Dr. Grill has been the recipient of the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Junior Investigator Award, the Alzheimer’s Association Turken Research Prize, the Community Spirit Award from OPICA Adult Day Services, and the P. Gene and Elaine Smith Term Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research. He has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Hartford Foundation, the BrightFocus Foundation, the American Federation for Aging Research, and the University of California. He is the co-leader of the Recruitment Unit and the Internal Ethics Committee for the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and for Lauren Rogen Miller and Seth Rogan's HfC. In 2017, he co-chaired a workgroup as part of the NIH’s Inclusion Across the Lifespan workshop, a congressional mandate in the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255). He was part of a working group sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association charged with creating a national strategy for recruitment to Alzheimer’s disease clinical research.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Recruitment and Retention
Community Spirit Award (professional)
OPICA Adult Day Services
Junior Investigator Award (professional)
National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center
Turken Research Prize (professional)
P. Gene and Elaine Smith Term Chair (professional)
Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Wake Forest University School of Medicine: PhD, Neuroscience 2004
Media Appearances (11)
New Alzheimer’s drugs bring hope. But not equally for all patients.
The Washington Post online
Brain scans showed that the African American volunteers were less likely to have excess amyloid than White patients and thus were excluded from the trial at higher rates. Experts are baffled by the findings. Why would amyloid levels — thought to be a key driver of Alzheimer’s — be different in people with similar cognitive problems? “Is it the color of someone’s skin? Almost certainly not,” said Joshua D. Grill, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of California, Irvine. “Is it a difference in genetics? Or other health conditions, like cholesterol, blood pressure or vascular health? Or is it something else, that we haven’t measured?”
Sound waves get Alzheimer’s drug past brain barrier, small study shows
The Washington Post online
Joshua Grill, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at University of California, Irvine, called the study “biologically very exciting,” adding that the research may help scientists understand why some Alzheimer’s drugs work better than others. … “We have the blood-brain barrier for really important reasons to protect our most important organ,” Grill said. He stressed that years of work will probably be needed before focused ultrasound treatment can become an approved option for patients: “We’re nowhere near that now.”
Meet Orange County’s 125 most influential people for 2023
The Orange County Register online
Grill is the director of UCI MIND. It’s the only state and federally funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Orange County and it’s working to unravel the mysteries of the brain-wasting disease.
Researchers testing out drug for Alzheimer's prevention
Scripps News online
The first drug fully approved by the FDA for Alzheimer’s has been on the market for 10 months. Now, researchers are looking at testing it to prevent Alzheimer's. … "That’s really what we are trying to do in the AHEAD study is test lecanemab in people who don’t have mild cognitive impairment, who don’t have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to see if we can delay the onset of those symptoms. We hope [to] make breakthroughs in discoveries that change our ability to help people in their lives, prevent them from getting memory problems," said Joshua Grill, professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine.
Alzheimer’s drug trials plagued by lack of racial diversity
Black and Hispanic people are up to twice as likely as white people to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but they have a much lower chance of being included in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s treatments. ... “The field really needs to understand why this keeps happening,” says Alzheimer’s researcher Joshua Grill [professor and associate professor of neurology & behavior] at the University of California, Irvine. It is unclear why people of colour would have lower amyloid or tau levels than their white counterparts with the same amount of cognitive impairment. Grill speculates that dementia in people of colour might often be caused by other conditions such as vascular disorders or inflammation.
Insight: Promising new Alzheimer's drugs may benefit whites more than Blacks
Dr. Joshua Grill, a University of California, Irvine, Alzheimer's researcher [and associate professor], who collaborated with Eisai and other researchers to analyze two trials for Leqembi and two for an earlier anti-amyloid drug, also found that Black, Hispanic and Asian people were more likely to be screened out of clinical trials because the amount of amyloid in their brain was below the trial's threshold. The researchers intend to submit the findings for publication.
Potential Benefit of Nicotinamide Observed in Proof-Of-Concept Trial of Alzheimer Disease
Neurology Live print
Previous research has shown that decline nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) concentration in the brain during aging contributes to metabolic and cellular dysfunction and is implicated in the pathogenesis of aging-associated neurological disorders. The proof-of-concept trial, led by Joshua D. Grill, PhD, [associate] professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, included individuals aged 50 years and older with mild cognitive impairment or dementia because of AD, and who had a Mini-Mental State Examination score greater than 20.
OC 50 2023 – 50 Shaping the Future of Healthcare in OC
Orange County Business Journal online
Joshua Grill, Director, UCI MIND. Heads UCI’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (MIND), Orange County’s only state and federally funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, funded through the National Institute on Aging …. Conducts research on cognitive impairments, performs clinical trials on promising treatments and provides training on brain aging and neurodegeneration. Served as a professor at UCI’s School of Medicine and School of Biological Sciences.
Dementia doubles in Orange County in less than a decade
The Orange County Register online
New number crunching from the Orange County Alzheimer’s estimates that the number of folks enduring this sort of heartbreak has essentially doubled since 2014 in the O.C. That’s a startling jump, from 84,000 to 164,000 people, which works out to about 5% of our total population. … “The new number is believable, especially if a difference from the previous estimate is the inclusion of mild cognitive impairment as a category,” said Dr. Joshua D. Grill, [associate professor of neurobiology & behavior and] noted Alzheimer’s researcher at UC Irvine. “Orange County is ‘grayer’ than the rest of the country, so we do expect relatively more people living with cognitive impairment here.” UCI epidemiologist, [associate professor of public health] and demographer Andrew Noymer concurs. An aging population and increased ascertainment — meaning that the comparisons are not really like-for-like, he said.
Watch out, Alzheimer’s! Big new grant at UCI, new drug trial at Hoag coming for you
The Orange County Register online
“It’s an incredibly exciting time, and there’s a lot of promise,” said Joshua Grill, director of UCI’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.
Doctors and researchers encourage people to be mindful of their brain health
Doctor Josh Grill, a University of California Irvine professor, shares tips to improve and become mindful of your brain health.
Study partner types and prediction of cognitive performance: implications to preclinical Alzheimer’s trialsAlzheimer's Research & Therapy
Michelle M. Nuño, Daniel L. Gillen, Joshua D. Grill & for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study
2019 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical trials require enrollment of a participant and a study partner, whose role includes assessing participant cognitive and functional performance. AD trials now investigate early stages of the disease, when participants are not cognitively impaired. This gives rise to the question of whether study partners or participants provide more information in these trials.
Participant and study partner prediction and identification of cognitive impairment in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease: study partner vs. participant accuracyAlzheimer's Research & Therapy volume
Mary M. Ryan, Joshua D. Grill, Daniel L. Gillen & for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
2019 Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical trials require participants to enroll with a study partner, a person who can attend visits and report changes in the participant’s cognitive ability. Whether study partners, compared to participants themselves, provide added information about participant cognition in preclinical AD trials is an open question. We tested the hypothesis that study partners provide meaningful information related to participant cognition cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and assessed whether amyloid status modified observed effects.
Response to “Avoiding Methodological Bias in Studies of Amyloid Imaging Results Disclosure”Alzheimer's Research & Therapy
Joshua D. Grill, Chelsea G. Cox, Kristin Harkins & Jason Karlawish
2019 The goal of “Reactions to learning a ‘not elevated’ amyloid PET result in a preclinical Alzheimer’s disease trial” was to study how learning one is not eligible for a trial based on an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarker result affects willingness to be in subsequent trials, as well as how it affects other behaviors . Answering this question fills a critical gap in the literature, as preclinical AD trials are increasingly common but the ideal criteria for participant inclusion remains an area of active research. Thus, a person ineligible for one trial may be eligible for another.
Retention of Alzheimer Disease Research ParticipantsAlzheimer Disease & Associated Disorder
Joshua D Grill, Jimmy Kwon, Merilee A Teylan, Aimee Pierce, Eric D Vidoni, Jeffrey M Burns, Allison Lindauer, Joseph Quinn, Jeff Kaye, Daniel L Gillen, Bin Nan
2019 Participant retention is important to maintaining statistical power, minimizing bias, and preventing scientific error in Alzheimer disease and related dementias research.
Which MCI Patients Should be Included in Prodromal Alzheimer Disease Clinical Trials?Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders
Joshua D Grill, Michelle M Nuño, Daniel L Gillen
2019 Prodromal Alzheimer disease (AD) clinical trials enroll patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) meeting biomarker criteria, but specific enrollment criteria vary among trials.