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Stuart Maudsley has been recognized as a visionary pioneer in science (both physical and biomedical) from childhood where his work was publicized on the national television program ‘The Power Game’ – a U.K. wide engineering Olympiad. Stuart has been subsequently awarded and recognized throughout his career as both an intellectual innovator and as an excellent scientist. Stuart’s primary contribution to science is in the field of receptor systems biology and pharmacotherapeutics design – within this field Stuart is one of the world’s leading young Investigators. Stuart graduated from the University of Leeds with First Class Honors in Pharmacology and was awarded the Pfizer Prize for undergraduate research. For his doctoral work Stuart was one of only 6 recipients (from a University population of 40,000) of the Universities venerated ‘Named Scholarships’, i.e. the Ackroyd, Brotherton and Brown Scholarship. After gaining his Ph.D. in Receptor Pharmacology, he was then awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship Award to train with Professor Robert Lefkowitz (2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry) at Duke University. Following this fellowship Stuart was instantly recruited to be Principal Investigator of the Receptor Biology Section at the Medical Research Council (MRC) -Human Reproductive Sciences Unit at the University of Edinburgh. During his time at the MRC his drug discovery and development abilities was implicit in his recruitment as a scientific advisor to Ardana Bioscience Inc. where he subsequently developed a novel prostate cancer therapeutic. To broaden his already considerable biomedical experience Stuart then accepted the position of Head of the Receptor Pharmacology Unit at the National Institutes of Health (NIH-National Institute on Aging) at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.
Age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, will represent one of the largest future burdens on worldwide healthcare systems due to the increasing proportion of elderly in our society. As deficiencies in neurotrophins are implicated in the pathogenesis of many age-related neurodegenerative disorders, it is reasonable to consider that global neurotrophin resistance may also become a major healthcare threat. Central nervous system networks are effectively maintained through aging by neuroprotective and neuroplasticity signaling mechanisms which are predominantly controlled by neurotrophin receptor signaling. Neurotrophin receptors are single pass receptor tyrosine kinases that form dimeric structures upon ligand binding to initiate cellular signaling events that control many protective and plasticityrelated pathways. Declining functionality of the neurotrophin ligand–receptor system is considered one of the hallmarks of neuropathological aging. Therefore, it is imperative to develop effective therapeutic strategies to contend with this significant issue. The development of nonpeptidergic, small-molecule ligands can overcome these limitations, and productively regulate this important receptor system with beneficial effects. We have found that in multiple models of Alzheimer’s disease the previously employed anti-depressant Elavil can exert potent pro-neurotrophic activity through a series of complementary mechanisms. This small molecular agent possesses the capacity to significantly enhance cognitive performance in mouse models possessing considerable levels of dementia and amyloid pathology. In this respect agents such as Elavil may represent an important addition to a new wave of therapeutic strategies against dementia.