Franca Cambi, MD, PhD

  • Professor of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh
  • Deputy ACOS R&D, Veterans Administration, Pittsburgh

Dr. Cambi is a Board Certified Neurologist and a clinical investigator.  Her clinical practice is focused on Movement Disorders and Neurogenetics.  She has conducted several clinical trials on disease modifying agents for Parkinson Disease and has been a member of consortia on gene studies in Movement disorders and rare neurological diseases.  Her laboratory based research program has focused on several aspects of oligodendrocyte cell biology and myelination, ranging from transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of myelin gene expression and the impact of clinically relevant mutations on cell biology and myelin/axon biology in genetically modified mouse models.  A main focus of her current research is to investigate how oligodendrocyte and myelin contribute to recovery and repair from traumatic injuries and neurodegeneration.  Current studies are focused on the role of FUS, a DNA/RNA binding protein involved in transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression, in regulating myelination in development and in brain computer interface device performance in collaboration with Dr. Kozai. (Department of Bioengineering)

Education & Training

  • MD, Universita di Firenze (Italy), Medicine
  • PhD, Universita di Firenze (Italy), Neuroscience
  • Fellow, Shriver Center/MGH, Neuroscience
  • Intern, Medical College of Wisconsin, Medicine
  • Resident, Thomas Jefferson University, Neurology

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests 

  • Clinical:  Movement Disorders diagnosis and treatment; Neurogenetics
  • Research:   Myelin and oligodendrocyte biology in brain development and repair in traumatic injuries;  Molecular mechanisms of axon-glia interactions and their role in traumatic injuries and neurodegeneration

Board Certifications

  • Boards of Neurology and Psychiatry            

Professional Organization Membership

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Nominated American Neurological Association
  • American Society for Neurochemistry
  • Parkinson Study Group

Honors & Awards

  • Nominated Best Doctors in America

Selected Publications

Xing B, Brink LE, Maers K, Sullivan ML, Bodnar RJ, Stolz DB, Cambi F. Conditional depletion of GSK3b protects oligodendrocytes from apoptosis and lessens demyelination in the acute cuprizone model.  Glia. 2018 Sep;66(9):1999-2012. doi: 10.1002/glia.23453. Epub 2018 May 15.PMID: 29761559

Wellman SM, Cambi F, Kozai TD. The role of oligodendrocytes and their progenitors on neural interface technology: A novel perspective on tissue regeneration and repair. Biomaterials. 2018 Nov; 183:200-217. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.08.046. Epub 2018 Aug 22. Review. PMID 30172245

Espay AJ, Vizcarra JA, Marsili L, Lang AE, Simon DK, Merola A, Josephs KA, Fasano A, Morgante F, Savica R, Greenamyre JT, Cambi F, Yamasaki TR, Tanner CM, Gan-Or Z, Litvan I, Mata IF, Zabetian CP, Brundin P, Fernandez HH, Standaert DG, Kauffman MA, Schwarzschild MA, Sardi SP, Sherer T, Perry G, Leverenz JB. Revisiting protein aggregation as pathogenic in sporadic Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases. Neurology. 2019 Feb 12;92(7):329-337. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006926. PMID:30745444

Guzman K, Brink LE, Rodriguez-Bey G, Bodnar R, Kang L, Xing B, Sullivan M, Park HJ, Koppes E, Zhu H, Padiath Q, Cambi F. "Conditional depletion of FUS in oligodendrocytes leads to motor hyperactivity and increased myelin deposition associated with Akt and cholesterol activation", GLIA 2020, DOI: 10.1002/glia.23825

Wellman SM, Guzman K, Stieger K, Brink LE, Sridhar S, Dubaniewicz MT, Li L, Cambi F, Kozai TDY. “Cuprizone-induced oligodendrocyte loss and demyelination impairs recording performance of chronically implanted neural interfaces” Biomaterials 2020 May;239:119842. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.119842. Epub 2020 Feb 6.