Our research group aims to identify causes and biomarkers of susceptibility and early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other neurological disorders. These progressive and debilitating diseases carry significant personal, social, and economic burdens. Due to the lack of cures, prevention and early detection are critical. Existing clinical diagnoses typically occur after substantial, irreversible neuronal loss, which likely makes neuroprotective treatments less effective due to the extensive damage that has already occurred. Our work centers on prospective investigations integrating genetic, biochemical, and traditional epidemiological approaches. This is made possible by our interdisciplinary team of basic scientists, epidemiologists, and clinical investigators.

Current projects include:

  • Investigating the etiological role of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in MS. Our recent work strongly suggests EBV as the leading cause of MS. We are conducting studies to better understand the mechanisms through which the virus causes the disease, and exploring whether targeting the virus in MS patients can slow disease progression and improve symptoms. We are also investigating other environmental risk factors for MS, including dietary factors such as vitamin D and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Investigating the role of  lifestyle, diet, and biomarkers in determining PD risk. These projects include the assessment of non-motor signs of prodromal disease, and collaborations with molecular neuroscientists and clinical investigators to discover novel biomarkers. Our studies aim to bridge epidemiology and clinical trials research.
  • Conducting large longitudinal studies to understand the role of environmental factors, including infections and diet, in the development and progression of ALS. These projects have the potential to offer novel insights into the etiology of ALS, potentially leading to novel prevention and treatment strategies.