Markku Kurkinen, PhD

Markku Kurkinen, PhD
Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics and of Pathology
Scott Hall, Rm 3204
540 E. Canfield Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201


University of Helsinki, PhD, 1979

Research Focus

Extracellular matrix; metalloproteinases; gene regulation; development

Recent Publications

Abdallah BY, Horne SD, Kurkinen M, Stevens JB, Liu G, Ye CJ, Barbat J, Bremer SW, Heng HH. Ovarian cancer evolution through stochastic genome alterations: defining the genomic role in ovarian cancer. Syst Biol Reprod Med. 2014 Feb;60(1):2-13. doi: 10.3109/19396368.2013.837989. Epub 2013 Oct 22. PubMed PMID: 24147962.

Stevens JB, Abdallah BY, Liu G, Horne SD, Bremer SW, Ye KJ, Huang JY, Kurkinen M, Ye CJ, Heng HH. Heterogeneity of cell death. Cytogenet Genome Res. 2013;139(3):164-73. doi: 10.1159/000348679. Epub 2013 Apr 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 23548436.

Liedert R, Amundsen LK, Hokkanen A, Mäki M, Aittakorpi A, Pakanen M, Scherer JR, Mathies RA, Kurkinen M, Uusitalo S, Hakalahti L, Nevanen TK, Siitari H, Söderlund H. Disposable roll-to-roll hot embossed electrophoresis chip for detection of antibiotic resistance gene mecA in bacteria. Lab Chip. 2012 Jan 21;12(2):333-9. doi: 10.1039/c1lc20782b. Epub 2011 Nov 29. PubMed PMID: 22127494.

Putaala J, Haapaniemi E, Kurkinen M, Salonen O, Kaste M, Tatlisumak T. Silent brain infarcts, leukoaraiosis, and long-term prognosis in young ischemic strokepatients. Neurology. 2011 May 17;76(20):1742-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31821a44ad. PubMed PMID: 21576692.

Putaala J, Kurkinen M, Tarvos V, Salonen O, Kaste M, Tatlisumak T. Silent brain infarcts and leukoaraiosis in young adults with first-ever ischemic stroke. Neurology. 2009 May 26;72(21):1823-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a711df. PubMed PMID: 19470964.

Ye CJ, Stevens JB, Liu G, Bremer SW, Jaiswal AS, Ye KJ, Lin MF, Lawrenson L, Lancaster WD, Kurkinen M, Liao JD, Gairola CG, Shekhar MP, Narayan S, Miller FR, Heng HH. Genome based cell population heterogeneity promotes tumorigenicity: the evolutionary mechanism of cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2009 May;219(2):288-300. doi: 10.1002/jcp.21663. PubMed PMID: 19115235; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2778062.


Alzheimer dementia is diagnosed by slowly progressing and irreversible mind and memory problems, remarkable personality and behavioral changes, and loss of self. Family history of dementia, advanced or old age, are the only significant risk factors of Alzheimer. These are the risks we cannot do anything about. Other risks include stroke, neuropsychiatric conditions, and the APOE4 gene. 1% of Alzheimer is inherited and caused by dominant APP, PS1 or PS2 gene mutations [1-3].

The amyloid hypothesis says Alzheimer dementia begins in the brain with Aβ peptides accumulation and amyloid formation, synaptic loss and associated immune inflammatory response [4,5]. The amyloid hypothesis has dominated Alzheimer research and clinical trials for 25 years. However, every Alzheimer trial has failed [6-10], so the hypothesis must be wrong. This gives Alzheimer research a bad name.

In the US 2014, Alzheimer research was funded with $600 million, while $1 billion a day was spent looking after 5.5 million people living with Alzheimer, at homes and nursing homes. In the US 2010-2050, Alzheimer care will cost $20 trillion [11].  We do not have that kind of money.


[1] Tanzi RE, Bertram L (2005) Twenty years of the Alzheimer's disease amyloid hypothesis: A genetic perspective. Cell 120, 545-555.

[2] Brouwers N, Sleegers K, van Broeckhoven C (2008) Molecular genetics of Alzheimer’s disease: An update. Ann Med 40, 562-583.

[3] Karch CM, Goate AM (2015) Alzheimer's disease risk genes and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. Biol Psychiatry 77, 43-51.

[4] Hardy J, Selkoe DJ (2002) The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease: progress and problems on the road to therapeutics. Science 297, 353-356.

[5] Reitz C (2012) Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid cascade hypothesis: A critical review. Int J Alzheimer’s Dis article ID 369808

[6] Tayeb HO, Murray ED, Price BH, Tarazi FI (2013) Bapineuzumab and solanezumab for Alzheimer's disease: is the 'amyloid cascade hypothesis' still alive? Expert Opin Biol Ther 13, 1075-1084.

[7] De Strooper B (2014) Lessons from a failed γ-secretase Alzheimer trial. Cell 159, 721-726.

[8] Ousset PJ, Cummings J, Delrieu J, Legrand V, Prins N, Winblad B, Touchon  J, Weiner MW, Vellas B (2014) Is Alzheimer’s disease drug development broken? What must be improved? J Prev Alz Dis 1, 40–45.

[9] Watt AD, Crespi GA, Down RA, Ascher DB, Gunn A, Perez KA, McLean CA, Villemagne VL, Parker MW, Barnham KJ, Miles LA (2014) Do current therapeutic anti-Aβ antibodies for Alzheimer's disease engage the target? Acta Neuropathol 127, 803-810.

[10] Barnett JC, Bahar-Fuchs A, Cherbuin N, Herath P, Anstey KJ (2015) Interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in adults without cognitive imparment: A systematic review. J Prev Alz Dis 2, 38-45.

[11] Alzheimer’s Association. 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.