Karen Ashe, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Neurology

Karen Ashe

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Administrative Assistant Name
Vandana Murthy

Administrative Phone

Administrative Email

Professor, Department of Neurology

Founding Director,, N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care

Edmund Wallace and Anne Marie Tulloch Chairs in Neurology and Neuroscience

Preceptor, Medical Scientist Training Program (Combined MD/PhD Training Program)

Graduate Program in Neuroscience

MD, Harvard Medical School, 1982

Residency in Neurology, University of California

PhD, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BA, Harvard University


Karen Hsiao Ashe, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurology, is a pioneer in Alzheimer’s disease research. Ashe has studied the disease for more than 26 years and in her 20 years at the University of Minnesota she has trained more than 40 undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral scientists. Ashe has made a commitment in training the next generation of great scientists, in particular developing the careers of translational scientists. Her primary research areas include the genetics of human prion diseases; transgenic models of prion and Alzheimer’s diseases; and the molecular basis of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Ashe’s current research interest involves the discovery of tau mutations that cause neurodegeneration. Ashe created tau transgenic mice to study tau-based mechanisms of memory loss and neurodegeneration. In 2006, Ashe became the founding Director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care, a tripartite endeavor encompassing basic, translational and clinical research and care in memory disorders.



Gamache, J, Benzow, K, Forster, C, Kemper, L, Hlynialuk, C, Furrow, E, Ashe, KH & Koob, MD 2019, 'Factors other than hTau overexpression that contribute to tauopathy-like phenotype in rTg4510 mice', Nature communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 2479. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10428-1

Lo, CH, Lim, CKW, Ding, Z, Wickramasinghe, SP, Braun, AR, Ashe, KH, Rhoades, E, Thomas, DD & Sachs, JN 2019, 'Targeting the ensemble of heterogeneous tau oligomers in cells: A novel small molecule screening platform for tauopathies', Alzheimer's and Dementia, vol. 15, no. 11, pp. 1489-1502. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2019.06.4954

Smith, BR, Nelson, KM, Kemper, LJ, Leinonen-Wright, K, Petersen, A, Keene, CD & Ashe, KH 2019, 'A soluble tau fragment generated by caspase-2 is associated with dementia in Lewy body disease', Acta Neuropathologica Communications, vol. 7, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0765-8

Liu, P, Smith, BR, Huang, ES, Mahesh, A, Vonsattel, JPG, Petersen, AJ, Gomez-Pastor, R & Ashe, KH 2019, 'A soluble truncated tau species related to cognitive dysfunction and caspase-2 is elevated in the brain of Huntington's disease patients', Acta Neuropathologica Communications, vol. 7, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0764-9

Grant, MKO, Shapiro, SL, Ashe, KH, Liu, P & Zahs, KR 2019, 'A Cautionary Tale: Endogenous Biotinylated Proteins and Exogenously-Introduced Protein A Cause Antibody-Independent Artefacts in Western Blot Studies of Brain-Derived Proteins', Biological Procedures Online, vol. 21, no. 1, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12575-019-0095-z

Grant, MKO, Handoko, M, Rozga, M, Brinkmalm, G, Portelius, E, Blennow, K, Ashe, KH, Zahs, KR & Liu, P 2019, 'Human cerebrospinal fluid 6E10- immunoreactive protein species contain amyloid precursor protein fragments' PloS one, vol. 14, no. 2, e0212815. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212815

Liu, P, Reichl, JH, Rao, ER, McNellis, BM, Huang, ES, Hemmy, LS, Forster, CL, Kuskowski, MA, Borchelt, DR, Vassar, R, Ashe, KH & Zahs, KR 2017, 'Quantitative Comparison of Dense-Core Amyloid Plaque Accumulation in Amyloid-? Protein Precursor Transgenic Mice' Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 743-761. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-161027

Zhao, X, Kotilinek, LA, Smith, B, Hlynialuk, C, Zahs, KR, Ramsden, M, Cleary, J & Ashe, KH 2016, 'Caspase-2 cleavage of tau reversibly impairs memory' Nature Medicine, vol. 22, no. 11, pp. 1268-1276. https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.4199

Liu, P, Reed, MN, Kotilinek, LA, Grant, MKO, Forster, CL, Qiang, W, Shapiro, SL, Reichl, JH, Chiang, ACA, Jankowsky, JL, Wilmot, CM, Cleary, JP, Zahs, KR & Ashe, KH 2015, 'Quaternary Structure Defines a Large Class of Amyloid-? Oligomers Neutralized by Sequestration' Cell Reports, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 1760-1771. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2015.05.021

Weitzner, DS, Engler-Chiurazzi, EB, Kotilinek, LA, Ashe, KH & Reed, MN 2015, 'Morris water maze test: Optimization for mouse strain and testing environment' Journal of Visualized Experiments, vol. 2015, no. 100, e52706. https://doi.org/10.3791/52706