Welcome to the Lab
The Selective Vulnerability Research Laboratory is led by Dr. William Seeley, a neurologist and clinician-scientist at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC) who specializes in neurodegenerative disease.
We study human brain organization in health and use this information to pinpoint how specific neurodegenerative diseases disrupt normal brain functioning.
Our laboratory employs two major complementary approaches. Using modern neuroimaging techniques, we map the specific neural networks and regions targeted early in each disease. We then direct our investigations to the cellular and molecular levels with quantitative neuropathology experiments focused and guided by our neuroimaging results.
The healthy human brain implements cognitive, behavioral, and motor functions through multiple interacting levels of organization. Appreciation for this complexity aids the study of neurodegenerative diseases, each of which selectively undermines a specific brain system. Despite significant progress toward clarifying neurodegenerative diseases at the molecular level, the phenomenon of “selective vulnerability” remains unexplained.
Our work is based on the principle that understanding selective vulnerability will prove helpful, and perhaps even necessary, in the search for effective treatments.
Our overarching goal is to address the problem of selective vulnerability, a defining yet enigmatic feature of all neurodegenerative diseases. We use integrative neuroanatomical methods to explore disease-related vulnerability patterns, seeking knowledge that will translate into better diagnosis and treatment for patients.