Overview

Our lab operates a brain bank and evaluates brains from individuals with memory and motor disorders under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic and Florida Alzheimer Disease Research Centers (NIA P50-AG16574 and P50-AG25711) as well as the Mayo Parkinson's Disease Center of Excellence (NINDS P50-40256). Our laboratory also serves one of the few NIH-funded projects studying neuropsychologic characteristics of Lewy body dementia directed by Dr. Tanis Ferman at the Mayo Clinic (NIA R01-AG15866). We also assist in characterization of mouse models of neurofibrillary degeneration through an NIH-funded program project directed by Dr. Michael Hutton. Finally, we bank brains for one of the longest running clinicopathologic studies in the United States, The Einstein Aging Study (NIA P01-AG03949), a program project directed by Dr. Richard Lipton at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

In addition to these NIH-funded studies, brains are also sent to our laboratory for diagnosis and research for the State of Florida Alzheimer Disease Initiative and for the Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

As part of this brain banking function, fixed and frozen brain samples are obtained at autopsy and sent to the laboratory for diagnostic evaluation and for various types of research studies. The major types of analyses performed on the brain samples include neurohistology, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, electron microscopy and image analysis, as well as immunoassays. The latter are based upon Western blotting and enzyme linked immunoassays.

Our laboratory has a particular interest in the interface between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease, as well as in non-Alzheimer's degenerative disorders such as Lewy body dementia, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy and frontotemporal dementia. The primary focus of research on aging is neuropathologic characterization of brains of individuals who had been prospectively and longitudinally evaluated during life. These studies aim to determine differences in a range of biologic parameters in brains of people with normal cognitive, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Our focus on Parkinson's disease is to identify preclinical Parkinson's disease to develop means for early diagnosis.