Wendy Wei Qiao Qiu, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics

Wendy Qiu is a Professor in the Psychiatry Department, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Department, Alzheimer’s disease Center (ADC) at Boston University School of Medicine. She is also a faculty member in the Neuroscience Program at Boston University.

Dr. Qiu is both a physician and a scientist. She is a Board Certified Psychiatrist who was trained at Tufts Medical Center and at the Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Medical Center. She currently spends 50% of her time caring for patients with dementia and other psychiatric illnesses, including late life depression, and seeing patients in the ADC for the clinical trials. Many of her patients seek care at BU because they are frustrated with their deteriorating cognitive function and their behavior or mood symptoms are causing tremendous burdens for their caregivers. Motivated by her desire to help patients with devastating diseases in geriatric psychiatry, especially dementia which frequently lacks diagnostic tools and effective therapies, Dr. Qiu devotes the other 50% of her time to researching the fundamental causational mechanisms of these diseases, and to translate her findings to seeking biomarkers for the diagnoses and treatment of psychiatric illnesses.

Research Interests

  • Identifying and studying the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors and their mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease (AD): We have an established homebound elderly population in the Boston area, and we are performing longitudinal evaluations of their cognition, psychiatric, and neurological conditions. Some of the homebound elderly have also taken part in brain imaging. Our study focuses on the relationship between late life depression, type 2 diabetes, and AD. Investigating the brain’s regulation of emotion, obesity/diabetes, and cognition in AD pathogenesis will help todevelop novel treatments for the intervention and early treatment of AD.
  • Identifying and studying the communication between peripheral biomarkers and brain abnormalities in aging and the prodromal stage of AD: We are targeting biomarkers that could lead to an early diagnosis of AD, especially Aβ peptides and cytopkines found in blood and cerebral spinal fluid. We are also using neuro-imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), to study these biomarkers and brain composition.
  • Investigating the Insulin Degrading Enzyme: Our study and others have identified that the insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) plays a key role in the clearance of amyloid beta peptides (Aβ), a major component in AD pathology. IDE also degrades insulin and amylin, and it might be a key component in type 2 diabetes. Our research goal is to further investigate whether defects of IDE activity and its regulation accelerates AD pathology in the elderly who suffer from type 2 diabetes.

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