Mayo Clinic's Neuropathology and Microscopy Laboratory operates a brain bank that studies brains from individuals with cognitive and movement disorders, as well as motor neuron disease. The brain bank serves these projects, institutions and programs:

We also assist in the characterization of mouse models of neurodegeneration through collaborations with other labs, including:

We use transgenic mice and other mouse models that recapitulate some features of Alzheimer's disease. Other neurodegenerative disorders also are studied as part of efforts to better understand these disorders and develop new treatments.

Finally, the bank brain serves as the Neuropathology Core for one of the longest running clinicopathologic studies in the United States, the Einstein Aging Study, a program directed by Richard B. Lipton, M.D., at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

In addition to these National Institutes of Health-funded studies, the Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab provides diagnostic evaluations and contributes to research on brains from the State of Florida Alzheimer's Disease Initiative and for CurePSP.

As part of this brain-banking function, fixed and frozen brain samples are obtained at autopsy and sent to Dr. Dickson's 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.

The lab's research focuses on the interface between normal aging and dementia, as well as on non-Alzheimer's degenerative disorders such as Lewy body dementia, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, frontotemporal degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A major focus of our research on human brain 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 biological parameters in brains of people with normal cognitive function, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Our focus on Parkinson's disease is to identify preclinical Parkinson's disease to develop a means for early diagnosis.


The Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab is affiliated with other Mayo Clinic research and education areas.

About Dr. Dickson

Dennis W. Dickson, M.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, is the Robert E. Jacoby Professor of Alzheimer's Research as well as a professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Dickson's research focuses on genetic risk factors in neuropathology.