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Your Environment. Your Health.

Centers for Neurodegeneration Science

Program Leads

Annette G. Kirshner
Annette Kirshner, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator

Tel (919) 541-0488
Fax (919) 541-5064
Cindy Lawler
Cindy Lawler, Ph.D.
Branch Chief

Tel (919) 316-4671
Fax (919) 541-5064


Program Description

Millions of people worldwide suffer from neurodegenerative diseases—disorders in which certain types of nerve cells in the brain or body gradually lose function. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s are examples of neurodegenerative diseases. Although treatments may help relieve some of the physical or mental symptoms of such diseases, there is no cure.


Many neurodegenerative diseases are thought to be caused by an interaction of genes and environment—that is, a person might be genetically predisposed to a certain disease, but whether, when, and how severely the person is affected depends on what environmental factors he or she is exposed to during life. The exposures that harm nerve cells can occur long before symptoms are seen. 


To advance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and help create new approaches to prevent and treat them, NIEHS funds Centers for Neurodegeneration Science. At these centers, teams of top scientists from different disciplines collaborate to examine the root causes of neurodegenerative diseases.


Researchers at the Centers for Neurodegeneration Science look at how exposure to pesticides, metals, tobacco smoke, and other chemicals affect the development of neurodegenerative diseases.


Currently, NIEHS funds four Centers for Neurodegeneration Science (view all Grantees).


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