Penny Dacks, PhD is the Assistant Director for Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention at the ADDF. Many people seek ways to prevent dementia. No strategies have been proven to be effective but some are supported by some credible scientific evidence. Dr. Dacks is responsible for developing and implementing a program to critically evaluate and effectively communicate scientific evidence on proposed strategies to prevent cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementias. In addition, she works to improve the available research for prevention by developing funding priorities and organizing meetings to foster communication and consensus on important issues.
Dr. Dacks trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Neuroscience with Charles Mobbs at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, earned her PhD in Neuroscience with Naomi Rance at the University of Arizona, and trained at the Molecular Biology of Aging course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Her research in academia examined models of menopause, metabolic syndrome, and anorexia nervosa to understand how the brain regulates energy balance in response to peripheral signals in the blood including estrogens, sugars, and fatty acids. Dr. Dacks has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and reviews and her academic research was funded by postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships from sources including a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Aging, the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona, and other foundations. Dr. Dacks is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Gerontological Society of America, the Endocrine Society, and the Association for Women in Science. She earned her BSc Honours degree in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.