NEWS | November 2, 2012

DeCarli named to first Victor and Genevieve Orsi Endowed Chair in Alzheimer's Disease Research


Charles DeCarli, director of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center and an internationally renowned expert on behavioral neurology, degenerative dementias and neuroimaging, is the first Victor and Genevieve Orsi Endowed Chair in Alzheimer's Research at UC Davis Health System.

Charles DeCarli © UC Regents Charles DeCarli © UC Regents

A professor of neurology, DeCarli's leadership and insights have significantly advanced hope for people around the globe with Alzheimer's disease. His groundbreaking neuroimaging investigations are at the forefront of advancing understanding about the relationship between the structure and function of the healthy aging brain and changes in the brain associated with vascular and Alzheimer's dementias.

Support from the more than $1.63 million endowed chair award will be used for a sustained fellowship in behavioral neurology at the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center beginning in September 2013.

"I am extremely honored to receive this endowment, and I'm putting it toward the education of neurology residents interested in dementia, so that we can train the next generation of Alzheimer's and brain aging researchers," DeCarli said.

DeCarli's research focuses on using advanced structural and functional brain imaging to study normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia and the role of genetics, cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease on these processes. His investigations have led to advances in prevention and treatment strategies at the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center and at institutions worldwide focused on imaging and Alzheimer's, including the UC Davis Imaging of Dementia and Aging (IDeA) Laboratory, which he also directs.

Check donation © UC Regents
From left to right: David Kelly, estate planning attorney, the Burton Law Firm, Therese Adams of Adams & Associates, a private fiduciary firm, and Roger Smith of investment advisory firm Planned Solutions, presented the endowment check to Chong Porter, UC Davis vice chancellor of Health Sciences Development and Alumni Relations, during an event on Nov. 1.

In recognition of his work, DeCarli received in 2010 the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine, which honors leading researchers in biology, medicine and imaging. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, an international research journal, and shares his expertise with national news media and documentarians.

The endowed chair is made possible by a generous estate gift from the late Victor and Genevieve Orsi to the UC Davis Foundation. Victor Orsi suffered from Alzheimer's disease as he aged, and the effects of the condition frustrated him a great deal. Because of this, he and Mrs. Orsi decided to do something about this awful disease. So, prior to Victor Orsi's death in 2006, the Orsis worked with their estate attorney to include provisions in their trust designating this charitable gift for the UC Davis Foundation to support research towards a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Genevieve Orsi passed away in December 2010. 

The UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of only 27 research centers designated by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging. The center's goal is to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients while focusing on the long-term goal of finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. Also funded by the state of California, the center allows researchers to study the effects of the disease on a uniquely diverse population. For more information, visit