15 Nov 2023

Advancing Alzheimer’s Research: Roy Brewer

Through the proceeds of his book inspired by his wife’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Roy Brewer is helping to spark discoveries in Alzheimer’s disease research at HudsonAlpha

By Lillie Mermoud


Wink and Roy Brewer were enjoying lunch at one of their favorite spots in Pacific Grove, California, when Wink looked up at Roy and asked a chilling question, “Who are you?” Roy’s heart sunk in his chest. At that moment, he knew something was wrong.

Shortly after, Roy took Wink to a neurologist, who diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s disease. From the time she was diagnosed in 2019 until her passing earlier this year, Roy was a tireless caregiver as well as a persistent researcher. He read everything he could find about scientific research that was being done around the world on Alzheimer’s disease.

This thirst for understanding partly inspired Roy to author Who Are You: A Four Year Journey of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease. The book has become a way for Roy to honor Wink’s memory while also raising funds for Alzheimer’s research. After initial sales of the book, Roy generously donated all of the proceeds to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in support of the Institute’s Alzheimer’s disease research.

“There is research being done in Alzheimer’s; however, there is a desperate need for more people to get behind it and advocate for the work that’s being done,” said Roy. “The only hope we have against this disease is research.”


Inspiring others to support Alzheimer’s disease research

Wink and Roy were happily married for 54 years. From their first meeting in Sydney, Australia, to their years living in Canada and California, Wink and Roy were inseparable. When Wink passed away in April 2023, the loss and sadness were difficult for Roy to bear. He flew to Australia to spend time with Wink’s family, and as he was there, inspiration struck. 

Roy channeled his grief into his book, Who Are You, as a way of sharing about his last four years with his wife and hoping to inspire others who have lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease to take action. “My reason for writing Who Are You was to make people aware of Alzheimer’s disease research and inspire them to support such important work,” said Roy.

The cover of "Who Are You" by Roy Brewer

The cover of “Who Are You” by Roy Brewer

Fueling genomic research in Alzheimer’s disease

During Roy’s research, he noticed that many treatments were not as effective once symptoms appeared and wanted to learn more about scientific research that could unravel the underlying causes of the disease.

A friend of the couple, whose sister lived in Huntsville, Alabama, learned of Roy’s interest in Alzheimer’s disease research. She shared about HudsonAlpha’s genomic research on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Having spent most of his life in California, Roy was unfamiliar with HudsonAlpha, but he felt impacted by what the Institute was doing. After learning about HudsonAlpha’s Memory & Mobility Program, which focuses on the genomic mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and dementia, Roy contacted Nick Cochran, PhD, a HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator specializing in neurodegenerative disorders.

Roy was fascinated by the possibilities that genomics offer. Dr. Cochran shared that genomics is a powerful tool for understanding age of disease onset, improving diagnostics, and helping identify potential new drug targets. “The way that Dr. Cochran is studying Alzheimer’s disease stood out to me from what I had been reading about other research institutes,” said Roy. “I was inspired by Dr. Cochran’s motivation to find answers and delighted to donate the proceeds of Who Are You to HudsonAlpha’s research.”

“We are deeply grateful for Mr. Brewer’s contributions to our research,” said Dr. Cochran. “With the help of philanthropic support, my team and I are able to study the genetic and genomic causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, as well as those that might increase someone’s risk of disease.”

As Roy navigates life without Wink, he hopes that his readers will pick up on the call to action and make a donation of their own to support HudsonAlpha’s research. “We can make an impact when we support research, and every little bit helps,” he said. “My goal is for others to not have to suffer from this terrible disease like Wink did.”


As a nonprofit organization, HudsonAlpha relies on philanthropic support to power discoveries in neurodegenerative disease research.

Learn more about how you can join Roy Brewer in supporting the Memory & Mobility Program at HudsonAlpha.