Chair’s Corner

Driven by his passion for scientific discovery and his desire to change the lives of millions of people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in Alzheimer’s disease and stroke research.”

Berislav Zlokovic, MD

Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair,
Department of Physiology and Neuroscience
Director, Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute

About Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD

Current Research

Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD has a life-long career in studying the role of cerebral blood vessels in the pathogenesis and treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and stroke. Using animal models and studying human brain, his laboratory has shown that dysfunction in the blood-brain barrier and brain microcirculation can accumulate before neuronal dysfunction and contribute to the onset and progression of different neurological disorders and symptoms including dementia. His research team has identified the cellular and molecular mechanisms in cerebral blood vessels causing disruption of the blood-brain barrier and neurovascular unit, which leads to neurodegeneration in models of Alzheimer’s disease, pericyte-deficient rodents and stroke. His group has also identified molecular mechanisms at the blood-brain barrier that maintain clearance of Alzheimer’s toxin amyloid-beta from the brain into the circulation, and its influx or re-entry from the circulation into the brain, reflecting an important physiological function of the blood-brain barrier in maintaining brain amyloid-beta homeostasis. Discoveries of his research team have contributed to the development of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s diseasedisease (Phase 2 and 3 studies) based on clearance of amyloid-beta and/or blockade of its re-entry into the brain, and stroke based on activated protein C treatment that has currently successfully completed assessment in stroke patients (Phase 2a) as a neuroprotective agent.

His lab’s more recent research interests are focused on genes that influence the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, particularly how APOE4, PICALM, and CLU affect the cerebrovascular system. In these studies they use different transgenic animal models, and human iPSC-derived neuronal and blood-brain barrier models of neurological disorders. He and his research team have also developed novel neuroimaging techniques in the living human brain and animal models and novel molecular biomarkers of the neurovascular unit to evaluate how blood-brain barrier and cerebral blood flow functions influence brain connectivity and cognition. They also remain interested in developing advanced approaches with activated protein C therapy for stroke and other neurological disorders.