Advanced digital pathology and neuroimaging technique shown Uncovering the variabilities in Alzheimer's disease

Research using advanced digital pathology and neuroimaging techniques is revealing new insights for understanding individual differences that contribute to variability in Alzheimer's disease and for developing treatments.


The Translational Neuropathology Laboratory of Melissa E. Murray, Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida is dedicated to studying the neuropathological changes that underlie variability observed within Alzheimer's disease. The lab has discovered striking differences regarding vulnerability or resilience in affected Alzheimer's disease patients.

Dr. Murray and her team use cutting-edge imaging technologies to advance Alzheimer's research and improve biomarkers to better track disease progression. Developing an effective therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease depends on gaining insights into the individuality of the disease.

In particular, Dr. Murray's research team studies Alzheimer's disease from a variety of perspectives. Through the use of digital pathology, the lab has helped pioneer the effort to quantify brain changes to measure the amount of disease burden or loss of brain cells. This approach provides many opportunities to interrogate subtleties of Alzheimer's disease that may have been missed by semiquantitative scoring techniques.

The Translational Neuropathology Lab research team is dedicated to determining the variability in Alzheimer's disease through the use of clinicopathological and neuroimaging techniques to investigate neuropathologically defined Alzheimer's disease subtypes. These findings have a major impact on understanding the potential importance of the interplay between sex and age regarding neuroanatomical vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease.

The Translational Neuropathology Lab is motivated by the high reward from current efforts investigating gene expression changes in the hippocampus that may reveal why some people with Alzheimer's disease have memory loss while others, although at high risk, experience relative sparing of their memory centers.

More recently, Dr. Murray and her team have identified intriguing ethnoracial differences in survival with Alzheimer's disease with current efforts underway to investigate the neurobiology that may underlie these differences.

About Dr. Murray

Dr. Murray is an assistant professor of neuroscience in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Her research focuses on investigating the heterogeneity of Alzheimer's disease (AD). As a translational neuropathologist in the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Murray uses a multidisciplinary approach to uncover neurobiological differences underlying atypical and typical neuropathological variants of AD and the relevance to clinical presentations observed before death. She has published more than 130 scientific papers, with the bulk of her studies centered on identifying the clinicopathological characteristics and neuroimaging biomarkers of AD and related dementias.