Lennart Mucke, MD
Director and Senior Investigator
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Other Professional Titles
Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
Executive and Administrative Assistants
More about Dr. Mucke
Dr. Mucke is the Director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease. He is also the Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and a Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He has joint appointments in UCSF’s Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences, and Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Graduate Training Programs and teaches as an attending physician in neurology at San Francisco General Hospital.
Dr. Mucke is a graduate of the Georg-August University (Magna Cum Laude) and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Neurobiology) in Göttingen, Germany. He trained in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and in neuroimmunology and neurovirology at The Scripps Research Institute, where he was subsequently appointed to the faculty. He was recruited to the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF in 1996.
Dr. Mucke’s research focuses on processes that result in memory loss and other major neurological deficits, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. He has generated informative experimental models of these conditions and used them to identify novel strategies to prevent neurological decline. As the founding Director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, he has created a leading program for research and training in disease-focused neuroscience.
Dr. Mucke is a member of the American Neurological Association, the Association of American Physicians and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. He has served on the National Advisory Council on Aging for the National Institutes of Health and is a member of the Senate of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).
Awards and honors Dr. Mucke has received for his accomplishments include the Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology, the Metlife Foundation Award for Medical Research, the Kalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award and the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, a MERIT Award from the NIH, and an Award for Excellence in Direct Teaching and Mentoring from the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators.
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Other Professional Titles
Joseph B Martin Distinguished Professor, Neuroscience and Professor, Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
Executive and Administrative Assistants
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.
Current 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?
I joined Gladstone because it gave me a unique opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary, highly interactive research program in disease-focused neuroscience. I much appreciate our institutes’ adventuresome team spirit, uncompromising standard of excellence and genuine commitment to fighting devastating diseases.
- 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.
Free University Berlin, School of Medicine
Georg August University, School of Medicine, (MD, Magna Cum Laude)
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
The Scripps Research Institute
AgeneBio, Inc., Scientific Advisory Board
American Neurological Association
Association of American Physicians
Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research (NASCR), Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, Scientific Advisory Board
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 (ISTAART)
iPieran, Inc., Scientific Advisory Board
Medical & Scientific Advisory Council, Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada
Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society
National Advisory Council on Aging
National Advisory Council on Aging, Task Force on Minority Aging
Neuropore Therapies, Inc., Scientific Advisory Board
Probiodrug AG, Scientific Advisory Board
- Career Development Award, Thyssen Foundation (1982)
- Weil Award for Best Paper in Experimental Neuropathology (1990)
- Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholarship Award, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (1991)
- Zenith Award, Alzheimer’s Association (1999)
- MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research, MetLife Foundation (2003)
- The Arthur Cherkin Memorial Award, UCLA (2006)
- Award for Excellence in Direct Teaching and/or Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators (2007)
- Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases, American Academy of Neurology (2010)
- LSU Chancellor’s Award in Neurosciences (2011)