Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, presented at a special National Institutes of Health/Department of Defense workshop on the blood-brain barrier and disease. She spoke about the brain’s vascular system and its role in neurological diseases.

In neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain trauma, and Alzheimer’s disease, the blood-brain barrier is disrupted. When this happens, blood clotting proteins leak into the brain and can wreak havoc. However, it is unknown whether a break in the blood-brain barrier is a result of disease or the cause of it. Dr. Akassoglou discovered that one blood protein in particular, fibrinogen, is implicated in multiple sclerosis and may be exploited to both diagnose and treat the disorder.

Dr. Akassoglou is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and director of the Gladstone/UCSF Center for In Vivo Imaging Research. She is also a professor of neurology at the Univeristy Of California San Francisco.