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.

 

Neuroimmunology Autoantibody Program: Directors Eric Lancaster, MD, PhD and Joseph Dalmau, MD, PhD

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.

 

Penn Neurogenetics Therapy Center (PNTC):  Director Steven Scherer, MD, PhD

The Neurogenetics Program was formed in 2015 to facilitate the genetic diagnosis of people with neurological disorders. Progress made through the Neurogenetics Program led to the creation of the Penn Neurogenetics Therapy Center (PNTC) in 2020, to catalyze the translation of genetic diagnosis into precision, nucleic acid-based therapeutics for people with neurological disorders. We have built a robust team of physicians, genetic counselors, and clinical trial specialists who work together to diagnose neurological disorders, and provide patients with access to novel gene- and molecular-based therapeutic approaches tested in clinical trials or approved by the FDA.

 

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.

 

Coming soon:

Experimental Neuroimmunotherapeutics: Director Amit Bar-Or, MD
Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program: Director Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD