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Dr. Bradlee L. Heckmann
Principal Investigator


Current Appointments 


  • Director, Spatial Biology & Advanced Imaging

       USF Health Neuroscience Institute

       Byrd Alzheimer's Center

  • Assistant Professor in Molecular Medicine

  • Affiliate Professor in Medical Engineering

       USF Morsani College of Medicine


  • Scientific Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer

       Asha Therapeutics



Dr. Heckmann is a neuroimmunologist and pharamceutical scientist at the USF Health Neuroscience Institute & Byrd Alzheimer’s Center with academic faculty appointments as an Assistant Professor in Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and as an Affiliate Professor in Medical Engineering at the University of South Florida College of Engineering. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Heckmann is a Scientific Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Asha Therapeutics.


Dr. Heckmann’s major scientific discoveries and advancements have included the discovery and characterization of LC3-associated endocytosis (LANDO) as an immune regulatory mechanism in neurodegenerative diseases and neuroinflammation, research published in Cell and Science Advances. In addition to his work in neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation, Dr. Heckmann has published seminal work in the fields of cell and lipid metabolism and was first to characterize negative regulation of triglyceride catabolism via the G0/G1 Switch Gene 2. His academic laboratory is currently focused on characterizing the role of neuroinflammation and pathways that govern microglial activation including LANDO and roles in metabolic homeostasis in the context of neurological immune perturbations including protein aggregation, pathogen infection and post-infection syndromes, as well as neurovascular ischemia. In his role at Asha Therapeutics, he has been instrumental in the preclinical development and evaluation of Asha’s PRISM platform and lead drug asset with multiple neurological disease indications.  


Dr. Heckmann received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky where he studied Biology and Chemical Engineering and his Doctoral Degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Heckmann has received multiple awards and honors including a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, a National Cancer Institute LRP Award in Pediatric Oncology, an Excellence in Science Award from the AAAS, an Early Career Research Award from the American Association of Immunologists, and others as well as current nominations for the USERN Prize and the AAAS-Science Prize in Neurobiology. Dr. Heckmann is an International Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and has multiple publications featured in Faculty of 1000.

Selected Awards & Honors

Nom.      USERN Prize in Medical Sciences         

Nom.      AAAS - Science Prize for Neurobiology

2021       International Fellow – Royal Society of Medicine

2020       Sigma Xi Research Honor Society Membership Award

2019       European Cell Death Organization Scholarship

2019       Aegean Young Investigator Presentation & Travel Award        

2019       American Association of Immunologists Early Career Research Award

2018       Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award  

2018       National Cancer Institute Pediatric LRP Award in Neuro-oncology      

2017       John H. Sununu Endowed Fellowship    

2016       ASBMB Plenary Presentation Award     

2015       AAAS - Excellence in Science Award    

2012       Mayo Foundation Poster Competition Prize – 1st Place 

2012       Mayo Foundation Distinguished Scholarship     

2010       Ribble Award in Life Science Research 

2009       G. Flora Ribble Research Scholarship

Education & Training

  • B.Sc. - Biological Sciences

       University of Kentucky


  • Ph.D. - Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

       Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

  • Fellowship - Immunology

       St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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