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<p>Cristian Lasagna-Reeves, PhD received the prestigious&nbsp;2024 Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientist. Lasagna-Reeves was presented the award at the Alzheimer&rsquo;s Association&rsquo;s Tau2024 Global Conference on March 25, 2024 in Washington, D.C.</p>

Alzheimer's disease researcher awarded Rainwater Charitable Foundation early-career scientist prize

Cristian Lasagna-Reeves

Cristian Lasagna-Reeves, PhD, receives the 2024 Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientist at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Tau2024 Global Conference on March 25, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Cristian Lasagna-Reeves, PhD, associate professor of anatomy, cell biology and physiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, received the prestigious 2024 Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientist.

Lasagna-Reeves was presented the award at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Tau2024 Global Conference March 25, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to receive this award; it is one of the most important achievements of my career,” Lasagna-Reeves said. “This recognition of the years of hard work has been a great motivator for both myself and the people in my lab.”

The Rainwater Charitable Foundation chose Lasagna-Reeves, also a primary investigator and director of neurodegenerative disorders research at the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, for this distinction because of his exceptional contributions to neurodegenerative disease research, particularly his innovative work in understanding the role of the tau protein in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The prize includes an award of $200,000.

Born in Chile, Lasagna-Reeves earned his PhD at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and conducted his postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He opened his lab at IU School of Medicine in 2017.

Cristian Lasagna-Reeves presenting at a conferenceLasagna-Reeves also received the Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer’s Research at the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. A journal article on Bassoon — a protein that serves as scaffolding for tau-seed propagation — published in Nature Neuroscience in 2022 was named the “most impactful study published in Alzheimer’s research over the preceding two years.”

This research discovered how the Bassoon protein may contribute to the aggregation and spreading of pathological forms of tau and that downregulation of Bassoon could offer new avenues for therapeutic intervention for tauopathies.

Beyond his scientific achievements, Lasagna-Reeves is committed to providing mentorship to the next generation of researchers. He has received accolades for his teaching and is recognized by colleagues for his biomedical expertise and integrity, enthusiasm and character.

Established by Rainwater Charitable Foundation in 2018 and now in its fifth year, the Rainwater Prize Program aims to honor scientific advancements in primary tauopathies and motivate scientists in the field of neurodegenerative disease research.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Ben Middelkamp

Ben Middelkamp is a communications manager for the Department of Neurology, Department of Neurological Surgery and Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine. Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications in December 2019, Ben spent nearly six years as a newspaper reporter in two Indiana cities. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Convergent Journalism from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2014. Ben enjoys translating his background in journalism to the communications and marketing needs of the school and its physicians and researchers.