Neuroscience News
UCSF Innovation Ventures Video
Faculty Spotlight
Photo Credit: Kampmann Lab
No Magic Bullet. No Single Target.
By mid-century, the number of people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases is expected to double. With the recent string of late stage clinical trial failures in Alzheimer’s Disease, it is still an open question as to whether treatments can be developed for a disease that is definitively diagnosed post-mortem. 

Scientists are coming to realize that the hope for new treatments capable of changing the course of disease lies in developing innovative approaches that deepen our understanding of the early biological underpinnings of neurodegeneration.

Innovation Ventures interviewed three UCSF investigators doing just that.
Utilizing animal models and a molecular profiling approach to study the role of glial pathology in familial and sporadic neurodegenerative diseases.
Employing a CRISPR-based screening platform to
identify genes controlling neurodegenerative disease processes and therapeutic targets.
Expanding the use of hyperpolarized  13 C MR Spectroscopic Imaging, a technique pioneered at UCSF, to study metabolic changes in neurodegenerative diseases. 
In The News
Photo Credit: Nick Otto, Washington Post
I Wish a Polygenic Analysis
Told Me ALS Was Coming
UCSF Researcher who discovered risk genes for ALS is diagnosed with the disease himself. After running a polygenic analysis on his own DNA, Dr. Rahul Desikan learned that he carried several common ALS genes.
Photo Credit: Steve Babuljak, UCSF
UCSF Scientists Create Speech
From Brain Signals
Dr. Edward Chang studies how the brain produces and analyzes speech. He is developing a prosthesis to restore speech capabilities to patients with paralysis and other forms of neurological damage.
Photo Credit: National Institute on Aging
AI Can Detect Alzheimer's
Disease Before Diagnosis
Jae Ho Sohn, a radiologist at UCSF, is adapting and working with an AI algorithm to analyze thousands of positron emission
tomography (PET) scans to search for early signs of Alzheimer’s.
New Studies
Photo Credit: Susan K. McConnell, Cell Press
Chimpanzee Brain Organoids Hint at Secrets of Human Evolution
UCSF researcher, Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, is creating chimpanzee brain “organoids” – small clusters of brain cells grown from stem cells in a laboratory dish that mimic the development and organization of full-size brains.
Photo Credit: Steve Babuljak, UCSF
To Boldly Go or Anxiously Hang Back?
Avoidance Behavior Exposed
UCSF investigators used optogenetics, a method in which laser light–activated proteins can activate or suppress the activity of cells, to identify a particular group of nerve cells in the brain that play an important role in anxiety’s influence over behavior.

Photo Credit: Prusiner Lab, UCSF IND
UCSF Study Shows Alzheimer’s Disease is a Double-Prion Disorder
Using novel laboratory tests, UCSF researchers were able to detect and measure specific, self-propagating prion forms of the proteins amyloid beta (Aß) and tau in postmortem brain tissue of 75 Alzheimer’s patients.

Photo Credit: UCSF
Gene Therapy Shows Initial Promise for Parkinson’s Disease
A phase I trial, led by UCSF, utilizes gene therapy and MRI-guided monitoring to infuse AADC, the primary enzyme that converts levodopa to dopamine, into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

2019 Faculty Honors and Awards
Special Honors
Photo Credit: Steve Babuljak, UCSF
Allan Basbaum, PhD, FRS – elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Distinguished Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association (APA)
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