About Domenico Pratico
Director and Professor, Alzheimer's Center at Temple University
Domenico Pratico's, MD, research area is clinical pharmacology with a special focus on the cellular and molecular aspects of cell oxidative biology and a particular interest in small molecules such as bioactive oxidized lipids.
This area is very broad and extends to multiple disciplines including aging, cardiovascular diseases as well as neurodegeneration. Our work in the biology of oxidized bioactive lipids has significantly contributed to the current understanding of their importance as biomarkers, mediators of cellular and molecular events involved in the pathogenesis of several clinical conditions, and therapeutic targets for preventing and treating human diseases.
I have a broad and solid background in basic and clinical neuroscience with specific training in molecular and cellular neurobiology. As a Professor of Neural Sciences, I have dedicated my academic career to the study of neurodegeneration. As an independent PI with over 20 years of experience, I have published more than 280 peer-reviewed papers.
My main research area has been the neurobiology of small molecules, enzymes, and pathways as modulators of and contributors to cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related tauopathies (i.e., Pick’s a disease, Progressive supranuclear palsy) and Down syndrome.
Areas of emphasis of my research program are oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, lifestyle, environmental stressors, proteostasis, and endosomal protein sorting and trafficking. I am interested in understanding how each of these different players regulates APP processing, Aβ metabolism, synaptic/neurotoxicity of Aβ, tau metabolism, neurofibrillary tangles formation and how they are linked to synaptic dysfunction and pathology, behavioral impairments and ultimately neurodegeneration.
Moreover, I have always been committed to translating studies of the basic biology of neurodegeneration into new therapeutics by implementing a comprehensive experimental approach that combines in vitro systems (primary neurons and neuronal cell lines), and in vivo models (transgenic mice) of these diseases as well as human studies. Thanks to my vast experience in the neurobiology of AD (biochemistry, neuroanatomy, and neuropathology) together with the analysis of the functional aspect of the phenotypes of this disorder (memory and learning) I have been leading a successful research group.
I have been continuously funded by the NIH as well as private foundations during my entire career, which enabled me to develop an outstanding and multifaceted research program. During my academic years, I have consistently demonstrated a record of creative research, and successful and productive work, and fostered fruitful collaborations with my peers in an area of high relevance to neurodegenerative diseases. All these facts together with the accumulated expertise, proven leadership, training, and motivation have prepared me well to actively contribute to the success of the Alzheimer's Center at Temple.
The research activities in Pratico’s lab are focused on areas of investigation that are relevant to brain health, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and related dementias. We are also very interested in drug discovery for novel neurotherapeutics and the identification of molecules in the brain as well as in the blood and or urine that could help us in the diagnosis and as well as therapy of these diseases.
Areas of Research
Investigation of modifiable risk factors for late-onset AD and the mechanisms whereby they influence the pathogenesis of the disease: Homocysteine, High-fat diet, High sugar diet, and its role in modulating the expression of genes important for the development of AD phenotype.
Role of neuroinflammation in neurodegeneration: the five-lipoxygenase and the leukotriene pathway. Development of novel therapeutic tools which, by targeting this pathway could be implemented as viable disease-modifying agents for AD and related tauopathies.
The effect of in utero determinants in the development of the neuropathological lesions which are the hallmark of AD (amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles). Discovery of the molecular pathways involved in their biological effects and implementation of targeted strategies aimed at preventing or halting AD development.