• Uncovered a naturally occurring, thyroid hormone-derived compound that produces torpid state in rodents and could help physicians stabilize trauma patients.
  • Discovered the essential biochemical signal used by muscle to promote recovery from nerve injury.
  • Discovered that immuno-suppressant drugs used to fight organ transplant rejection can stimulate regrowth of nerve cells in the spine and brain, leading to a promising therapy for patients with brain damage, neurologic disorders and traumatic injury.
  • Discovered that brain cells in an area of the hippocampus can regenerate, challenging the conventional wisdom that the brain cannot regenerate neural cells -- a breakthrough that promises to help treat Alzheimer's-related dementia.
  • Discovered that an herb, Centella asiatica, contains chemicals that promote nerve regeneration.

Weight and exercise

  • Discovered that exercise increases the chemical BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in the hippocampus, and that it may not be beneficial to exercise addicts.
  • Demonstrated that workouts may result in increased blood flow to the brain and allow a person to be more mentally engaged.
  • Discovered one of the circuits in the brain that apparently memorizes and regulates a person's weight. The circuit is part of the adipostat, which is located in the hypothalamus.

Stroke research

  • Contributed to landmark studies of clot-dissolving drugs delivered to the precise brain region during a stroke, which can limit long-term disability and speed recovery.
  • Discovered several methods for removing blood clots in stroke victims using lasers, sound waves and thrombolysis.
  • Discovered, in collaboration with Legacy Health System researchers, that small strokes proactively protect the brain against damage caused by larger strokes; discovery may help develop brain-protecting medications.
  • Found that gingko biloba may be a potential stroke therapy.
    Revealed that a widely used stroke treatment may do more harm than good if given beyond the first three hours of the onset of symptoms.
  • Discovered that simultaneous use of ultrasound waves and t-PA to break down blood clots improves the overall effectiveness of t-PA and lengthens the window of time for its use.
    Identified a key brain cell communications link that may help researchers understand such conditions as stroke, epilepsy and head trauma.

Alzheimer's and dementia research

  • Established a connection between a common immune system gene and early onset of Alzheimer's.
  • Found that using MRI and other markers could enable neurologists to predict who will develop dementia in the future.
  • Discovered that brain tissue does not, as previously believed, automatically decrease with age.
    Identified a relationship between levels of a protein called lactoferrin in spinal fluid and the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Found that the rate of brain volume loss may help physicians predict whether patients will develop dementia before they even start showing signs of the disease.
  • Found that a series of genes related to mitochondrial metabolism in brain cells appear to be related to the development of Alzheimer's disease. This is the first time genes that are responsible for early cellular change in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis have been identified.

Multiple sclerosis research

  • Developed a novel vaccine to fight multiple sclerosis.
  • Invented a recombinant protein, RTL1000, that inhibits disease-causing white blood cells.
  • Conducted the first clinical trial of an antioxidant, lipoic acid, in MS.
  • Discovered that female sex hormones stimulate protective white blood cells in an animal model of MS.
  • Along with three other research centers, proved that interferon beta-1a (Avonex) was effective in treating relapsing MS.

Sexuality research

  • Demonstrated that previously unknown brain processes leading to the onset of puberty provide new understanding of brain function.
  • Demonstrated that certain groups of cells are different between genders in a part of the sheep brain controlling sexual behavior, and that brain anatomy and hormone production may determine whether adult rams prefer other rams over ewes.

Nanotechnology research

  • Discovered that dopamine molecules are released as packages from vesicles, in branch-like extensions of neurons called dendrites, which then travel to dopamine receptors within milliseconds.
  • Nanotechnology research showed guidance proteins can control neuron dendrite and axon growth.
  • Demonstrated that an iron oxide nanoparticle as small as a virus (ferumoxtran-10) can outline not only brain tumors under magnetic resonance imaging, but also other lesions in the brain that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
  • Invented a groundbreaking technique that allows researchers to videotape cell communication.

Drug research

  • Discovered that a drug designed to treat seizures also can reduce severe pain caused by nerve damage in shingles patients.
  • Identified a neuroprotective drug to reduce nerve degeneration from chemical exposure.
    Discovered brain signaling system that modulates pain sensitivity, a finding that could lead to new opioid painkillers without the unwanted side effects.
  • Identified a trace amine receptor that appears to be involved in the body's response to mood-altering drugs, a finding that may help explain some drugs' dangerous side effects.
  • Discovered that absence of a certain enzyme, protein kinase Ce, in the brain greatly reduces both anxiety and stress in animals, information that may be applied to humans and used to develop better medications for anxiety disorders.
  • Discovered that Ritalin boosts the potency of levodopa, a drug that reduces Parkinson's disease symptoms.


  • Created the first and only drug prevention program proved to be effective in reducing illicit drug and alcohol use among adolescent athletes, now a model program for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Found that genetic makeup influences how chronic alcohol consumption affects blood pressure.
  • Discovered a faulty brain receptor associated with aggressiveness and increased alcohol consumption in rodents, perhaps directing the way to human genes involved in alcohol- and drug-seeking behaviors.
  • Documented the first reliable measurements of free-base nicotine in tobacco smoke, finding that some commercial cigarette brands contain 10 to 20 times higher percentages of nicotine in the so-called "free-base" form -- the form thought to be most addictive -- than believed up to now, and providing a new opportunity to understand the chemical elements that form the basis of tobacco addiction.
  • Found a connection between serotonin levels in the brain and cocaine addiction, bringing new insight into treatment and prevention.
  • Discovered that antidepression medication is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping women quit smoking.
  • Developed a lab test to screen potential anti-cocaine treatment medications.

Mental illness

  • Discovered a new family of molecules involved in regulating mental concentration, paving the way for design of new drugs to treat mental and movement disorders, including schizophrenia, epilepsy and myotonic dystrophy.
  • Identified ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Contributed to a better understanding of adolescent depression and schizophrenia.
  • Clarified the relationship between prolonged stress and vulnerability to serious illness and infertility.

Sleep and mood disorders

  • Discovered the relationship between light and the biological clock (circadian rhythms).
  • Created new therapies using light and melatonin to alleviate sleep and mood disorders, and to restore normal circadian rhythms in the blind.
  • Discovered the brain mechanism that regulates the body's cycle of sleeping and waking, illuminating the molecular basis of sleep and mood disorders.
  • Identified one of the genes, Mpdz, that influences drug physical dependence and associated withdrawal.