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Aleister Saunders, PhD

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation
Department of Biology
Office: 104 Left Bank
Phone: 215.895.6091
Lab Location: PISB 401 C2
Lab Phone: 215.895.6884
Additional Sites:

Provost’s Office Leadership


  • Post-doctoral Training, Harvard Medical School
  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • BS, Pennsylvania State University


Aleister Saunders’ research focuses on identifying and characterizing genes and pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Utilizing a variety of AD models, his work has been funded by NIH, NSF, and foundations. As Drexel’s Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation, Dr. Saunders has provided University-level research and innovation leadership since 2014. He is principally responsible for helping Drexel University achieve Carnegie Classification as a “Very High Research Activity” (R1) institution, first attained in 2018 and reaffirmed in 2022. In 2020, Drexel also achieved recognition as the top-ranked mid-sized University for Innovation impact. Aleister oversees Drexel's successful collaboration with MIT to win and manage the Manufacturing USA institute Advanced Functional Fabrics of America. Regionally, Aleister has facilitated Drexel’s academic/industrial partnership with Spark Therapeutics to create a state-of-the-art gene therapy facility on Drexel’s campus. He also manages Drexel’s response to federal regulations related to undue foreign influence while maintaining academic freedom.

Research Interests

My laboratory focuses its research efforts on identifying and characterizing genes and pathways that are involved in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We believe our efforts will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies to delay or prevent onset of AD. To this end we have worked collaboratively to develop novel animal models of AD that we utilize to confirm and extend our observations from cellular models. The research in the lab is carried out by post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students that work on individual and group projects and always in constant interaction with me. I am committed to creating an interactive, nurturing and exciting research experience for all of the members of my laboratory. Please feel free to contact myself or the members of my lab if you have any questions.

Selected Publications: