David A. Wolk, MD, and Edward B. Lee, MD, PhD, Appointed Co-Directors of the Institute on Aging

January 20, 2022

On January 18, 2022, Dean J. Larry Jameson and Chief Scientific Officer Jon Epstein announced the appointments of David A. Wolk, MD, and Edward B. Lee, MD, PhD, as Co-Directors of the Institute on Aging, succeeding Dr. John Q. Trojanowski.

Dr. Wolk, who serves as director of the Penn Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (PADRC) and co-director of the Penn Memory Center, is Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Division of Cognitive Neurology. Dr. Lee, who is the PADRC co-associate director, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Drs. Wolk and Lee are both are national leaders in their fields and longtime collaborators with extensive administrative experience and complementary expertise. Dr. Wolk’s primary clinical interest is the diagnosis and care of individuals with a variety of neurodegenerative conditions. His research, which has had sustained NIH support since 2003, focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of memory and cognitive decline associated with aging and Mild Cognitive Impairment/Alzheimer’s Disease. His work is also directed at examining biomarkers, including behavioral and neuroimaging, that differentiate healthy aging from early AD. At the national level, Dr. Wolk has served on the Steering Committee of the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center, Chair of the Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART) Neuroimaging Professional Interest Area, and is a subcommittee member for the NINDS Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (ADRD) Summit 2022.

Dr. Lee is principal investigator of the Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory (TNRL), which supports studies on the molecular neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease, trauma-related neurodegeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal degeneration. He has contributed to the fundamental understanding of numerous aging-related neurodegenerative diseases, including the recent discovery of a novel form of dementia called vacuolar tauopathy linked to mutations in VCP. Dr. Lee has been a key investigator in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research Brain Bank, including leadership of the PADRC Neuropathology Core, the Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center Neuropathology and Genetics Core, and the international CONNECT-TBI Consortium Brain Bank Core. He also co-leads the Penn Center on Alpha-Syunuclein Strains Neuropathology, Biomarkers and Genetics Core. In addition to his expertise in neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Lee is an attending diagnostic neuropathologist at HUP.

In their new roles as IOA co-directors, Dr. Wolk will serve as Director of Clinical Research and Dr. Lee will serve as Director of Mechanistic Research. Their combined leadership marks the beginning of new era in aging related research at Penn that will further enhance multidisciplinary collaborations and accelerate translational impact.

Established in 1979, the IOA is a model of collaborative science at Penn. Through its cross-cutting network of investigators, educational programs, and funding opportunities, it has catalyzed a robust scientific community focused on improving the health of older adults. A wide variety of work across the clinical to basic spectrum includes innovative research on neurodegenerative diseases, frailty, longevity, and geroscience, among other areas.

Read the IOA news announcement