Research

As a member of the region’s only academic health system, UC Health, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute offers its patients unparalleled access to cutting-edge research, world-class clinical trials, the most advanced technology and the latest innovations in medical treatment and care.

Hope for Tomorrow

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute is proud to be:

  • The developer of the first live, attenuated polio vaccine, developed by UC College of Medicine faculty member Albert Sabin, MD, in 1960.
  • The first to receive FDA approval to use the YAG laser to vaporize inoperable brain tumors by John M. Tew, Jr, MD, in 1984.
  • The pioneer of t-PA, tissue plasminogen activator, for the treatment of patients with ischemic stroke, which our faculty studied in 1987.
  • The national coordinating center for StrokeNet – a network of 25 regional stroke centers in the US.
  • A member of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT – a national network designed to expand new therapies and increase the efficiency and access to new clinical trials.
  • The developers of the FAST acronym, which has been adopted worldwide for stroke symptoms (Face droops, Arms drift down, Speech slurs, Time to call 9-1-1).
  • Cincinnati’s hub for the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) that created a genomic data analysis pipeline for 33 types of cancer.
  • World-renowned prominence in our Epilepsy Center for the testing of new antiepileptic drugs.
  • Founding member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), a clinical and research consortium organized to advance.

Highlights from 2016

In 2016:

  • 172 of our published articles appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • 94 clinical trials were offered to neurologic and psychiatric patients.
  • 25 basic (laboratory) scientists created extensive research, seeking cures and facilitating other discoveries and breakthroughs

Click to expand each center to learn more about its research areas and clinical trials opportunities.

The UC Brain Tumor Center is committed to the discovery of new treatments for brain tumors. That commitment embraces basic science research, translational research (the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments) and clinical trials involving new drugs, treatments and technologies.

The Molecular Therapeutics Program is a collaboration between the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and the UC Cancer Institute. It allows UC to build a subspecialized research team that will collaborate with the existing brain tumor clinicians and surgeons to address the problem of brain metastases through translational research and original clinical trials.

Our clinical research team includes physicians in all neuroscience specialties, neuro-imaging specialists, research nurses and regulatory experts. Our clinical trials explore new therapies, treatments or procedures for several types of brain tumors and related conditions, including acoustic neuroma, gliomas, glioblastoma multiforme, metastatic brain tumors and radiation necrosis. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The UC Comprehensive Stroke is committed to advancing treatments that offer the best possible outcomes for patients. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The Epilepsy Center has a long history of dedication to clinical and scientific research. As one of the leading international centers in drug development, drug comparisons, and the design of trials for drug testing, the center has helped bring 13 new treatments to market. The center has developed new methods of epilepsy surgery evaluation, and it has developed new methods for identifying seizures in comatose patients and for studying EEG and fMRI simultaneously to better understand underlying mechanisms of epilepsy. Our scientific experts have made discoveries related to depression and epilepsy, the genetics of epilepsy, seizure-like attacks not related to epilepsy, and cognitive testing that optimizes surgical treatment and that measures the effects of seizures and medications. We have conducted research into the best treatments for pregnant women with epilepsy. Our groundbreaking Stress Management Intervention for Living with Epilepsy (SMILE) uses smartphones in an effort to determine whether stress can precipitate seizures and, if so, whether a reduction in stress can keep seizures from occurring at all.

Our clinical research team includes physicians in all neuroscience specialties, neuro-imaging specialists, research nurses and regulatory experts. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

At the Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, a national Morris K. Udall Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research, our physicians combine clinical treatment expertise, medical research, new experimental compounds and proven, established medications to help determine the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Supported by a dedicated staff of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians, the research team is committed to changing the face of Parkinson’s disease through research and discovery. The team seeks new ways to manage and alleviate symptoms; it seeks new therapies to slow disease progression; and it seeks, above all, to find a cure.

Clinical researchers are exploring different strategies to improve freezing of gait and the effects of strength and balance training on balance and cognitive impairments in people with Parkinson’s disease. Other studies are examining the effect of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery on balance and the use of CoEnzyme Q10 as a potential disease-modifying agent for patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The Headache and Facial Pain Center advances treatments that offer the best outcomes for patients. Some of our recent innovations include:

  • Leading a scientific review on specific food triggers for migraines. Triggers include caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrites and excessive alcohol. Other studies have looked  at aspartame’s effects, which can trigger  headaches in a small percentage of people.
  • Demonstrating the link between lightning and  the onset of headaches and migraines.

Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The UC Memory Disorders Center is committed to advancing treatments that offer the best possible outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive impairment. Collaboration with our partners within the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and the UC College of Medicine has already improved our understanding of cognitive aging. Our research explores the implementation of new diagnostic tests, new medications, the potential for lifestyle modifications to impact cognitive health and the clinical impact of memory disorders upon quality of life.

The Cognitive Aging Program is part of the UC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, conducts research studies to identify mechanisms associated with age-related cognitive decline and to improve memory function in middle-aged and older adults. Our aim is to prevent or delay progression to dementia. These studies involve interventions that can be implemented through lifestyle modifications such as dietary manipulation and supplementation as well as pharmaceutical agents.

Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The UC Mood Disorders Center is a national research leader that actively creates the future of personalized medicine. One of our primary goals is to decrease the amount of time between the onset of a mood disorder and successful diagnosis and treatment for the patient. Our research areas include developmental neuroscience, neuroendocrinology, molecular neurobiology research, obesity research, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress neurobiology and addiction.

Our current research embraces more than two dozen clinical trials and research projects relating to alcohol and nicotine addiction, Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, bipolar mania and depression, major depression, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. We study brain physiology in people with psychiatric and behavioral disorders, the neurofunctional and neurochemical effects of medications, and the differences in brain function in people with different diagnoses. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The UC Neurobiology Research Center promotes basic research aimed at understanding causes of neurological and psychiatric pathologies, identifies novel and innovative strategies to advance treatments and cures, partners with clinicians to generate translational research programs linking the ‘bench’ to the ‘bedside’ and fosters collaborative research among UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and community partners including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.

Our current research areas include causes and possible treatments for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and panic disorder, epilepsy onset and disease susceptibility, assessment of prognosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders, schizophrenia and addictive disorder along with causes and devising new treatments for neuropathic pain.

The Neurosensory Disorders Center is committed to developing clinical and basic science research programs to help us understand, diagnose and treat all types of diseases and disorders of the senses. Some of our current research areas include voice and vocal fold, hearing loss – including genetics, diagnosis and treatment, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the effect of sound on the brain pathways and processing, inner ear disease, sleep apnea and swallowing disorders. Our team is involved with innovative research and clinical trials. With more than $4 million in funded research, our goal is to foster multidisciplinary relationships that advance science and lead to new treatments.

Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

The Neurotrauma Center has a long history of dedication to clinical and scientific research.

Clinicians work with researchers and drug and medical device companies to study developing and newly available technologies that seek to maximize outcomes following traumatic injury to the brain or spine and to minimize secondary injury to the traumatized area. These technologies can include new medications, treatment protocols, monitoring protocols, equipment and medical devices.

The Neurotrauma Center’s clinical research team includes physicians in all neuroscience specialties, neuro-imaging specialists, research nurses and regulatory experts. Patients who are treated at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.

Current research into Multiple Sclerosis focuses on the fundamental process of inflammation in the brain, how it starts, and how it can be slowed or stopped. Leading researchers in the field of neuroimmunology, neurosciences and neuroimaging have been recruited to the UC Waddell Center to participate in and initiate national clinical treatment trials that may someday solve the mysteries of this disease.

Our center supports dedicated physician-scientists who study various aspects of MS-related issues. We establish collaborations with physicians and scientists from Greater Cincinnati and throughout the world in the areas of immunology, neuro-virology, bioengineering and MRI physics. Our philosophy is to adopt a “multimodality” approach to MS-related research, whereby similar questions can be addressed in parallel in animal models of neuro-inflammation and in experiments performed on human cells and tissues, with MRI technology serving as a bridge between the two approaches.

With the substantial medical resources of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the UC Academic Health Center and the comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation programs at collaborating Drake Center and selected other providers, patients receive the best available care and benefit from the newest treatment technologies and therapies.

Our current clinical trials are carefully selected. Our goal is to select clinical trials that focus on novel, experimental therapies that have the potential to help patients who are inadequately treated by current, FDA-approved medications. Patients who seek treatment at our center will be offered the opportunity to participate in available clinical trials for which they qualify.