MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Translating today's discoveries into tomorrow's cures

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Wainger, Brian, MD, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

Brian Wainger’s lab fuses electrophysiology and stem cell biology to explore how abnormal neuronal physiology contributes to diseases of the motor and sensory nervous systems. Working with motor neurons derived from ALS patients and healthy controls, Dr. Wainger performed fundamental electrophysiological characterization and identified motor neuron hyperexcitability in ALS patient-derived motor neurons (Wainger et al., 2014). Mechanistic analysis of the motor neurons led to the identification of a novel therapeutic candidate, which will be investigated in a clinical trial.

Gomez-Isla, Teresa, MD

Biography
Affiliations

Teresa Gomez-Isla has specific clinical interests in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. She sees patients with these disorders as part of clinical evaluation and care, as well as for research purposes. There is a great need to understand the mechanisms that lead to neural system collapse and impaired cognition in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, and to find better treatments potentially able to prevent or cure this illness. Her lab focuses on the development and characterization of transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and on testing novel therapeutic strategies.

Gomperts, Stephen, MD, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

Stephen Gomperts investigates Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, as well as normal brain function, using both laboratory research and clinical research strategies. His laboratory research is focused on how populations of neurons in the hippocampus represent information, encode new memories, and coordinate with other brain structures in the service of behavior; and how to rescue the failure of those processes in neurologic diseases.

Kegel-Gleason, Kimberly, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

Kimberly Kegel-Gleason studies the normal and altered function of huntingtin (htt), the protein mutated in Huntington Disease (HD). Her early work revealed that autophagy and the lysosomal system were activated with htt accumulation in an HD cell system. More recently, she has discovered a normal association of htt with specific phosphoinositol phosphates (PIPs). PIPs are lipids present in membranes that can act to target proteins to specific sites within cells. The finding that htt interacts with specific PIPs will help to understand htt function at a molecular level.

Wasco, Wilma, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

Wilma Wasco is interested in factors and events that surround the neuronal degeneration that is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and normal aging. Her lab was involved in the identification and characterization the two presenilin proteins (PS1 and PS2), and her current focus is on identifying genes associated with the etiology of late onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Albers, Mark, MD, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

The sense of smell may provide important clues to help identify patients with neurodegenerative diseases before their symptoms emerge. Mark Albers uses the olfactory system of mice and humans to help understand the early events of neurodegeneration in order to find ways to intervene early in the disease process before symptoms appear and distinguish early pathologic events from changes produced by aging. His lab combines molecular biological, anatomical, physiological, imaging,and behavioral techniques to learn about genes associated with neurodegenerative disease.

Sadri-Vakili,Ghazaleh, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

The NeuroEpigenetics laboratory at MIND, under the direction of Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie alterations in gene expression in disorders of the nervous system using the most current molecular biology tools. Currently, their efforts are focused on Huntington’s disease (HD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as well as addiction.

Berezovska, Oksana, PhD

Biography
Affiliations

Oksana Berezovska leads the Neurobilogy of Alzheimer’s disease research laboratory that studies cellular and molecular events leading to neuropathological changes in Alzheimer’s disease, with a particular focus on the synapse. The ratio of amyloid beta peptides that end in amino acid 42 as compared to amino acid 40 can be measured in the cerebrospinal fluid. An increase in the Abeta 42/40 ratio has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis.

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