Thursday, January 20, 2022

Research, educate, advocate: Nelson fights back against Alzheimer’s disease

Amy R. Nelson, Ph.D., has devoted more than a decade to researching Alzheimer’s disease, educating people of all ages about the brain, and advocating to improve the quality of life and care for people living with the disease and their families. 

Nelson, assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine, recently accepted an invitation to serve as an Alzheimer’s Ambassador for U.S. Representative Jerry Carl. As part of her ambassadorship through the Alzheimer’s Association, she will meet with the Alabama congressman roughly four times a year to discuss important Alzheimer’s disease-related policies.

Amy R. Nelson, Ph.D., with Sen. Richard Shelby at
the 2011 Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with the congressman’s office regularly, and I am hopeful that he will support legislation to help the 96,000 Alabamians and 6.2 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Nelson, who lost her father and several other family members to the disease.

After earning her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Nelson completed postdoctoral studies in neuroscience at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. While living in L.A., she made many connections that led to unique opportunities to advance her Alzheimer’s work. 

One such opportunity is volunteering with HfC, a nonprofit started by actor-filmmakers Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen to raise funds for Alzheimer’s caregiving, research and education. Nelson recently was invited to serve on the content advisory board for their new educational platform, known as HfCUniverse.

Amy R. Nelson, Ph.D., with Seth Rogen at HfC's 
major fundraising event, Seth Rogen's Prom Night.
"This is such an amazing opportunity that I am truly excited about, as it allows me to share my love of educating high school and college students through an international platform,” said Nelson, who has volunteered with the organization since 2014. “Through this new role, I will be able to provide service to our community at large to inform young individuals about ways to promote a healthy brain."

In addition to her advocacy work, Nelson’s lab recently received a research donation from AlzOut, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, to help measure biomarkers, such as changes in the blood, related to Alzheimer’s disease. 

To learn more or get involved, visit the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement at