The mission of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) is to promote and conduct multidisciplinary clinical and basic research to increase the understanding of the causes and mechanisms leading to brain dysfunction and degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), Motor neuron disease (MND), and related disorders that occur increasingly with advancing age. Implicit in the mission of the CNDR are two overarching goals: 1.) Find better ways to cure and treat these disorders, 2. Provide training to the next generation of scientists.

“My goal for CNDR is not only to collaborate with researchers at Penn and from institutions across the globe with the mutual goal of finding better ways to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases, but also to inspire and encourage the next generation of scientists on the importance of investigating these disorders that occur more frequently with advancing age.” – Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, Director, CNDR



Latest Research

  • Alpha-synuclein from patient Lewy bodies exhibits distinct pathological activity that can be propagated in vitro Thursday, November 25, 2021

    Lewy bodies (LBs) are complex, intracellular inclusions that are common pathological features of many neurodegenerative diseases. They consist largely of aggregated forms of the protein alpha-Synuclein (α-Syn), which misfolds to give rise to beta-sheet rich amyloid fibrils. The aggregation of monomers into fibrils occurs readily in vitro and pre-formed fibrils (PFFs) generated from recombinant α-Syn monomers are the basis of many models of LB diseases. These α-Syn PFFs recapitulate many...

  • Evaluating dopamine transporter imaging as an enrichment biomarker in a phase 2 Parkinson's disease trial Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    CONCLUSION: A smaller proportion of SPARK participants were excluded owing to SWEDD status upon DaT-SPECT screening than has been reported in prior studies. Further research is needed to understand the reasons for the low SWEDD rate in this study and whether these results are generalisable to future studies. If supported, the radiation risks, imaging costs, and operational burden of DaT-SPECT for enrichment may be mitigated by clinical assessment and other study design aspects.

  • Lysosomal dysfunction impairs mitochondrial quality control and is associated with neurodegeneration in TBCK encephaloneuronopathy Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    Biallelic variants in the TBCK gene cause intellectual disability with remarkable clinical variability, ranging from static encephalopathy to progressive neurodegeneration (TBCK-Encephaloneuronopathy). The biological factors underlying variable disease penetrance remain unknown. Since previous studies had suggested aberrant autophagy, we tested whether mitophagy and mitochondrial function are altered in TBCK ^(-/-) fibroblasts derived from patients exhibiting variable clinical severity. Our data...

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