Dr. Schellenberg received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside in 1978. He moved to the University of Washington in 1979 where he was a post-doctoral fellow in Genetics and Neurology at the University of Washington. In 1983 he was appointed Research Assistant Professor in Neurology where he rose to the rank of Research Professor in 1995. At this point, his primary appointment was in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine and he was also an adjunct Research Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology. In 1995, he also became Associate Director for Research, Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division. Dr. Schellenberg moved to the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 where he is presently a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
For the past 18 years, Dr. Schellenberg has worked on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease, starting with ground-breaking research on early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease followed by work on late-onset dementia which is where much of his current effort is focused. He is founder and head of the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium supported by the National Institute on Aging. He also worked on the genetics of aging and his group identified the gene for Werner’s Syndrome, a premature aging syndrome. He is also working on the molecular genetics on other neurodegenerative disorders related to Alzheimer’s disease with a focus on frontotemporal dementia, Guam amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/parkinsonism dementia complex and progressive supranuclear palsy. This work includes using a using both invertebrate and vertebrate model organisms to study tauopathies.
Dr. Schellenberg leads the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC), which is comprised of a group of investigators who are using genome-wide association analysis methods to identify Alzheimer’s disease. The Consortium works with the 29 National Institute on Aging funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to collect samples for analysis. The ADGC was formed in 2007 and fully funded in April, 2009.
Dr. Schellenberg is also working on unraveling the genetics of autism, a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. He participates in the Autism Genome Project consortium. His current efforts focus on deep sequencing of genes suspected of being involved in autism risk.
Dr. Schellenberg has received awards for his research including: the John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease, Investigator Award in 1986, the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer's Disease Research, Potamkin Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology in 1994, Metropolitan Life Foundation in Awards for Medical Research in 1995, the Alzheimer's Association Medical Honoree, for outstanding commitment to the research of Alzheimer's disease in 1996, and a Merit Award from the National Institute on Health in 2004.