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PARTNERS IN RESEARCH: CNDR || IOA || UDALL || Penn ADC
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Penn Udall Center Cores

Penn Udall Center CoresThe Penn Udall Center Team is divided into four cores, each responsible for a key area within the Center, and four project areas.

With funding from NINDS, the Penn Udall Center moves into its renewal period for years 6-10. For more information about the Penn Udall Center's Cores and its leaders, click on the core below. For more details on the current, individual projects being pursued at the Penn Udall Center, click on Projects below.

Cores

 

Projects

Administrative

  A Multimodal Biomarker Approach to Evaluating and Predicting Cognitive Decline in Lewy Body Diseases
Clinical   Mechanisms of PD Executive Dysfunction in Language

Neuropathology, Biomarker, and Genetics

  Mechanisms of Transmission of Pathological Alpha-synuclein in Neurons

Data Management and Biostatistics

  Immunotherapy Targeting Parkinson’s Disease Transmission in Animal Models

 

Administrative Core

The Administrative Core of the Penn Udall Center serves the important function of facilitating the accomplishment of the goals of this multidisciplinary research program. The aims of Core A are to oversee budgetary and fiscal aspects of the Penn Udall Center, promote and foster interactions between Core and Project investigators as well as interactions of Udall Center investigators with scientists at and beyond Penn, monitor the progress of the Cores and Projects, facilitate the sharing of data/reagents/resources generated by Penn Udall Center investigators with other researchers in accordance with NIH policies, and participate in annual Udall Center meetings to accelerate the pace of advances in understanding Parkinson's disease (PD) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). By utilizing the strategies in these aims, Core A will play an important administrative role in the Penn Udall Center by fostering the accomplishment of its research goals.

John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD Core Leader Email
Kathryn Jedrziewski, PhD Deputy Core Leader, Administration Email

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Core Publications:

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Clinical Core

The Clinical Core is responsible for recruiting and characterizing research subjects and obtaining research material. The Core will establish and characterize with regular physical, functional and neuropsychological assessments, a cohort of properly consented patients and controls who will: 1) participate in studies of PD, PDD and DLB; 2) donate blood for DNA extraction, plasma and CSF for chemical biomarker testing; and 3) promote brain donation from Udall participants to the Udall Center Core C.

Patients will be recruited to the Udall cohort from the Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorders Center as well as other sources, including contacts made through outreach activities; control subjects will be recruited from families of patients, from senior centers in the Philadelphia area, and from other investigators in the affiliated Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) research projects. Particular emphasis will be placed on recruiting women and minorities. These research subjects, their clinical data, biofluids and brain tissue will be utilized to conduct Projects I-IV of the Udall Center.

The Core will collaborate with Core C to investigate genetic factors in families of patients with at least one affected first degree relative with PD and will offer genetic counseling as described in Core C to all families who participate in the Udall Center’s programs.

The Core will collaborate with Core A to educate lay and professional referral sources on PD, PDD, DLB and related dementias in pursuit of recruiting a diverse patient population to participate in research as well as to train the next generation of PD researchers. Outreach efforts will include education for physicians and other healthcare providers, the regional PD community, and traditionally underserved minorities in the Philadelphia region at health fairs, senior centers and long-term care facilities. We also will collaborate with Core A and other Udall Center investigators to provide training in clinical research methods to post-doctoral fellows, residents and medical students.

The Core will contribute data to the clinical and tissue databases in cooperation with Core D, to resolve questions related to clinical data, and to facilitate the sharing of data with investigators in the Penn Udall Center and other Udall Centers. The Penn Udall Center database serves as the repository for all clinical, genetic, pathological and summarized imaging data collected at the Penn Udall Center. Core B will contribute these data to Core D and will work closely with Core D to resolve any questions related to data collection and storage. Likewise, Core B will provide all clinical data to Core C and Projects I-IV.

Additionally the Core will facilitate collaborations with other Udall Centers on standardization of sample collection and clinical characterization. We will continue and expand ongoing efforts, begun in collaboration with the University of Washington (UW) Udall Center, to develop and promulgate standardized clinical assessments of cognitive impairments (CI) and dementia in PD/PDD/DLB across the Udall network.

Howard Hurtig, MD Core Leader and Principal Investigator Email
Rachel Gross, MD Co-Core Leader Email

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Core Publications

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Neuropathology, Biomarker, and Genetics Core

The Neuropathology, Biomarker, and Genetics Core acquires, preserves, and characterizes postmortem brain tissue and biological samples collected antemortem from clinically assessed control subjects as well as from patients with PD, PDD, DLB, and Lewy Body Variant of Alzheimer’s Disease (LBVAD).

The Core will conduct a postmortem examination on Udall Center patients with clinical PD, PDD or DLB and normal controls (NC) followed in Core B to establish a neuropathology (NP) diagnosis in each case. It will collect and bank biosamples, including postmortem CNS tissues, DNA, plasma and CSF for NP, biomarker (BMKR) and genetic studies on living and deceased NC and patients followed in Core B and studied in Projects I-IV of this Udall Center. It will maintain the Udall Center bank of biosamples from NC and PD/PDD/DLB patients, and distribute samples to investigators approved by the Executive Committee (EC) described in Core A. Additionally, the Core will archive NP, BMKR and genetics findings, and monitor all biosamples in a database in collaboration with Core D and the Udall Center’s PD Data Organizing Center (PD-DOC) or the equivalent when re-established, as well as provide advice and technical support to facilitate studies by Udall Center investigators and other scientists who use Core C resources.

John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD Core Leader Email
Vivianna van Deerlin, MD, PhD Core Co-Investigator Email

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Core Publications

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Data Management and Biostatistics Core

This Core will continue to develop and maintain a relational database of demographic, clinical, genetic, biomarker, imaging and neuropathological data gathered and used by Clinical Core (Core B), Neuropathology, Biomarker and Genetics Core (Core C), and Projects I-IV and to support the network and associated computing facilities for the database and data analysis operations of the Udall Center.

The Core will also advise investigators on study design for all Projects and Cores; to assist investigators in the analysis of their data using rigorous statistical methods; to assist in the preparation of reports, abstracts, and manuscripts; to assist investigators in conducting exploratory analyses that may lead to the generation of new hypotheses for future research; to develop new statistical methodologies and extend existing methodologies where needed for analysis of Udall Center data, and to provide bioinformatics support for analysis of large complex data sets such as those that will come from ongoing GWAS and epigenetic studies described in Core C as well as to correlate deep phenotyping data on Udall subjects with alpha-synuclein (a-syn) strain data to link the characteristics of these strains to distinct clinical-pathologically defined phenotypes of PD without and with dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Sharon Xie, PhD Core Leader Email

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Core Publications

 

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