JAXtaposition Speaker Series May 2019

View a write-up on Fast-Tracking Alzheimer's Disease Research event on May 15, 2019

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and currently no treatments are available that prevent or slow the disease.

The race is on to develop accurate tools to diagnose Alzheimer’s before symptoms occur, and find effective treatments to prevent the devastating destruction of the disease.

Join us for a fireside chat with JAX's Alzheimer's experts, Gareth Howell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, and LuAnn Ballesteros, Vice President of External and Government Affairs, to learn about how new research approaches and collaborations can change the future of Alzheimer's diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

These experts will share how JAX has launched a multi-track attack on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as how living well today can impact your health in the future.

When & Where

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:15 AM Program

Rigby Yard
50 Wharf St.
Portland, ME 04101


Gareth HowellGareth Howell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation Chair for Glaucoma Research

After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree with honors in Molecular Biology, Howell spent nine years at The Sanger Institute, UK where he was an integral member of the team that mapped and sequenced one third of the human genome and substantial parts of the mouse and zebrafish genomes. During this time Howell completed his Ph.D. in Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics. As a postdoc at The Jackson Laboratory, Howell was trained in mouse genetics and genomics. Subsequently, as a Research Scientists at JAX working closely with Dr. Simon John, he worked extensively on using mouse models to understanding the genetics of glaucoma, a genetically complex age-related neurodegenerative disease.

Now as an Associate Professor at JAX, Howell is investigating the role of vascular health and immune responses to identify novel therapeutic targets for dementia. He is also exploring the mechanisms by which diet and exercise modify risk for dementia. To aid in this work, Howell is part of an international consortium that is using human and mouse genetics to build the next generation of mouse models for Alzheimer's disease and improve translation to clinical trails. Howell is currently the Director of JAX's Center for Alzheimer's disease and Related Dementias, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation Chair for Glaucoma research.


Luann BallesterosLuAnn Ballesteros
Vice President, External and Government Affairs

Ballesteros is the vice president for External and Government Affairs.  She joined The Jackson Laboratory in 2005 as a senior development officer, responsible for planning, organizing and implementing individual and corporate philanthropy activities in Maine, Florida and California.  In 2011, she was promoted to director of government affairs, where she helped grow the government relations program.  Prior to JAX, Ballesteros held an executive position at Bangor Hydro-Electric Company. An active participant in the state’s business community and a graduate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Leadership Maine Xi Class, she is a member of the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce Board. In September 2018, Governor LePage, Senate President Thibodeau and House Speaker Sarah Gideon reappointed Ballesteros to a second three-year term on the Maine Economic Growth Council.  Ballesteros was recently appointed to the Maine Workforce Investment Board and is a member of the Machias Savings Bank Board.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from Husson College, graduating summa cum laude, and was elected to Lambda Epsilon Chi. Ballesteros holds an associate’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Maine, Farmington.