Christopher H. van Dyck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Christopher H. van Dyck (born 25 August 1955 in Wichita, Kansas, is the Founder and Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit (ADRU) at Yale University School of Medicine, where he is Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neuroscience. His research uses brain imaging to learn about the progression of pathology in Alzheimer's disease, and to test potential new treatments for this disease.


Christopher Hans van Dyck was born to Barbara Kroll Dyck and Walter Dyck, and has two brothers, Peter and Tim van Dyck. He grew up in Johnston and Underhill, Vermont, and attended Burlington High School. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1978 and his M.D. from Northwestern School of Medicine in 1984 and then returned to Yale for a residency in Psychiatry. He is married to neuroscientist, Amy Arnsten, and has two children, James and Laura.

Alzheimer’s disease research[edit]

van Dyck created the Yale Alzheimer’s Research Unit in 1992, performing research on Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive disorders. He has helped to pioneer the use of SPECT and PET imaging to learn about brain alterations related to cognitive and behavioral changes in Alzheimer’s Disease and the aging brain, and to test potential treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Using SPECT imaging of the Dopamine transporter, van Dyck’s work has shown that there is loss of dopamine from the aging striatum,[1] and that this is related to a slowing of reaction time,[2] a measure of mental chronometry.

van Dyck uses PET imaging to track Alzheimer’s-related pathology, to learn how pathology relates to ApoEApoE genotype, and whether it is diminished by potential treatments. Dr. van Dyck has collaborated with Dr. Richard Carson at the Yale PET Center to test the new PET ligand 11C-UCB-J, which binds to SV2A to provide an assay of presynaptic axon terminals in the human brain. Studies of this ligand in early Alzheimer’s Disease patients have shown a loss of synapses from the perforant path, the connections between the entorhinal cortex and hippocampal formation needed for memory consolidation.[3]

van Dyck and the Yale ADRU have tested potential Alzheimer’s therapeutics for over 20 years. They have contributed to the successful development of memantine now in use for the treatment of mid-late stage Alzheimer’s Disease,[4] and assess potential new therapeutic strategies, e.g. antibodies that reduce amyloid pathology such as Crenezumab,[5] and based on the work of Dr. Stephen Strittmatter, an inhibitor of fyn.[6]

Dr. van Dyck serves on the Steering Committees of the National Institute on Aging Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). He serves as co-Director of the Yale Alzheimer's Disease Research Center with Dr. Strittmatter, and is Director of the Division of Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale. Dr. van Dyck is the Chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. He received the "Compassion and Cure" Award from the Alzheimer's Association in 2005.


Chris was an avid Correspondence Chess player. In 1992, Chris won the International Correspondence Chess Federation title International Correspondence Chess Master, winning the 1979 Absolute.[7] His games from this tournament have been published, including in Alex Dunne’s Modern Postal Masterpieces.[8]


  1. ^ van Dyck, C; et al. (1995). "Age-related decline in striatal dopamine transporter binding with iodine-123-beta-CIT SPECT". J. Nucl. Med. 36 (7): 1175–81. PMID 7790941.
  2. ^ van Dyck, C; et al. (2008). "Striatal dopamine transporters correlate with simple reaction time in elderly subjects". Neurobiol Aging. 29 (8): 1237–46. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.02.012. PMC 3523216. PMID 17363113.
  3. ^ Chen, MK; et al. (2018). "Assessing Synaptic Density in Alzheimer Disease With Synaptic Vesicle Glycoprotein 2A Positron Emission Tomographic Imaging". JAMA Neurology. July 16 epub ahead of print.
  4. ^ van Dyck, C; et al. (2007). "A 24-week randomized, controlled trial of memantine in patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer disease". Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 21 (2): 136–43. doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e318065c495. PMID 17545739.
  5. ^ Cummings, J; et al. (2018). "A phase 2 randomized trial of crenezumab in mild to moderate Alzheimer disease- The ABBY study". Neurology. 90 (21): e1889–97.
  6. ^ Nygaard, HB; et al. (2015). "A phase Ib multiple ascending dose study of the safety, tolerability, and central nervous system availability of AZD0530 (saracatinib) in Alzheimer's disease". Alzheimers Res Ther. 7 (1): 35. doi:10.1186/s13195-015-0119-0. PMC 4396171. PMID 25874001.
  7. ^ Alex Dunne (2012). The Absolute Correspondence Championship of the United States Chess Federation, 1976-2010. McFarland. pp. 348pp.
  8. ^ Alex Dunne (1994). Modern Postal Masterpieces. Thinkers' Press. pp. 141pp.