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The Center for Neuroscience
and Regenerative Medicine
Brain Tissue Repository

Director

Dr. Daniel Perl

Dr. Daniel Perl leads the CNRM Brain Tissue Repository.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Perl received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his medical training at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. He then completed postgraduate training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology at Yale University, after which he served for two years as a pathologist in the U.S. Public Health Service, stationed at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

He later served on the faculty of the Brown University Medical School and then the University of Vermont College of Medicine. At the University of Vermont, he began working on Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders. In 1986, Dr. Perl joined the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where for 24 years he served as Director of the Neuropathology Division and Professor of Pathology, Psychiatry and Neurosciences.

Dr. Perl has authored more than 260 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and is co-author of the 3rd edition of Oppenheimer’s Diagnostic Neuropathology, one of the leading textbooks in his field. He is highly regarded for his work on various aspects of the neuropathology of age-related neurodegenerative disorders, especially the role of environmental factors in their induction. He is the leading authority on the pathology of the fascinating complex of neurodegenerative disorders occurring among the native population living on Guam.

He recently became involved in investigations on the long-term effects of repeated head trauma in former NFL football players and other athletes in collaboration with the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Dr. Perl has won numerous awards for his research as well as his role as a medical educator.

In September 2010, Dr. Perl was recruited to the faculty of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., as Professor of Pathology. In conjunction with the congressionally mandated Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, he has established a state-of-the-art neuropathology laboratory dedicated to research on the acute and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury among military personnel.

Deputy

Dr. Diego Iacono

Dr. Iacono received his medical degree (MD) and PhD (Neuroscience) from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Gemelli Hospital, Rome, Italy. He then completed his residency in Neurology in Italy, which included clinical training periods at the Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital in Paris, France, and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK. During his clinical and research training Dr. Iacono focused on general neurology and neurological emergencies practice with a specialized focus on neurodegenerative diseases and an emphasis on dementias and movement disorders. He conducted numerous early-phase drug international clinical trials. After his clinical and research training in Europe, Dr. Iacono received post-residency training in clinical and experimental neuropathology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. At Johns Hopkins University, he began studying and publishing novel data related to normal and pathologic aging analyzing clinical, imaging, genetic and neuropathologic correlates of subjects enrolled in historical longitudinal studies of aging such as the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and the Nun Study.

Dr. Iacono was then called to direct the Brain Bank of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, following his post-residency training at Johns Hopkins University. At Karolinska Institutet, Dr. Iacono expanded his research on neurodegenerative diseases examining and comparing brains of identical and fraternal twins, all belonging to the Swedish Twin Study of Aging. Dr. Iacono then founded a brain bank and directed the Neuropathology Research activities of the Biomedical Research Institute of New Jersey and Atlantic Health System, NJ. Concurrently, he was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, NY City, NY.

In 2016, on the behalf of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF), Dr. Iacono joined the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD as research Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Brain Tissue Repository (BTR) and Neuropathology Core. In 2017 he obtained a National Faculty appointment at USUHS as Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pathology.

As Deputy Director of BTR and Neuropathology Core at CNRM, Dr. Iacono is contributing to establish and expand the first fully-dedicated brain bank and neuropathology research center in the world funded to investigate short- and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and TBI-related neuropsychiatric diseases, especially among military personnel. Dr. Iacono is also expanding his clinical and experimental research activities participating and initiating multiple collaborative grant-funded studies, including imaging-genetic-pathologic correlations in subjects with a history of single-TBI, repetitive-TBI and TBI-related neurodegenerative diseases with special emphasis on neuropsychiatric-neuropathological correlates. In addition, Dr. Iacono has recently established his own experimental neuropathology lab for basic research studies using human tissues and different rodent and non-rodent animal models for better understanding molecular aspects and pathophysiological mechanisms of TBI and related conditions.

Staff

Dr. Dara Dickstein

Dr. Dickstein received her PhD from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada where she examined the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. She then pursued her postdoctoral training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in New York, NY USA. During her postdoctoral training Dr. Dickstein explored the structural changes in neurons and synapses with aging and neurodegeneration using intracellular injections of neurons, confocal and electrom microscopy. After her postdoctoral training, Dr. Dickstein became an Assistant Professor at the ISMMS where her research focused on the study of selective neuronal vulnerability in ageing, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, using classical neuropathological as well as modern quantitative methods. During her tenure at ISMMS, she was a member of the Computational Neurobiology and Imaging Center  (CNIC). As a member of CNIC, Dr. Dickstein contributed to the creation of automated quantitative dendritic spine software called NeuronStudio that enabled accurate 3D analysis of individual neurons and spines in the brain at very high resolution. This led to Dr. Dickstein’s collaboration with MBF Bioscience where she contributed to the development of Neurolucida360. In addition to basic research, Dr. Dickstein participates in clinical imaging, in particular positron emission tomography (PET) in subjects suffering from concussive symptoms resulting from multiple mild traumatic brain injuries. In 2016, Dr. Dickstein moved her laboratory to the Uniformed Services Universities of Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. Here Dr. Dickstein’s research is still focused on neuronal and synaptic changes in neurodegeneration with a particular emphasis in traumatic brain injury as well as brain imaging. Through her research, Dr. Dickstein has established much national and international collaboration, and has become an expert in the techniques of intracellular injections, fluorescence quantification, confocal, and electron microscopy.