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  • Ted Dawson Laboratory

    The Ted Dawson Laboratory uses genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches to explore the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurologic disorders. We also investigate several discrete mechanisms involved in cell death, including the role of nitric oxide as an endogenous messenger, the function of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and apoptosis inducing factor in cell death, and how endogenous cell survival mechanisms protect neurons from death.
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    Principal Investigator

    Ted M. Dawson, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Translational Neurobiology Laboratory

    The goals of the Translational neurobiology Laboratory are to understand the pathogenesis and cell death pathways in neurodegenerative disorders to reveal potential therapeutic targets for pharmaceutical intervention; to investigate endogenous survival pathways and try to induce these pathways to restore full function or replace lost neurons; and to identify biomarkers to mark disease function or replace lost neurons; and to identify biomarkers to mark disease progression and evaluate therapeutics. Our research projects focus on models of Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. We use a combination of cell biology and transgenic animal models of these diseases.
  • Functional Neurosurgery Laboratory

    The research goals of the Functional Neurosurgery Laboratory include the development of computational models to understand how brain function is affected by neurological conditions and how this abnormal function might be corrected or minimized by neuromodulation through electrical stimulation. The lab uses data collected from patients during epilepsy monitoring or in the operating room during DBS procedures to construct and calibrate the computational models. The models can be manipulated to explore functional changes and treatment possibilities. The other primary goal of the laboratory is the development of a neuromodulation system that applies stimulation pulses at specific phases of brain oscillatory activity. This technique is being explored in the context of Parkinson's disease as well as memory function, and may lead to less invasive therapeutic treatment system with more effective stimulation.
  • Neuromodulation and Advanced Therapies Center

    We investigate the brain networks and neurotransmitters involved in symptoms of movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, and the mechanisms by which modulating these networks through electrical stimulation affects these symptoms. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms through which neuromodulation therapies like deep brain stimulation affect non-motor brain functions, such as cognitive function and mood. We use imaging of specific neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and dopamine, to understand the changes in brain chemistry associated with the clinical effects of deep brain stimulation and to predict which patients are likely to have changes in non-motor symptoms following DBS. Through collaborations with our neurosurgery colleagues, we explore brain function by making recordings during DBS surgery during motor and non-motor tasks. Dr. Mills collaborates with researchers in the Department of Neurosurgery, the Division of Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and in the Division of Nuclear Medicine within the Department of Radiology to translate neuroimaging and neurophysiology findings into clinical applications.

    Principal Investigator

    Kelly Mills, M.D., M.H.S.

    Department

    Neurology

    Neurosurgery

  • Bakker Memory Lab

    Research in the Bakker Memory Laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms and brain networks underlying human cognition with a specific focus on the mechanisms underlying learning and memory and the changes in memory that occur with aging and disease. We use a variety of techniques including neuropsychological assessments, experimental behavioral assessments and particularly advanced neuroimaging methods to study these questions in young and older adults and patients with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Through our collaborations with investigators in both basic science and clinical departments, including the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neurology and Public Health, our research also focuses on brain systems involved in spatial navigation and decision-making as well as cognitive impairment in neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression and anxiety.
  • Psychiatric Neuroimaging

    Psychiatric Neuroimaging (PNI) is active in neuropsychiatric research using imaging methods such as MRI, fMRI, PET and DTI to understand the mechanisms and brain networks underlying human cognition. PNI faculty have published hundreds of papers on a variety of brain disorders which include but are not limited to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. Faculty in the division have been awarded numerous peer-reviewed grants by the National Institutes of Health, foundations and other funding organizations.

    Research Areas

  • Jun Hua Lab

    Dr. Hua's research has centered on the development of novel MRI technologies for in vivo functional and physiological imaging in the brain, and the application of such methods for studies in healthy and diseased brains. These include the development of human and animal MRI methods to measure functional brain activities, cerebral perfusion and oxygen metabolism at high (3 Tesla) and ultra-high (7 Tesla and above) magnetic fields. He is particularly interested in novel MRI approaches to image small blood and lymphatic vessels in the brain. Collaborating with clinical investigators, these techniques have been applied 1) to detect functional, vascular and metabolic abnormalities in the brain in neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntingdon's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mental disorders such as schizophrenia; and 2) to map brain functions and cerebrovascular reactivity for presurgical planning in patients with vascular malformations, brain tumors and epilepsy.
  • Christopher A. Ross Lab

    Dr. Ross and his research team have focused on Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease, and now are using insights from these disorders to approach more complex diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They use biophysical and biochemical techniques, cell models, and transgenic mouse models to understand disease processes, and to provide targets for development of rational therapeutics. These then can provide a basis for developing small molecule interventions, which can be used both as probes to study biology, and if they have favorable drug-like properties, for potential therapeutic development. We have used two strategies for identifying lead compounds. The first is the traditional path of identification of specific molecular targets, such as enzymes like the LRRK2 kinase of Parkinson’s disease. Once structure is known, computational approaches or fragment based lead discovery, in collaboration, can be used. The second is to conduct phenotypic screens using cell models, or in a collaboration, natural products in a yeast model. Once a lead compound is identified, we use cell models for initial tests of compounds, then generate analogs, and take compounds that look promising to preclinical therapeutic studies in animal models. The ultimate goal is to develop therapeutic strategies that can be brought to human clinical trials, and we have pioneered in developing biomarkers and genetic testing for developing strategies.

    Research Areas