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Meet the local scientists who may cure Alzheimer's

(Jackson, Wyo.) - In late January, scientists from the Jackson-based Institute for EthnoMedicine released a study that identifies a possible cause as well as a possible prevention for neurodegenerative illnesses , or diseases the affect the human brain like Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and Parkinson’s disease. That's right, some of the most groundbreaking research on the causes and prevention of these diseases is being done in our small mountain town. Meet the local researchers and learn why this research is important to them: *Paul Alan Cox, Ph.D.* *[image: Inline image 1]* Dr. Cox is the executive director for the Institute for EthnoMedicine and focuses on Ethnobotany and Drug Discovery. "The research is important to me because we have a chance of helping patients with ALS and Alzhiemer's disease. Sometimes I am asked why we created a not for profit institute instead of a biotech firm in Jackson Hole. The answer is because we care about patients, not profits. Our sole purpose is to discover new therapies for these serious illnesses," said Dr. Cox. *Sandra Banack, **Ph.D.* *[image: Inline image 2]* Dr. Banack is the senior scientist with a focus in ethnobotany. "[The research is important] because we have the chance to change the world and to help people and I think universally that is what we are all about. Every decision that we make, we view in the mirror of -- is this going to help people? By being independent and by being a non-profit, we can actually get things into human hands faster that will make the humans healthier and live longer. Hopefully we can stop these diseases. I really think we can. We can stop people from ever getting sick and that's huge," said Banack. *James Metcalf, **Ph.D.* *[image: Inline image 3]* Dr. Metcalf is a the senior researcher and focuses on cyanotoxins. "I think it is important because firstly it links environment to human disease and secondly, we think we've got a way of stopping it. So it's hopefully two sides of the same coin effectively -- disease causing on one side and prevention on the other side," said Dr. Metcalf. *James Powell, M.S.* *[image: Inline image 4]* Powell is a research associate who focuses on molecular biology. "I am excited to be part of a team that I believe can march a cure for these diseases out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This team has completely changed the landscape in which pre-clinical research is done and I think it's refreshing to see a group that's not plagued by the stagnation and delays that the rest of the scientific world is unfortunately sometimes afflicted with. I appreciate the speed in which we work and I appreciate the willingness of the team to change directions for the right reasons at any given time," said Powell. Read more about the work of the Institute for EthnoMedicine in Buckrail's article "Local scientists discover possible cause and prevention for Alzheimer’s." *Feature Photo: (From Left to Right): James Metcalf, Sandra Banack, James Powell, and Paul Alan Cox. h/t Institute for EthnoMedicine / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news