Lennart Mucke, MD
Director and Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease

Other Professional Titles

Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco

Phone

(415) 734-2504

Fax

(415) 355-0131

Assistant

Randi Mott

On The Web

Areas of Investigation

Our laboratory investigates the processes that result in memory loss and other major neurological deficits, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative disorders. Our long-term goal is to advance the understanding of the healthy and the diseased nervous system to a point where rational strategies can be developed for the prevention and cure of these conditions.

Molecules similar to those involved in neurodegenerative diseases are highly expressed in the nervous system of diverse species and appear to function in learning, synaptic plasticity and regeneration. We are particularly curious about the functions and pathogenic roles of amyloid proteins, tau and apolipoprotein (apo) E in AD and of α-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies. These common neurodegenerative disorders erode people’s ability to think and control their movements, two of the most critical and intriguing functions of the nervous system. They are on the rise and currently can be neither prevented nor cured. These facts underline the significance and urgency of our research efforts.

We use genetically engineered mouse models, tissue cultures and stem cell approaches to study potential disease-causing factors and pathways at the molecular, cellular, network and behavioral level. These experimental models are also used to develop and evaluate novel treatment strategies. Their relevance is assessed through comparative studies of humans and postmortem tissues in collaboration with clinical programs.

Lab Focus

How do amyloid β (Aβ) peptides affect synaptic function and neuronal survival?
How does tau reduction make the brain more resistant to Aβ-induced deficits?
Can the beneficial effect of tau reduction be exploited therapeutically?
Which drugs can block the aberrant network activity that Aβ triggers?
Will these drugs also normalize cognitive functions and prevent neurological decline in AD?
What can the selective vulnerability of specific neuronal populations to different neurodegenerative disorders teach us about the uniqueness of the affected cells and the pathogenic pathways involved?

Achievements

Demonstrated that Aβ peptides and apoE4 can impair brain functions independent of their contributions to amyloid plaque formation in AD.
Elucidated key mechanisms underlying AD-related synaptic, network and cognitive dysfunctions.
Identified novel therapeutic strategies to block these disease-causing mechanisms.

Affiliations

  • American Neurological Association
  • Association of American Physicians
  • Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia Research (Internal Advisory Board)
  • Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
  • German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Helmholtz Association
  • Senate
  • International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research and Treatment
  • iPierian, Inc. (Scientific Advisory Board)
  • Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada (Medical & Scientific Advisory Council)
  • Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society
  • Neuropore Therapies, Inc. (Scientific Advisory Board)

Professional titles

Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco

Education

  • Free University Berlin
MD
  • Georg August University
  • Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • The Scripps Research Institute

Honors and Awards

2013 American Pacesetter Award, ARCS Foundation
2013 MetLife Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s Disease, MetLife Foundation
2012 Kalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award
2011 LSU Chancellor's Award in Neuorsciences
2010 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's, and Related Diseases, American Academy of Neurology
2007 Award for Excellence in Direct Teaching and/or Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators
2006 Arthur Cherkin Memorial Award
2003 MetLife Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s Disease, MetLife Foundation
1999 Zenith Award, Alzheimer's Association