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Nigel Greig
Title: AD Senior Investigator
Office(s): Drug Design and Development Section (DDDS)
Phone Number: 410-558-8278
Email Address:


Nigel Greig was trained as a pharmacologist with a background in medicinal chemistry and physiology and gained his Ph.D. from the University of London; specifically, from the Pharmacology Department of the Royal College of Surgeons, England. Leaving the Cancer Chemotherapy Department of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, he joined NIA in 1982. His initial studies focused on optimizing the delivery to and action of drugs within the brain. This resulted in the development of drug candidates for the treatment of brain tumors, and cancers of the breast, lymphatics and ovaries, as well as agents for the treatment of drug abuse and technology for the delivery of neuropeptides, antisense oligonucleotides and proteins to the brain. Leaving NIA in 1989, Dr. Greig was involved in the initiation of the successful California biotechnology company, Athena Neurosciences, now Elan Pharmaceuticals.The company was launched on technology from Dr. Greig's program. Returning to NIA as a tenured scientist in 1991, his research has evolved into his present interest, the design and development of drugs and diagnostics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with particular emphasis on Alzheimer's disease, and of type 2 diabetes. He heads the Drug Design and Development Section of the Laboratory of Neurosciences that extensively collaborates within NIA, academia and industry. This has resulted in the development of several agents from concept in the laboratory, through the required U.S. Government regulatory requirements to the bedside. Patents covering a variety of novel compounds of clinical interest have now been licensed from the NIA to industry and are in preclinical and clinical development, and new research within his program is providing both publications and patent applications to support potential drugs of the future.

Research Interests/Portfolio

The Drug Design and Development Section (DDDS) is designed to identify drugs that improve brain function and/or forestall the neurodegenerative process in age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Data arising from studies on neurodegenerative and neuroprotective signaling pathways are used to identify potential drug targets. Candidate drugs are first screened for efficacy in cell culture or animal models, and the most effective compounds are moved through preclinical studies to clinical trials. Several drugs that enhance cognitive function are currently in clinical trials, and novel neuroprotective compounds are at various preclinical stages of development.

Selected Publications

  1. Jung YJ, Tweedie D, Scerba MT, Kim DS, Palmas MF, Pisanu A, Carta AR, Greig NH. Repurposing Immunomodulatory Imide Drugs (IMiDs) in Neuropsychiatric and Neurodegenerative Disorders. Front Neurosci. 2021;15:656921.

  2. Lin CT, Lecca D, Yang LY, Luo W, Scerba MT, Tweedie D, Huang PS, Jung YJ, Kim DS, Yang CH, Hoffer BJ, Wang JY, Greig NH. 3,6'-dithiopomalidomide reduces neural loss, inflammation, behavioral deficits in brain injury and microglial activation. Elife. 2020;9.

  3. Lecca D, Bader M, Tweedie D, Hoffman AF, Jung YJ, Hsueh SC, Hoffer BJ, Becker RE, Pick CG, Lupica CR, Greig NH. (-)-Phenserine and the prevention of pre-programmed cell death and neuroinflammation in mild traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's disease challenged mice. Neurobiol Dis. 2019;130:104528.

  4. Glotfelty EJ, Olson L, Karlsson TE, Li Y, Greig NH. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)-based receptor agonists as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2020;29(6):595-602.

  5. Athauda D, Gulyani S, Karnati HK, Li Y, Tweedie D, Mustapic M, Chawla S, Chowdhury K, Skene SS, Greig NH, Kapogiannis D, Foltynie T. Utility of Neuronal-Derived Exosomes to Examine Molecular Mechanisms That Affect Motor Function in Patients With Parkinson Disease: A Secondary Analysis of the Exenatide-PD Trial. JAMA Neurol. 2019;76(4):420-429.