“The mission of the Mesulam Center is to conduct cutting-edge research on the devastating neurodegenerative disorders that cause dementia. Through this research we seek to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of dementias so that we may identify novel therapeutic targets for the amelioration of disease. Our mission is also to clarify the neural organization of behavior and cognition in the human brain and to offer our patients and their families personalized care that addresses the symptoms as well as the underlying disease.”
Robert Vassar, PhD
Director, Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease
Davee Professor of Alzheimer Research
Welcome to the website for the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The mission of the Mesulam Center is to conduct cutting-edge research on the devastating neurodegenerative disorders that cause dementia. Through this research we seek to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of dementias so that we may identify novel therapeutic targets for the amelioration of disease. Our mission is also to clarify the neural organization of behavior and cognition in the human brain and to offer our patients and their families personalized care that addresses the symptoms as well as the underlying disease. We pursue this mission in a multidisciplinary setting that integrates patient care, training and research.
This website provides a gateway to our clinical programs, educational tools, patient services, training opportunities, research projects, ADRC development project grant offerings and the listing of resources that can be requested for collaborative investigations. The website was designed by center staff and faculty. I hope you will find it informative and that you will also feel free to contact us if you require additional information.
Who We Are
The Mesulam Center is a multi-departmental freestanding component of the Feinberg School of Medicine. We serve patients with neurological diseases that interfere with cognition and behavior. Areas of research include healthy brain aging, memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal degeneration, primary progressive aphasia, and related dementias. Our research spans the entire spectrum ranging from genes and molecules to neural circuitry, behavior, and cognition. In addition to our studies with human participants, we also utilize cellular and animal models of neurodegeneration and translate these findings to human disease.
Our center represents more than 50 core and affiliated faculty members from 14 departments in the Chicago and Evanston campuses of Northwestern University.
Principal components include:
- Neurobehavior and Memory Clinic of Northwestern Medicine
- Primary progressive aphasia research programs
- SuperAging research program
- Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P30) of the National Institute of Aging
- Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center of the State of Illinois
- Clinical trials program
- Quality-of-life enrichment programs
- Intramural educational programs
- Accredited training programs in behavioral neurology, neuropsychiatry, neuropsychology, neuroscience and social work
The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P30) conducts and promotes research in a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases. Its clinical core provides a registry of characterized patients for clinical trials, biomarker development, imaging, genetics and neurocognitive research. The neuropathology core acquires and distributes tissue and biofluids for research on the cellular and molecular biology of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degenerations. It also offers brain bank services for the movement disorders and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis programs at the Feinberg School of Medicine so as to integrate research on multiple forms of neurodegenerative diseases. The education core develops education and outreach programs for patients and families. The data and biostatistics core supports quantitative analyses and data base management for local and national collaborative projects. The imaging biomarker core provides standardized multimodal structural and molecular imaging for biomarker and clinicopathologic research projects. Patient, imaging and tissue resources are available for collaborative research and can be requested online.
Our Neurobehavior and Memory Clinic brings together neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, geriatricians, speech therapists and social workers in a seamless program that addresses diagnostic questions and treatment plans from multiple perspectives. It also provides the clinical setting for accredited training programs listed above.
One area of national prominence revolves around the syndrome of primary progressive aphasia, a condition that affects word usage rather than memory function. Our primary progressive aphasia program integrates patient care and research through federally funded magnet projects that attract participants from throughout the United States. Primary progressive aphasia provides a model for investigating the principles of selective vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases, the heterogeneity of dementias and the biological organization of the language network in the human brain.
Our clinical space is located on the 13th floor of the Arkes Pavilion. Administrative headquarters are located on Tarry 8, where clinicians and investigators in multiple disciplines have contiguous offices and laboratories. The proximity of bench space, brain bank, cognitive laboratories and neuroimaging analysis suites promotes translational thinking and training. Our approach is patient-based. A primary goal is to design personalized interventions that address the symptoms as well as the underlying medical disease. At the laboratory bench, the linkage between symptom and disease guides investigations on the neurobiology of neurodegenerative disorders. Similarly, the relationship of symptoms to the anatomy of neurodegeneration guides our work on the organization of behavior and cognition in the human brain.