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Lea Grinberg

Dr. Lea Tenenholz Grinberg is a neuropathologist specializing in brain aging and associated disorders, most notably, Alzheimer’s and neurological basis of sleep disturbances in neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, she is a Full Professor and a John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation Endowed Professor at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, part of the Executive Board of the Global Brain Health Institute and member of the Medical Scientific Advisory Group for the Alzheimer Association. She is also a Professor of Pathology at the University of Sao Paulo.


In 2003, Dr. Grinberg was among the founders of a brain bank in São Paulo, focusing on brain aging. This brain bank which she had since developed into an extremely prolific and highly-regarded institution, helped Dr. Grinberg prove that, contrary to what has been accepted previously, the brainstem and not the cortex, harbors the first detectable neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. In 2009, she was the recipient of the UNESCO-L’Oréal Award “For Women in Science,” and in 2010 she received the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation “Distinguished Research Scholar Award.” Currently, Dr. Grinberg is the Co-Leader of the UCSF/Neurodegenerative Disease Brain Bank, where she conducts neuropathological diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. She also directs the Human Biology Validation Core for the NIH/U54 Tau Centers Without Walls, is a principal investigator from the Tau Consortium and co-lead the Neuropathology Core for the LEADS project.


The Grinberg Lab at UCSF, which was established in 2009, is now home to almost 20 researchers, students and staff. The Grinberg Lab follows up on Dr. Grinberg’s initial discoveries to provide an integrated picture of brainstem vulnerability in AD and FTLD, including extensive studies on the neurobiological basis of sleep disturbances in these diseases aiming to provide personalized symptomatic treatment and improve the patient quality of life. The Grinberg Lab also investigates the factors influencing the clinical expression of Alzheimer’s pathology to lead to better diagnostic tools, the identification of risk factors for accelerated decline, and the therapeutic targets that minimize clinical decline in AD. The Lab combines classical quantitative neuropathological techniques with advanced computer vision tools and multiplex molecular probing in postmortem human tissue and neurons derived from induced pluripotent cells.


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