Nigel Cairns, PhD
Professor of Neurology
The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain degenerate to cause severely debilitating cognitive and motor symptoms in a group of disorders collectively called frontotemporal diseases. These diseases are both clinically and pathologically heterogeneous and although genetic causes have been identified in several families, the causes and pathogenesis of these diseases remain largely unknown. Nigel Cairns is interested in clarifying the pathological changes in the brains of these patients who come to autopsy and the mechanisms by which nerve cells die and cause dementia. His multidisciplinary approach uses histological, biochemical, and cell biological methods, and a mouse model of dementia to determine the role of candidate pathological proteins in frontotemporal diseases. These experiments may throw new light on the pathogenesis of this enigmatic group of diseases and generate novel avenues for therapeutic intervention.