Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center

The Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center (PNGC) was founded in 2016. The Center is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative and includes more than a dozen faculty members who specialize in neurodegenerative disorders and dementia, human genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and biostatistics. Among the many scientific programs supported by PNGC are several NIH-funded projects (ADGC, CASA, CGAD, NIAGADS) that build new cohorts, coordinate analysis, and disseminate data and findings for Alzheimer’s disease. These projects form the national hub for AD genetics research and drive the AD Sequencing Project (ADSP), a White House/NIH initiative with ~150 scientists from 19 institutions nationwide to sequence the DNA of 15,000 individuals.

Dr. Gerard Schellenberg, Director; Dr. Li-San Wang, Co-Director

Scientific Mission

Study genetics and genomics neurodegeneration to find novel therapeutic approaches
• lead large genetics and genomics collaborations
• Research new experimental and computational methodology
• Develop resources for nationwide and international projects
• Train next generation scientists
Background: PNGC programs form the national hub for AD genetics and drive the AD Sequencing Project, a White House/NIH initiative. NIH committed ~$70M to these projects to build new cohorts, coordinate analysis, and disseminate data.

Faculty: Penn faculty members whose research interests are relevant to the scientific mission of the center are welcome to join. Non-Penn researchers may be Associate Members. Members attend seminars/meetings, collaborate on research projects, contribute to internal core programs, and participate in training. Currently PNGC has 12 members from 6 departments.

Internal cores: Provide support through collaborations/subcontracts. These cores consolidate resources and expertise through existing infrastructure incorporated into the center, and/or as “virtual” cores that utilize PMACS, PSOM, University services, and outside collaborators/vendors.

  • Information technology: data management, high-performance computing, system support.
  • Biostatistics: study design, analysis, new methodology for collaborative genetics/genomics.
  • Genomics: expertise, capacity and admin support.
  • Education: training for students, postdocs, and staff members.

Long-Term Strategic Objectives
• Expertise and capacity for translational research of neurodegeneration genetics
• International and national network in neurodegeneration genetics
• Capacity for managing and analyzing large genomics data
• Access to large population genomics data for neurodegeneration
• Industry collaborations translating genetics to molecular mechanisms/therapeutic targets
• Precision medicine for neurodegeneration
• Fund raising and outreach
• Training program for neurodegeneration genomics supplementing existing training programs