Research Line 1: Neurological diseases are responsible for approximately 6% of the total disease burden worldwide.
With the aging population this percentage is expected to rise further, especially due to the increase in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Despite the high disease burden and the devastating effects of neurological disease on the social environment of the patients, the treatment of the major neurological diseases is in most cases still limited to alleviating symptoms.
Among the neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) there is an urgent need for novel therapies aimed at halting disease progression or inducing regeneration. This will only be achieved by the identification of the molecular pathways responsible for disease progression and the development of appropriate animal models and screening methods, which allow the rapid assessment of novel compounds targeting these pathways. Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, Fragile-X, Tuberous sclerosis, Angelman syndrome, channelopathies and Neurofibromatosis are based on genetic factors which give rise to aberrant brain development and major mental impairments that begin in early childhood or in adolescence. Treatments aimed at restoring synaptic function provide a promising new avenue, but the difficulty of relating changes in rodent behavior to the human correlates of these mental conditions severely hampers the effective screening of novel drugs.