Brain Bank

Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.

Dennis W. Dickson, M.D. (left), a Potamkin Prize winner, directs the brain bank at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida.

Neuroscientists at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida are leaders in the discovery of new genes, biomarkers and therapeutic targets for brain diseases. Thanks to exceptional resources, including a brain bank for neurodegenerative disorders, investigators continue to shed new light on the underlying causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia and stroke.

Dennis W. Dickson, M.D., a member of the Department of Neuroscience and a Potamkin Prize winner, directs the brain bank, which contains more than 5,000 specimens.

Truly unique, the brain bank has enabled investigators to improve the scientific community's understanding of the neuropathology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and modeling of neurodegenerative disorders.

The brain bank includes more than 1,000 cases of Lewy body-related pathology and more than 1,000 cases of 4R tauopathy, mostly progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). In addition to PSP, other 4R tauopathies in the collection include corticobasal degeneration, argyrophilic grain disease, frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 due to mutations in the tau gene MAPT (FTDP-17T).

By examining the disease tissue in the brain bank, Mayo Clinic investigators were among the first to discover mutations in MAPT and then develop mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, which are used to study basic disease mechanisms and therapeutic strategies.