Research at the OHSU Brain Institute

There are more than 1,000 disorders of the brain and nervous system. These disorders result in more hospitalizations than any other group of diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Neurological diseases affect more than 50 million Americans every year, and cost more than $500 billion to treat.

Through neuroscience research, the OHSU Brain Institute is working to conquer neurological disorders and reduce their devastating impact on people’s lives.

Our research areas

OHSU Brain Institute experts are doing research on many neurological (brain and nervous system) disorders. These include:

Neurodegenerative disorders

  • Alzheimer's disease and related disorders 
  • ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease)  
  • Huntington's disease
  • Prion diseases diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and related diseases)

Neuromuscular disorders

  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Muscular dystrophy

Parkinson's disease and movement disorders 

  • Parkinson's disease 
  • Ataxias, dystonia (movement disorders)
  • Clinical research overview 
  • Parkinson's clinical trials 
  • Balance disorders lab 
  • Basic sciences labs 

Multiple sclerosis

  • Multiple sclerosis

Brain and metabolic disorders

  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes

Neurodevelopmental disorders

  • Autism
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Mental retardation
  • Spina bifida


  • Back pain
  • Migraine and related headache disorders
  • Shingles
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Sensory failure

  • Hearing loss and related disorders — vestibular, Ménière’s, tinnitus
  • Blindness and related disorders — macular degeneration

Brain and spinal cord injury

  • Brain and spinal tumors
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke

Epilepsy and sleep

  • Epilepsy
  • Narcolepsy and related sleep disorders - sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome

Neuropsychiatric disorders

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias
  • Substance dependency, abuse

Other areas of OHSU Brain Institute research

  • Gene diseases, gene regulation and gene therapy
  • Neuroendocrinology, including puberty and hormonal regulation
  • Circadian rhythm research, including seasonal affective disorder and jet lag
  • Brain imaging, including fMRI (fused MRI) technology
  • Neural prosthetics
  • Brain and nervous system regeneration and repair