Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor
Chairman of the Department of Neurology
Director of the Center for Neurogenetics
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D. currently serves as the Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology and Director of the Center for Neurogenetics at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Informed by genetic causes of disease, his lab has studies converging mechanisms across different neurodegenerative disorders that have led to the development of targeted therapies and innovative clinical trials. They discovered a mechanism that links Parkinson’s (PD) and Gaucher’s diseases via lysosomal glucocerebrosidase (Cell, 2011) that led to development of targeted therapeutics ((Science Translational Medicine, 2019) that are currently in clinical trials. His team also uncovered novel converging lysosomal and mitochondrial mechanisms in various forms of PD that were observed only in human neurons, but not in mouse models (Science, 2017), providing a platform for improved translation of preclinical studies in PD. Their recent discovery of direct contacts between mitochondria and lysosomes (Nature, 2018) has fundamental implications for elucidating the role of organelle dynamics in physiological and pathological cellular functions. His group has made impactful contributions to the understanding of Huntington’s disease pathogenesis that led to novel therapeutic strategies (Science, 2002; Cell, 2004; Cell 2006; Cell, 2009, Nature Medicine, 2011).