MAILMAN RESEARCH CENTER
The Neuroregeneration Research Institute
Research Innovations for Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders
Dr. Ole Isacson
The Neuroregeneration Institute, led by Ole Isacson, MD, is accelerating the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other degenerative brain disorders. His novel and productive research team has a keen focus on improving individuals' lives. This work has been the basis for numerous innovations that are creating hope for patients and their families.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Isacson's discoveries have significantly advanced our knowledge to the point that we are currently exploring viable therapies both aimed at protecting vulnerable neurons and replacing those destroyed by disease.
"I am impressed by how Dr. Isacson's approach emphasizes regenerative therapy—that is, repairing the diseased neurons. Contrast that to the current treatments which address the symptoms, but not the course of the underlying disease."
â€“ Bernard Yudowitz, MD, JD, Founder of Wild Acre Inns
You Can Help
With federal grants increasingly scarce, Dr. Isacson and his team depend on philanthropy to conduct the most innovative and promising experiments. Generous donors have strengthened his efforts both through modest gifts and long-term, substantial commitments. Individuals have compelling reasons for supporting his research:
"Dr. Isacson has a way of connecting everything he does to the patient. No matter what specific area of Parkinson's research he is focusing on, it is always applicable to prevention and treatment."
â€“ Robin Ross, PhD
"Dr. Isacson's collaboration with other researchers not only sets the Neuroregeneration Institute apart, it also is crucial to accelerating progress."
â€“ Cheryl Ross
Stem cells grow to become human neurons (click to enlarge)
Advancing New Therapies Through Scientific Discovery
Researchers around the world are building on Dr. Isacson's work and "translating" his scientific discoveries into new therapies for patients with neurodegenerative disease. Following are several "firsts" that laid the foundation for our current capabilities in this field:
- In 2002, Dr. Isacson proved that transplanting embryonic stem cells in animal models of Parkinson's disease yielded functional new dopamine neurons that restored motor function.
- Taking this work a step further, in 2008, he was the first to show that skin cells could be reprogrammed into stem cells (becoming induced pluri-potent stem cells, or iPS cells), then differentiated into specific dopamine neurons. These new dopamine neurons were effectively transplanted into the brain, again in animal models.
- In 2010, Dr. Isacson made the exciting breakthrough that dopamine neurons could be grown from human iPS cells and transplanted effectively to mitigate disease, setting the stage for forthcoming clinical trials in humans.
- By understanding how certain brain cells are either vulnerable or resistant to neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Isacson discovered specific "profiles" of vulnerable cell types, thus advancing neuroprotective strategies for Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Interview with Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Major Summit Places McLean Hospital and Dalhousie University at Forefront of Stem Cell Research and New Clinical Trials
"Have You Ever Seen a Stem Cell?" â€“ Dr. Isacson on FRONTLINE
This lab has its own website here.
The Neuroregeneration Laboratories Staff (click to enlarge)
- Ole Isacson, Dr. Med. Sci. - Director of Center & Neuroregeneration Labs (e-mail)
- Anna-Liisa Brownell, Ph.D. - Principal Investigator (e-mail)
- Roger Spealman, Ph.D. - Principal Investigator (e-mail)
- Angel Viñuela, M.D., Ph.D. - Co-Principal Investigator (e-mail)
- Oliver Cooper Ph.D. - Director, Stem Cell Facility (e-mail)
- Penelope Hallett, Ph.D.- Director, In Vivo Programs (e-mail)
- James Schumacher, Ph.D. â€“ Research Associate (e-mail)
- Hyemyung Seo, Ph.D. â€“ Research Associate (e-mail)
- Sangmi Chung, Ph.D. - Instructor (e-mail)
- Arnar Astradsson, M.D. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-mail)
- Jennifer Gatchel, M.D., Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-mail)
- Jesse McLean, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-mail)
- Teresia Osborn, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-mail)
- Maria Sundberg, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-mail)
- Michele Levesque - Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Tana Brown - Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Sarah Izen - Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Tristan Lawson - Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Brian Choi â€“ Student Research Assistant
- Joy He â€“ Student Research Assistant
- Yvette Leung â€“ Student Research Assistant
- Briana Prager â€“ Student Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Helle Thomasen â€“ Student Research Assistant (e-mail)
- Eduardo Perez-Torresâ€“ Student Research Assistant
- Jesse Meadow â€“ Administrative Assistant (e-mail)
- Sandra Pohlman - Administrator (e-mail)