Explore This Lab

Research Overview

In our lab, we develop and apply statistical and computational tools to improve our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Building on the strong genetic predisposition of AD and the genetic risk loci discovered in our analyses, our recent focus is the integration of multi-omics data to pinpoint biological pathways and mechanisms. Specifically, we are working in these three research areas:

  1. Characterizing the genetics of AD using whole genome sequencing datasets across populations
  2. Combining multiple layers of biological information (genetics, metabolomics, etc.) to inform early detection of AD
  3. Characterizing the interplay between genetic predisposition and environmental exposures in the development of AD.

Lab Members

Dmitry Prokopenko, PhDDmitry Prokopenko, PhD
Principal Investigator

Dmitry Prokopenko, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, McCance Center for Brain Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His current research interests focus on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease and statistical and computational problems in large-scale whole genome sequencing and other -omics data. This includes rare variant studies, multi-omics studies, gene-by-environment, and gene-by-gene interaction studies. During and after his PhD, he made several major contributions in both: large- scale whole genome sequencing (WGS) analyses and method development for such analyses. Those contributions included methods to account for population structure using rare variants in WGS and several large-scale WGS studies of different phenotypes. Dr. Prokopenko performed one of the first large-scale WGS-based studies to identify novel genes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and driven by rare variants.

View Dr. Prokopenko's Harvard Catalyst profile

Julian Willett, MD, PhDJulian Willett, MD, PhD
Research Fellow

Julian Willett, MD, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher in the Prokopenko and Tanzi labs. His work is focused on understanding the genetic drivers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by studying individuals with pathological evidence of AD without symptoms and individuals with and without AD with backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research. His long-term interests are in studying the environmental factors that influence disease, using such exposures as a way to understand how they influence biology, and using them to understand a disease's more central mechanisms better. In his free time, Dr. Willett spends time with his family, reads science fiction (>13 books in 2023), and makes Youtube tutorial videos showing how to modify role-playing video games he enjoys playing.

Kristina MullinKristina Mullin
Senior Research Technologist

Mohammad Waqas
Research Technician

Recent Publications

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View Prokopenko Lab Alumni

Tiffany Ngai – CO-OP student
Younjung Choi – Research Technologist