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Thomas Beach, MD, PhD

Tom BeachDirector, Neuroscience
Director, Brain and Body Donation Program, Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Dr. Thomas Beach, MD, PhD, is Director of Neuroscience and Director of the Brain and Body Donation Program. Prior to moving to Banner Sun Health Research Institute in 1997, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at The University of British Columbia and Staff Neuropathologist at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center and British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Beach’s own research, and most of the research supported by the Brain and Body Donation Program, has been focused on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and related conditions. He has also supported the national cancer research effort in National Cancer Institute-funded studies. 

Dr. Beach’s Parkinson’s work has been continuously funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research since 2007, and has centered on developing new, more accurate diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s disease, particularly using biopsies of the colon, submandibular gland and skin. He is currently a Principal Investigator for a multi-center study of skin biopsy for the diagnosis of Lewy body dementias, awarded by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Beach has also made major contributions to the validation and FDA approval of diagnostic PET scans for Alzheimer’s disease. Recently he was funded by the National Institute on Aging to determine the effects of COVID-19 on the brain.

Dr. Beach is the Neuropathology Core Leader for Arizona’s National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center. He is also Co-Principal Investigator of the Arizona Parkinson’s Disease Consortium. In addition to his contributions as a scientist, researcher and professor, he has served as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Beach was trained in anatomic pathology and neuropathology at St. Louis University School of Medicine and at University of British Columbia.