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.

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.

Penn Comprehensive ALS Center: Director Lauren Elman, MD

The Penn Comprehensive ALS Center was founded on the principle of providing complete, multidisciplinary care for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis while helping to advance the science of this disease and providing opportunities for individuals to participate in clinical trials. Those who are cared for at the Center have access to personalized care in the form of advanced pulmonary management, physiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, nutrition management, and genetic counseling in addition to neurologic care. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have been responsible for some of the most important pathologic and genetic contributions to the field over the last two decades. We are also leaders in the clinical trial world and individuals followed at our clinic have participated in more than 15 trials over the last 12 years.

Neuroepidemiology, Health Care Outcomes and Disparities: Co-Directors Allison W. Willis, MD, MS & Nabila Dahodwala, MD, MS

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.

Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics: Director Anjan Chatterjee, MD, PhD

Center for Neuroinflammation and Experimental Therapeutics: Director Amit Bar-Or, MD

Neuronal Mechanisms for Auditory Learning: Director Maria Geffen, MD

Brian Science Center: Director John A. Detre, MD

Penn Center for Neuro-Cardio Protection (PCNC): Director Steven Messe, MD

Penn Memory Center: Director David Wolk, MD

Brain Stim Center: Director Roy Hamilton, MD


Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program: Director Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD

Precision Neuroscience: Director Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD