Our Research

A CDR-generated transgenic mouse model (TRGL) carrying fluorescence reporters for brain autophagy enables the visualization of normal autophagy conditions in normal mouse brains (left image) and the detection of lysosomal pathology (middle image) and amyloid plaque pathology (right image) in the brain of TgCRND8 Alzheimer mouse model.

Our research is led by a faculty of nine principal investigators and a staff of more than 60 scientists conducting studies on etiology, prevention, and treatment of degenerative disease. Recognized for an innovative conceptual approach to AD therapy development, CDR researchers continue to receive millions of dollars in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, as well as funding from other institutions. Center programs in the past 10 years have yielded more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, which have been cited more than 60,000 times, contributing to NKI’s ranking in the top 1 percent of research institutions nationwide in citations per publication. Research accomplishments by CDR investigators include discovery of the first amyloid precursor protein (APP) mutation in a human disease and the earliest known disease-specific neuronal defects in the AD brain. Additional CDR discoveries include novel mechanisms linking genes causing early onset AD to defects in cellular waste clearance (autophagy) that are the basis of new drug discovery programs worldwide. The paradigm-shifting discovery of novel synaptic roles for neurofilament proteins implicated prominently in neuropsychiatric diseases has revealed new clues to pathogenesis and a basis for the emerging clinical utility of these proteins as disease biomarkers.