Dr. Danielle Beckman comes to the CNPRC by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to develop a monkey model that can be used to one day find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease

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(U.C. Davis) – Not everyone would trade the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro for a laboratory inside the California National Research Center (CNPRC), but if the battle against Alzheimer’s Disease is to be won, flip flops must give way to lab coats.

For Dr. Danielle Beckman, it meant packing up her belongings, leaving her family in Brazil, and bringing her expertise in rodent-based Alzheimer’s models to the CNPRC, where she hopes to develop the world’s first nonhuman primate model for Alzheimer’s Disease as a member of CNPRC Director Dr. John Morrison’s lab.

“I think changing from a rodent model to a primate model is a big step and I am very excited to be here,” Dr. Beckman said. “We are trying to develop this very important thing, this Alzheimer’s Disease model.”

To get to the CNPRC, Dr. Beckman had some help.

In 2016, Dr. Beckman became the first recipient of the Young Researcher Award, a prize given by the Brazilian Society of Cell Biology and GE Healthcare. The award is bestowed to the best and brightest researchers from Brazil and Latin America with a dual purpose of recognizing work that that they have published in indexed international scientific journals and encourage graduate programs and research in the field of cell biology in Brazil and Latin America.

She used the money received from the award to travel to the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting held in San Diego in 2016, where she would come to know Dr. Morrison – a meeting that would eventually pave her way to the CNPRC at UC Davis to study Alzheimer’s Disease.

Click on the video above to hear more of Dr. Beckman’s story.

Click here for a Portuguese version of the video.