Translational Centers of Excellence
The Department of Neurology has setup Translational Centers of Excellence (TCE). The goal of the TCE program is to support pilot projects to accelerate high impact areas, uniquely suited to the Department of Neurology, aiming towards self-sustainability. Four TCEs are currently active and two more will be added soon.
Neuroengineering/Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics (CNT): Director Brian Litt, MD
The CNT was created 4.5 years ago with the goal to create a broad interdisciplinary community between the PSOM and the SEAS to further the development of computational and bioengineering innovation to map brain activity and lead to the innovative diagnostic and treatment modalities for neuropsychiatric disorders. The CNT is working to develop and test new devices that can restore brain and nervous system function after it has been lost to disease or disability. Major faculty include: Brian Litt, MD, Director, Katherine Davis, MD, Timothy Lucas, MD, PhD, Kacy Cullen, PhD and Flavia Vitale, PhD. The CNT also houses a T32 grant entitled “Training Grant in Neuroengineering and Medicine". The CNT is expanding its scope in translational work and giving rise to the Penn Center for Health, Devices and Technology (Penn Health-Tech), from its programs and staff.
Researcher teams led by Dr. Dalmau were some of the first to identify a novel autoimmune mechanism for both central and peripheral neuroinflammatory disorders, specifically autoantibodies. When Dr. Dalmau moved to Barcelona, but remained an Adjunct Professor with NIH grants still based at Penn, Dr. Lancaster stepped in to continue the work based here. The group has been able to identify a number of new autoantibodies that contribute to neuroinflammatory disorders. The primary objectives are to improve testing for autoimmune encephalitis making it faster, better, and cheaper, as well as improving care for patients with autoimmune encephalitis in the hospital and through our specialty clinic.
Neurogenetics Program: Director Pedro Gonzalez Alegre, MD
The TCE in Neurogenetics was formed in response to the emerging role that genetics, and epigenetics, are playing in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, and recognizing the fact that single genes may cause disorders in different parts of the neuraxis. Areas that have particularly advanced as a result of the clinical and research service include genetic counseling, epilepsy, Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease (HD) programs.
Neuroepidemiology, Health Care Outcomes and Disparities: Director Allison Willis, MD
The primary purpose of the Neuroepidemiology, Health Care Outcomes and Disparities TCE is to provide the infrastructure for residents, fellows and faculty members to answer important questions pertaining to the health, care and outcomes of neurological conditions and neurological disease patients.
Experimental Neuroimmunotherapeutics: Director Amit Bar-Or, MD
Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program: Director Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD