The goal of my research is to investigate the mechanisms underlying neuropathology in various neurodegenerative diseases. The lab was initially focused on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and understanding how central corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) pathways interplay with peripheral stress signaling and contribute to neuronal vulnerability and AD neuropathology. In addition to this ongoing work we also study the mechanistic pathways that link Parkinson's Disease (PD) pathology (e.g. synuclein) to AD in animal models. In terms of novel biomarker discovery, our lab has a large focus on understanding the role of neuronal exosomes and other blood based biomarkers in diagnosing AD and PD. For all our work we use transgenic mice, in vivo pharmacology and human postmortem tissues.
I am the founding and current Director of the Biomarker Core for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS). In 2018, the UCSD ADCS NIA grant (1991-2018) was replaced by the NIA Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium (ACTC) grant which was awarded to Dr. P. Aisen at USC ATRI in San Diego. I established the USC ATRI Biomarker Division/Core in San Diego in 2017 as a stand alone facility comprised by a wet laboratory and a biospecimen bank. The biospecimen bank team processes blood and CSF samples from patients who participate in ATRI and ACTC trials.
I am the Director of UCSD's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) neuropath and biomarker cores. The core collects postmortem brain and fluid specimens from participants who are enrolled in UCSD's longitudinal study. Core neuropathologists and staff analyze the samples and document all relevant pathologies and genetic profiles. Post analysis all tissues are available for sharing for research projects. Fresh frozen, fixed tissues, DNA, CSF &plasma are available.