Neurology &
Neurological Sciences
Frank Longo Research Lab

Welcome to the Frank Longo Lab

Research interests

Our research team is focused on the discovery of cellular signaling mechanisms that serve as a basis for the development of therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and other neurological disorders. In the lab's Neurotrophin Program, we pioneered the development of small molecule ligands targeted to neurotrophin receptors to promote novel signaling mechanisms. Small molecule-induced modulation of these mechanisms demonstrates therapeutic efficacy in models of Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Rett syndrome and Down's syndrome. These novel compounds also stimulate stem cells to promote the formation of new neurons. One of our compounds is currently under development for anticipated human trials.

In the lab's Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Receptor Program we have discovered a number of the fundamental roles of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) receptors by focusing on LAR, a prototype PTP receptor that we found to be present in the nervous system. Our team demonstrated the first CNS and PNS phenotypes in PTP receptor mutant mice, discovered PTP domains responsible for neurite promoting effects, found that LAR regulates Trk neurotrophin receptors, and showed that down-regulating LAR promotes stem cell proliferation and neurogenesis. We have also created a novel approach for modulating PTP receptor activity that shows promise in models of spinal cord regeneration and brain tumor therapy.

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