The Elahi Lab at UCSF investigates the role of endotheliopathies and blood-brain barrier dysfunction in brain aging and neurodegenerative disease.

We develop novel imaging and molecular tools to quantitatively capture endothelial pathologies and vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) in humans and build translational bridges to mechanistic studies. Our approach is multi-modal, combining deep clinical phenotyping, brain and retinal imaging as well as deep cellular and molecular phenotyping. For impactful therapies, the earliest, asymptomatic stages of disease need to be targeted. The challenge there is that asymptomatic goes un-noticed and un-studied in human research.

We therefore focus on genetic VCID as a means of understanding fundamental pathologies that can provide breakthrough insights for VCID across spectrum of genetic and sporadic disease. The two main genes we focus on are: NOTCH3 associated with Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), and APOE4, known as the most prevalent genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease. We seek to understand how these genetic variations contribute to brain aging and/or modify risk of neurodegenerative disease.

VascBrain Study
To view study details on the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences website, click here.

If you are a carrier of APOE4, or you or a family member have been diagnosed with a NOTCH3 mutation and you are interested in participating in our research please email the study investigator, Dr. Fanny Elahi:


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