Welcome to the Israelson lab for Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration!

The main focus of the research in our lab is on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease) with special emphasis on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). These devastating diseases represent a major challenge to public health worldwide, especially as our population continues to age.

ALS is a progressive adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, followed by paralysis and ultimately death within 2-5 years. The typical age of onset is between 50 to 60 years for most forms of ALS. The disease significantly affects the patient’s quality of life, being characterized by progressive muscle weakness, atrophy and spasticity. Today, the disease is incurable, and there is no effective treatment to cure or even significantly slow disease progression.

We combine biochemistry, molecular biology and use both cellular and in vivo models to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in ALS pathogenesis.

Our long term aim is to identify new candidate agents that will be able to slow or stop the progression of the disease. These agents will be tested in pre-clinical studies and will be the basis to develop new drugs for the treatment of ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders.