By 2030, the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are expected to rise significantly, underscoring the urgent need to develop improved ways to prevent, slow or stop disease progression.
To this end, the Guerreiro Lab investigates the genetic contributors to both common and rare/familial forms of these diseases. Together with the Brás Lab, they use cutting-edge genetic technologies, such as genome-wide genotyping arrays and next-generation sequencing, to identify genes and specific mutations that give rise to and propel these disorders.
Recently, they and their colleagues have identified several genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. They also have pinpointed disease-causing genes in several familial forms of neurodegenerative disease, with one of the most significant being the identification of mutations in TREM2 as the cause of a frontotemporal dementia-like phenotype in a group of Turkish families. This finding opened the door to the identification of TREM2 variants as very significant genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s.