The Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases takes an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to the study of neurodegenerative diseases and their mechanisms. Diseases that are studied include Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The vision behind the creation of PIND is because of the following statistic – it is estimated that approximately one in four Americans will suffer from a neurodegenerative disease and virtually every person will, at some point, have a family member with one of these diseases. However, the underlying mechanisms of neurodegeneration and how it leads to disease are not well understood. Because the complexity of these diseases makes it impossible for any single scientist to find the cause or cure, it was decided that a collaborative and integrated approach involving interactive groups of clinicians and scientists would be the best way to make headway toward cures. By virtue of philosophy and architecture, the Pittsburgh Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases is a center where there are no walls between individual scientists and no barriers between basic scientific inquiry and translation of the latest findings into new treatments.
The mission of this center is to transform cutting-edge science into novel therapies and diagnostics that directly benefit individuals affected by neurodegenerative diseases. PIND’s research portfolio spans from laboratory studies of molecular and cellular mechanisms all the way to clinical trials, including gene therapy in people with Parkinson’s disease. This mission is bolstered by the integrations of clinical programs in the department of neurology, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic and the Muscular Dystrophy Association ALS Center. Because of this collaboration, PIND is actively engaged in clinical research, coordinating or participating in therapeutic trials in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and ALS.
The Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases is known as a “Center Without Walls” which means it exists in an open floor plan laboratory space in order to facilitate collaboration between scientists of multiple disciplines. This technique allows a free flow of ideas between researchers. PIND is located on the seventh floor of Biomedical Science Tower 3 at the University of Pittsburgh.
PIND was established with generous one-time gifts from the Scaife Family Foundation, the DSF Charitable Foundation and UPMC. It brings together scientists from departments within the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, including Neurology, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Pathology and Structural Biology.
J. Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD, Love Family Professor of Neurology, is the Director of the Pittsburgh Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases.