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Posts by Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, MS, PhD

  • Tiziana Petrozziello, PhD, and Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD, of the Healey Center for ALS, and colleagues are the first to report that alterations in tau phosphorylation underlie mitochondrial dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and an investigational tau degrader might mitigate that dysfunction.

  • Building on similar research in Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated that treatment with cromolyn sodium delayed disease onset and was neuroprotective in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by decreasing the inflammatory response.

  • Scientists in the NeuroEpigenetics Laboratory in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease are working to hasten the development of needed therapeutic interventions for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

  • In a pilot study, lunasin did not affect progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but the innovative trial design resulted in the fastest enrollment rate in ALS history, with excellent retention and adherence.

  • Researchers from the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital discuss their collaborative and individual work in clinical and translational research.

  • Building on previous research, neuroscientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have demonstrated why compounds targeting the Hippo pathway should be considered for treatment of Huntington's disease.

  • In this video, Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD, director of the NeuroEpigenetics Laboratory and the MassGeneral Institute of Neurodegenerative Disease, discusses her genetic research, specifically concerning neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and X-linked dystonia parkinsonism. 


The NeuroEpigenetics laboratory at Mass General's MIND, under the direction of Dr. Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD, investigates the molecular mechanisms that underlie alterations in gene expression in disorders of the nervous system using the most current molecular biology tools. Currently, our efforts are focused on Huntington’s disease as well as addiction. Thus far, we have identified a number of epigenetic alterations that lead to changes in gene expression in animal and cell models of Huntington’s disease and drug abuse.

The Huntington’s disease projects are focused on the study of histone modifications, in particular histone acetylation. Our previous findings have shown that alteration in histone acetylation is one mechanism that underlies transcriptional dysregulation in Huntington’s disease. Targeting histone modifying enzymes such as histone deacetylases is a novel approach for the treatment of several neurodegenerative disorders including Huntington’s disease. Currently, as a collaborative effort we are focused on identifying specific and novel histone deacetylase inhibitors for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. We apply the most current techniques, such as chromatin immunoprecipitation, real-time PCR, and genome-wide location analysis, and use both cell as well as animal models of Huntington’s disease for our studies.

The NeuroEpigenetics lab is also interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie drug abuse as part of several collaborations with colleagues from MGH, University of Pennsylvania, and Mclean Hospital. It is now clear that repeated intake of drugs of abuse alters gene expression in limbic nuclei that underlies the neuronal and behavioral plasticity that characterizes addiction. Our research is aimed at identifying the epigenetic marks involved in the regulation of cocaine-induced alterations in gene expression in limbic nuclei. More specifically work from our laboratory focuses on determining how cocaine-induced chromatin remodeling leads to alterations in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression within the medial prefrontal cortex following exposure to cocaine. Our most recent efforts are focused on determining whether these specific epigenetic marks are heritable and persist beyond the F1 generation in rodents exposed to cocaine prenatally or via self-administration.

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