Overview

Mayo Clinic's Neuropathology and Microscopy Laboratory operates a brain bank that examines brains from individuals with memory and motor disorders under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Our laboratory studies neuropsychologic characteristics of Lewy body dementia alongside Tanis J. Ferman, Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic. We also assist in characterization of mouse models of neurofibrillary degeneration through a National Institutes of Health (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, a program directed by Dr. Richard Lipton at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

In addition to these NIH-funded studies, our laboratory participates in the diagnosis and research of brains for the Florida's 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 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 our 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 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.

Affiliations

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.