Ask Acumen

Mahsan Rafizadeh, MD

Senior Scientist

How long have you been involved in Alzheimer’s Research?

I have been involved in Alzheimer’s research for the last two years since joining Acumen in 2022. Prior to Acumen, I worked at the University of California, Los Angeles for 22 years in the Department of Neurology. During my time at UCLA, I studied several areas, including epilepsy, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and postpartum depression.

What initially drew you to Acumen and our company’s mission?

What initially drew me to Acumen was encountering kind and sincere individuals and witnessing a clear dedication to making a meaningful impact in the Alzheimer’s field.

What is a significant accomplishment or project you’ve been involved in that made a difference in advancing Acumen’s vision?

I have been involved in preparing for our Phase 2 study (ALTITUDE-AD), and thanks to a group effort and extreme dedication, the Phase 2 study is now active.

What excites you most about the work you do at Acumen?

What excites me most about my work at Acumen is the challenge and thrill of problem-solving. It keeps me motivated and driven to make a meaningful impact.

Which of Acumen’s four values (People, Integrity, Innovation, and Perseverance) resonates most with your work and role?

The first and most important value for me is ‘people,’ which means treating everyone with respect and kindness. It also involves nurturing a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees are empowered to grow, contribute, and collaborate effectively. Additionally, the other values of integrity, innovation, and perseverance resonate with my work as well on a daily basis, depending on the tasks at hand.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join our company and contribute to our mission and Alzheimer’s research?

My advice for those interested in joining our Alzheimer’s research mission is to prioritize empathy and resonance with Acumen’s values. Understanding the human impact of our work and demonstrating commitment to our values are essential for thriving and making meaningful contributions here.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while being deeply committed to your work and the mission of the company?

Balancing work and life while working remotely from home isn’t easy, but I prioritize my children by setting clear boundaries between work and personal time. When I am at work, I am 100% focused on my tasks, and outside of work hours, I am fully present with my family.

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your free time?

I live in Hawaii and love nature. I enjoy taking long walks, going for a quick swim, or just sitting on the lanai with a cup of Kona coffee and cookies.

What is one topic you could talk about for hours?

I find the subjects of “creation of the universe” and “religion/God” very challenging and love to talk about them.

What is a quote that is meaningful to you and why?

There is a poem by Saadi Shirazi, a Persian poet from the medieval period, that teaches us when one suffers, it impacts us all.

 “Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,

Other members uneasy will remain.

If you’ve no sympathy for human pain,

The name of human you cannot retain.”

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