• Taube/Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research

About The Taube/Koret Center

The goal of the Taube-Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (TKC) is to establish a translational research and development center that will undertake an ambitious task of preventing, treating, and curing neurodegenerative diseases; such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal Dementia. The center aims to achieve this goal with innovative programs that targets a critical gap between the discovery of putative targets, which typically occurs in academia, and the development of safe and effective drugs, which require the resources and expertise of industry. The TKC research program will consist of a target validation and drug development program and a target/drug discovery program. Both will benefit from access to experienced individuals with extensive industrial and drug development expertise and to highly experienced Contract Research Organization (CRO) providers.

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My path into medicine and science was not a straight one, at least not at first. In elementary and high school, I scored well on tests and received special opportunities, but I mostly tried to hide that geek side. It wasn’t cool, and it was definitely not a way to impress girls. In fact, I met the girl who became my wife in 7th grade (so my strategy worked!), and she can’t believe what a different person I actually am compared with the person she knew in high school. Believe it or not, most people thought of me as a jock (three sports: football, basketball, tennis). 

Frontotemporal Demetia

Although not as well-known as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a serious health problem. It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and the most common cause in those under age 65. It involves the loss of neurons in the frontal (behind the forehead) and temporal (over the ears) lobes of the brain. FTD is hard to diagnose, but it generally involves problems with changes in social behavior and conduct, loss of understanding of words, and difficulty in speaking. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, FTD does not affect memory.

Stem cells have amazing promise for making replacement tissues and organs. However, while that application might be some years in the future, stem cells have already proved to be a welcome breakthrough for neurodegenerative disease research. This is particularly true for a specific type of stem cells called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs that were discovered by Gladstone investigator Shinya Yamanaka.