Confocal images of enriched cultures expressing Navβ2 wildtype

Kovacs Lab, Neurobiology of Disease Laboratory at MIND

Molecular research of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) focused on identifying cellular pathways regulating the generation of the toxic beta-amyloid protein (Abeta).

Lab Phone: 617-726-3668

Overview

My research focuses on the molecular events underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Among other neuropathological features, cortical deposition of an insoluble material, called amyloid, occurs in both the aging and the AD-afflicted brain. I am interested in identifying the cellular pathways regulating the generation of the toxic beta-amyloid protein (Abeta), and the factors involved in the subsequent neurodegenerative process associated with this peptide.

We have shown that ACAT inhibitors have reduced generation of Abeta in cell-based models of AD and dramatically improved brain pathology in a transgenic mouse model of AD. We are currently synthesizing and testing novel ACAT inhibitors.

Another major project concerns the physiological functions of presenilin/gamma-secretase and BACE1, the two enzymes that play a pivotal role in the generation of Abeta. Most recently, we established a signaling pathway involving both of these enzymes and regulating the activity of voltage-gated sodium channels in the brain.  We are now examining how sodium channel dysfunction may contribute to AD pathology.

Group Members

Biography

Dora M. Kovacs, PhDPrincipal Investigator

Dora M. Kovacs, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Neurology,
    Harvard Medical School
  • Associate Neuroscientist,
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Director, Neurobiology of Disease Laboratory

Research Scientists

Research Assistants & Technicians

  • Barren, Cory - Lab Technician
  • Sachse, Carolyn - Lab Technician

Research Projects

ACAT Inhibitors and New Alzheimer's Disease Drug TherapiesTherapies already developed for atherocyltransferase (ACAT) inhibitors, drugs specifically targeting one step of the cholesterol pathway, are being actively devesclerosis and cardiovascular disease are currently being considered for AD. Acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol aloped for treatment of cardiovascular disease.

We have shown that ACAT inhibitors have reduced generation of Abeta in cell-based models of AD and dramatically improved brain pathology in a transgenic mouse model of AD. We are currently synthesizing and testing novel ACAT inhibitors. Our overarching goal is to provide evidence that would strongly encourage clinical trial of ACAT inhibitors for AD.

Presenilin/Gamma-secretase and BACE1, and Sodium Channel Dysfunction

This major project concerns the physiological functions of presenilin/gamma-secretase and BACE1, the two enzymes that play a pivotal role in the generation of Abeta. Most recently, we established a signaling pathway involving both of these enzymes and regulating the activity of voltage-gated sodium channels in the brain.  We are now examining how sodium channel dysfunction may contribute to AD pathology.

Research Positions

Read about and apply for residency, fellowship and observership programs at http://www.massgeneral.org/neurology/education.

Apply for temporary positions (summer interns) through the Bulfinch Temporary Service Web site at http://www.massgeneral.org/careers/temporary.aspx. Search for all opportunities using ID# 2200484.

All applicants should register with the Mass General Careers Web site at http://www.massgeneral.org/careers/viewall.aspx. Request a list of current open positions at mghneurology@partners.org.

Publications

NCBI PubMed Publications

  1. Huttunen, H.J., Peach, C., Bhattacharyya, R., Barren, C,. Pettingell, W., Hutter-Paier, B., Windisch, M., Berezovska, O., Kovacs, D.M. Inhibition of acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol acyl transferase modulates amyloid precursor protein trafficking in the early secretory pathway. FASEB J., 2009, 23:3819-28.
  2. Kim, D.Y., Carey, W.B., MacKenzie Ingano, L.A., Wang, H., Yang, L.B., Pettingell, W.H., Lee, V. M.-Y., Woolf, C.J., Kovacs, D.M. BACE1 regulates voltage-gated sodium channel levels and activity. Nat. Cell Biol., 2007 9:755-764.
  3. Hutter-Paier, B., Huttunen, H.J., Puglielli, L., Eckman, C.B., Kim, D.Y., Hofmeister, A., Moir, R.D., Domnitz, S.B., Frosch, M.P., Windisch, M., Kovacs, D.M. The ACAT inhibitor CP-113,818 markedly reduces amyloid pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuron, 2004, 44:227-238.
  4. 4    Puglielli, L., Tanzi, R.E., Kovacs, D.M. Alzheimer’s disease: the cholesterol connection. Nat. Neurosci., 2003, 6:345-351.
  5. Puglielli, L., Konopka, G., Chang, T.Y., Tanzi, R.E., Kovacs, D.M. Acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase modulates the generation of the amyloid beta-peptide. Nat. Cell Biol. 2001, 3, 905-912.

Contact

Contact Us

Kovacs Lab - Dora Kovacs, PhD

Building 114, Charlestown Navy Yard

MassGeneral Inst. for Neurodegenerative Disease114 16th Street, Room 3010 Charlestown, MA 02129
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-3668
  • Fax: 617-724-1823
  • Email Us

E-mail Address

dora_kovacs@hms.harvard.edu

Mailing Address MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease
Genetics and Aging Research Unit
Neurobiology of Disease Laboratory
114 16th Street, Room 3010
Charlestown, MA 02129

Lab Phone: 617-726-3668

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