a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

For more information, visit www.pbrc.edu.

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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