Penny Dacks, PhD is the Assistant Director for Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the ADDF. Dr. Dacks is responsible for all aspects of this program, started in 2012 with the mission to evaluate, communicate, and accelerate the development of scientific evidence for proposed strategies to promote health aging and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, and cognitive aging. As part of this mission, Cognitive Vitality (www.CognitiveVitality.org) was launched in early 2014 to provide an open resource to the public on the state-of-the-science behind any and all suggested preventative therapies. The program has internal evaluations on over 120 potential preventative therapies and works to accelerate the development of prevention therapies with strategic grant funding, conferences, advisory panels, and peer-reviewed scientific papers. Active areas of interest include epidemiological evidence on potential preventative treatments, validation of preventative treatments with short-term biomarker-based randomized trials, computational modeling and big-data approaches to predict therapeutic efficacy, crowd-sourcing of data and data analytics, and the application of aging biology to therapeutic development.
Dr. Dacks trained in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Arizona, and Queen’s University (Canada) with individual fellowships from the National Institute of Health, the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the ARCS Foundation, and the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation. She has authored over 18 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Gerontological Society of America, the Endocrine Society, and the Association for Women in Science.