MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Translating today's discoveries into tomorrow's cures

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Bacskai, Brian, PhD

Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Principal Investigator, Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Lab Phone: 617-726-2000
Fax: 617-724-1480
Lab Address: Building 114, 16th Street, Room 2010


Brian Bacskai uses optical techniques to ask fundamental questions in Alzheimer's disease research. Using the mulitphoton micrsocopy imaging technique, senile plaques of Alzheimer's disease can be detected and characterized in the brains of living transgenic mice. This approach was used to study a way to clear senile plaques based on immunotherapy, as well as to characterize new factors that target amyloid in preclinical development for PET imaging in humans. The lab is also optimizing anti-amyloid- therapeutic approaches, and imaging the anatomy and physiology of specific cell types in the brain before and after treatment. Development of novel optical techniques is ongoing, and includes methods to measure protein-protein interactions using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM), and non-invasive approaches to amyloid imaging in intact animals.


After earning a Bachelor ’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1985, Brian Bacskai went on to receive a Ph.D. from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 1990. With an interest in optical imaging, Dr. Bacskai combined technological development of instrumentation with a focus on specific biological problems. Dr. Bacskai completed a post‐doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego where he studied the mechanisms of learning and memory in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Tsien. In 1998, Dr. Bacskai joined the Alzheimer Disease Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital.