Lynn  Bekris,  PhD

Lynn Bekris, PhD

Associate Staff

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
Phone: (216) 444-0111


Alzheimer's disease is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disorder that impacts millions of people worldwide. It is is now regarded as a continuum of pathological changes that are defined by pathological Aβ and Tau accumulation in the brain with a long pre-symptomatic period of 10 to 20 years.

  • A decades long continuum of progressive pathological changes offers the unique opportunity to treat the neurodegenerative disease early before cognitive decline.
  • The problem is that genetic evidence strongly suggests there can be other heterogeneous pathological features, such as inflammation, but a reliable blood-based biomarker of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease remains elusive.
  • A patient may also have a heterogenous mixture of pathologies that include hallmarks of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and vascular dementia, but reliable blood-based biomarkers specific to these pathologies remain elusive.
  • The Bekris lab research goal is to identify specific biomarker signatures that tease apart the heterogeneous nature of early pre-symptomatic disease for tracking disease progression, therpeutically targeting the disease and monitoring treatment effectiveness.
  • Dr. Bekris is the director of the Cleveland Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (CADRC) Biomarker Core and the co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease Biobank (LRCBH-biobank). She is also a co-investigator of the Dementia with Lewy Body Consortium (DLBC).

Lay Summary

Bekris lab is focused on Alzheimer's Disease Biomarker Discovery and uses clinical and experimental approaches to demonstrate the feasibility of genetic and epigenetic factors underlying soluble protein expression as either potential early stage drug targets or early biomarkers of disease risk, progression and therapeutic outcomes.

  1. TREM2 alters the phagocytic, apoptotic and inflammatory response to Aβ42 in HMC3 cells. Akhter R, Shao Y, Formica S, Khrestian M, Bekris LM.Mol Immunol. 2021
  2. TNFRSF1B Gene Variants and Related Soluble TNFR2 Levels Impact Resilience in Alzheimer's Disease.
    Pillai JA, Bebek G, Khrestian M, Bena J, Bergmann CC, Bush WS, Leverenz JB, Bekris LM.Front Aging Neurosci. 2021.
  3. An Altered Relationship between Soluble TREM2 and Inflammatory Markers in Young Adults with Down Syndrome: A Preliminary Report. Weber GE, Koenig KA, Khrestian M, Shao Y, Tuason ED, Gramm M, Lal D, Leverenz JB, Bekris LM. J Immunol. 2020.
  4. Key inflammatory pathway activations in the MCI stage of Alzheimer's disease. Pillai JA, Maxwell S, Bena J, Bekris LM, Rao SM, Chance M, Lamb BT, Leverenz JB; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2019.
  5. Soluble TREM2 and biomarkers of central and peripheral inflammation in neurodegenerative disease. Bekris LM, Khrestian M, Dyne E, Shao Y, Pillai JA, Rao SM, Bemiller SM, Lamb B, Fernandez HH, Leverenz JB. J Neuroimmunol. 2018. 
  6. DNA methylation of TOMM40-APOE-APOC2 in Alzheimer's disease. Shao Y, Shaw M, Todd K, Khrestian M, D'Aleo G, Barnard PJ, Zahratka J, Pillai J, Yu CE, Keene CD, Leverenz JB, Bekris LMJ Hum Genet. 2018.
  7. Epigenetic signature and enhancer activity of the human APOE gene. Yu CE, Cudaback E, Foraker J, Thomson Z, Leong L, Lutz F, Gill JA, Saxton A, Kraemer B, Navas P, Keene CD, Montine T, Bekris LM. Hum Mol Genet. 2013

08/27/2021 |  

National Institute on Aging Awards $15.4 Million to Continue Support for Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

The National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a grant expected to total $15.4 million to continue funding the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The new five-year award will support the multi-institution collaboration, which aims to accelerate research for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

04/27/2021 |  

Study Links Gene Variant with Alzheimer’s Disease Resilience

Cognitive resilience in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may be influenced by interactions between variants of the gene TNFRSF1B and the soluble form of the protein TNFR2 (sTNFR2), according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

03/30/2021 |  

Aging Mind Foundation Grant to Investigate Inflammation Biomarker in Alzheimer’s Disease

Lynn Bekris, PhD, Genomic Medicine Institute, has been awarded a three-year, nearly $300,000 grant from the Aging Mind Foundation to study inflammatory factors involved in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in order to better understand the underlying cause of AD and inform novel therapeutic strategies. She is the first Cleveland Clinic researcher to receive a grant from the Aging Mind Foundation.

08/30/2021 |  

Developing Artificial Intelligence Tools for Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery

A multidisciplinary research team at Cleveland Clinic has been awarded a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can identify novel drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).