Our Research Programs
In order to solve the intricate puzzle of neurodegenerative disease, scientists at CNDR are taking a variety of approaches:
- Basic Science
Scientists use a basic science approach try to understand what goes wrong at the most basic, molecular and cellular level. At CNDR, the basic science program is led by Dr. Virginia M.-Y. Lee.
Some of the neurodegenerative diseases originate from mutations in genes. Even those diseases that are not strictly 'genetic' have some genetic component. Scientists who study the role of genetics in neurologic diseases are called neurogeneticists. At CNDR, the neurogenetics program is led by Dr. Jerry Schellenberg and Dr. Vivianna Van Deerlin.
Much of what is known about neurodegenerative disease comes from studies of brain tissue from both affected people and animal models of the disease. At CNDR, the neuropathology program is led by Dr. John Trojanowski. To learn more about obtaining samples from the Tissue Research Bank for study, click here.
Biomarkers are characteristics that can be objectively measured and that indicate the presence or state of a disease. They are extremely important for diagnosing disease and monitoring response to treatment. The search for biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases at CNDR is led by Dr. Leslie Shaw, who is also the Biomarker Core Co-Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
- Translational Medicine
The focus of the Translational Medicine Program is on translating basic research discoveries into treatment approaches that will be useful in the clinical setting. At CNDR, this effort is led by Dr. Virginia M.-Y. Lee and Dr. John Trojanowski.
- Drug Discovery
The long process of developing new drugs that will be useful in treating neurodegenerative diseases begins with the discovery of targets that, if modified, might affect the course of the disease. It includes the development of assays for evaluating the effect of different substances on those targets, the screening of hundreds of thousands of compounds to identify one or a few possible drug candidates, the optimization of these candidate drugs, and the testing of potential drugs in animal models of the disease and then in humans. The drug discovery effort at CNDR, which includes the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program, is led by Dr. Kurt Brunden, Dr. Virginia Lee, and Dr. John Trojanowski.
- Clinical Research
Research discoveries made in the laboratory must be tested in clinical settings in order to determine their effectiveness. Clinical research in Alzheimer's disease at CNDR is led by Dr. Steven Arnold, Dr. Jason Karlawish, and Dr. David Wolk. Clinical research in frontotemporal degeneration and related conditions is led by Dr. Murray Grossman.
Biomedical research in the 21st century results in the acquisition of enormous amounts of data. At CNDR, the management and analysis of data collected is led by Dr. Sharon Xie and Young Baek.