Medicine news

Krainc elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Dimitri Krainc, MD, PhD, president and Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor of Neurology, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Dimitri Krainc, MD, Ph.D.President and Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor of Neurologywas elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) for his breakthrough discoveries in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

NAM is one of the three academies that make up the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine that serve as an advisor to the nation and the international community. Membership of the academy is considered one of the highest honors in science and medicine.

“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition. I take this opportunity to thank the many members and collaborators of the laboratory who have contributed to our research discoveries over the years, as well as my family whose support makes everything possible. Our work is inspired by the patients who suffer from devastating neurodegenerative diseases and their families who depend on us to find new treatments,” said Krainc, who is also director of the Simpson Querrey Neurogenetics Center.

Throughout his illustrious career, Krainc has studied the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders which ultimately paved the way for the development of new therapies. Informed by the genetic causes of disease, his group has discovered key pathogenic mechanisms in different neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In research published in Science, Cell, andnatural medicine, Krainc’s research group was the first to demonstrate Dysregulated gene expression early in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease. Their discovery of enhanced clearance of mutant huntingtin by autophagy and lysosomes have provided a basis for the development of new therapies.

In a landmark 2011 article in Cell, his group discovered a mechanism that links Parkinson’s and Gaucher’s diseases via lysosomal glucocerebrosidase. His team also discovered convergent lysosomal and mitochondrial mechanisms in human neurons derived from patients with Parkinson’s disease. This book, published in Science, provides a platform for better translation of preclinical studies into clinical trials. Based on these findings, Krainc’s group developed lysosomal glucocerebrosidase modulators as a potential targeted therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Their recent discovery of direct contacts between mitochondria and lysosomes, published in Nature, has fundamental implications for elucidating the role of organelle dynamics in physiological and pathological cellular functions.

Krainc is an inventor on several patents and has founded two biotechnology companies that are developing targeted therapies for Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Javits Award and, most recently, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Research Program Award, which provides outstanding researchers with eight years of funding and the freedom to conduct long-term innovative research.

Krainc has held leadership positions in various national and international organizations, including the American Neurological Association, where he currently sits on the Board of Directors. He is also an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to medicine.