Research in the Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab is targeting breakthroughs in understanding neurological diseases, which are made possible through brain bank donations from families affected by these neurological disorders. Mayo Clinic's brain bank currently has more than 7,000 specimens and provides a special resource for investigators engaged in ongoing studies at Mayo Clinic, as well as across the U.S., Canada and internationally.
- ALS and frontotemporal degeneration with TDP-43 pathology. More recently, the lab's neuropathologic research has focused on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and frontotemporal degeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Transgenic mice that model Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders are also studied as part of efforts to better understand these disorders and develop new treatments.
- Einstein Aging Study. The Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab contributes to the Brain Bank Program as part of the Einstein Aging Study.
- Disorders in tau pathology. Dr. Dickson has studied disorders with tau pathology in collaboration with Shu-Hui C. Yen, Ph.D., a colleague at Mayo Clinic in Florida, for more than two decades. The major tauopathies studied are corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Pick's disease, and frontotemporal dementia linked to tau mutations. Many such cases are obtained through the CurePSP Brain Bank at Mayo Clinic in Florida, which Dr. Dickson also supervises.
- Genetic studies. These studies comprise an increasingly important aspect of neuropathologic research as new genes and genetic risk factors are discovered for Alzheimer's disease and the other major neurodegenerative disorders. Genetic studies are performed on brain-derived DNA by Mayo Clinic collaborators, including Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D.; Owen A. Ross, Ph.D.; Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D.; Steven G. Younkin, M.D., Ph.D.; and investigators at other institutions.