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Laboratory of Neurosciences

Mark P. Mattson, PhD, Chief

The overall mission of the LNS is to understand, at the molecular and cellular levels, the events that occur in the nervous system during aging and the mechanisms responsible for aging of the nervous system and age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, and stroke. A broad array of experimental models and cutting-edge genetic, molecular and biochemical technologies are being applied to accomplish this goal. Knowledge gained in such basic research is being applied in preclinical and clinical studies to develop approaches (diet, drugs and cell therapy) for preventing and treating these disorders. Complementary studies are interrogating the cellular signaling mechanisms that promote the survival and plasticity of neurons during aging. LNS investigators have shown that exercise and dietary energy restriction can increase resistance of neurons to degeneration in experimental models of neurodegenerative disorders. The mechanisms involve increased production of neurotrophic factors, enhanced mitochondrial function and DNA repair, and neurogenesis. Ongoing human studies are aimed at establishing novel biomarkers for early diagnosis and disease monitoring in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Trials of interventions that enhance brain energy metabolism and stress resistance are being performed in patients with or at risk for dementia.

Portfolio/Research Areas

  • Cognition, learning, and memory
  • Exercise
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Mitochondrial function
  • Neurogenesis
  • Cellular stress responses
  • Biomarkers of neurodegenerative disorders
  • Brain imaging
  • Hormesis
  • Electrophysiological recordings from neurons
  • Brain aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Synaptic plasticity

Recent Publications at PubMed

Publications by Mark Mattson, Ph.D. at PubMed


Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences Section
Human Neuroscience Unit
Neuroplasticity and Behavioral Unit

    Laboratory of Neuroscience Staff