Neurodegenerative Disease

Researchers discussing data

Disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are neurodegenerative health conditions for which there are no known cures. Researchers at UF strive to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying these devastating disorders, and seek new interventions to halt their progression.


Researchers in the lab

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are progressive disorders that ultimately destroy brain cells. As the population ages, the prevalence of these diseases increases; they are now at epidemic proportions in industrialized nations. Due to its large population and high percentage of elderly the impact of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in Florida is particularly large. Researchers at UF are dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the disease processes so that effective therapies can be developed. In addition to these common neurologic disorders, there are a number of less common, but no less devastating, neurologic conditions such as Frontotemporal Dementia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), ataxias, dystonias, tremors and neuromuscular conditions for which UF researchers are dedicated to finding effective treatments.

Research Highlights Include:

  • Elucidating pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
  • Developing novel preclinical models of disease
  • Determining contributions of genetics on neurodegenerative processes
  • Developing effective treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disease

Affiliated UF Centers

scientists in lab

Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease (CTRND)

Led by Drs. Malú Tansey and Matt LaVoie, the CTRND is a state of the art, multidisciplinary research center focused on the discovery, development and evaluation of future treatments and diagnostics for degenerative central nervous system conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and ALS.

Doctor ranum with assistant discussing results in the lab

Center for NeuroGenetics (CNG)

Led by Dr. Laura Ranum, the Center for NeuroGenetics is housed in the Cancer Genetics Research Complex and is focused on molecular, genetic and clinical approaches to define the causes of neurodegenerative disease and develop effective treatment strategies.

Specialized Training Programs

NIA T32 Clinical and Translational Pre-Doctoral Training in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD)

Co-directed by Drs. Jada Lewis and Jen Bizon, this NIA-funded program supports 4-6 predoctoral students a year. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects over 5 million people in the U.S., inducing profound memory decline, behavioral and language problems. Trainees appointed in the ADRD T32 program will receive two years of support to engage in a specialized training program focused on gaining the knowledge and support necessary to tackle the complexities presented by AD and related neurodegenerative diseases.

scientists in lab

NINDS T32 Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration

Co-directed by Drs. Dawn Bowers and David Vaillancourt, NINDS supports six PhD training slots per year. Movement is core to who we are as humans. Diseases that affect movement strip away our ability to live effectively, which can lead to problems with processing our emotions and can have deleterious effects on how we think. The goal of this program is to help train a future generation of independent investigators with programs of research in movement disorders that focus on translational research.

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