Columbia University in the City of New York



As revealed by a cryo-electron microscope, the enormous protein megalin (LRP2) changes shape (A. Fitzpatrick, A. Beenken, L. Shapiro / Columbia's Zuckerman Institute).

The best medicine treats not the symptoms of an illness – but its underlying causes.

Yet even today, doctors do not know the exact causes of many brain diseases, which remain complicated and confusing. Battling diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's will require fundamental leaps in understanding.

At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, our researchers study how healthy nervous systems work to better understand sickness. Which genes help nerves to function properly? What molecules keep the brain working from moment to moment, and what happens when they go awry? How do systems in the brain communicate to give rise to the everyday activities of our minds, from decision making to memory formation?

Advances in fundamental knowledge about the brain today will lay the foundation for future innovations in treating and curing disease. Our work can further the goals of clinical researchers who target diseases of the brain and disorders of the mind, ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to schizophrenia and autism.

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