Patrizia Casaccia MD, PhD

Icahn School of Medicine / Advanced Science Research Center at GC-CUNY

Patrizia Casaccia, MD, PhD is an internationally recognized authority in the field of myelin. She is the Director of Neuroscience Initiative of the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Casaccia received her medical degree in Rome where she also started her residency in Neurology. She then moved to the United States where she obtained a PhD in Neurobiology. After post-doctoral work at Weil Cornell Medical Center, she moved to the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at NYU, and then to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (also known as Rutgers Medical School). In 2008, she moved to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where her work has acquired a translational focus. In 2016, she was appointed as the Director of Neuroscience Initiative at CUNY ASRC to direct a Center focused on Glial Biology. Dr. Casaccia serves on several review panels for scientific journals, and she is on grant advisory panels for the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Casaccia's work adopts molecular and cellular techniques to provide a thorough evaluation of the patient by a very detailed molecular analysis of feces, blood, and cerebral spinal fluid, in order to better understand MS and find new therapies. The laboratory research addresses several aspects of MS including 1) the relationship between diet, body weight, immune system, gut microbiota and disease; 2) the identification of mechanisms responsible for axonal damage and the progressive phase of the disease, with the goal to develop new targets for neuroprotection; 3) the identification of mechanisms of myelin formation during development and in animal models of MS, with the goal to restore lost function. The laboratory has established several national and international collaborations to study these questions and has made several important discoveries in the area of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection, as well as on the relationship between social experiences, diet and gut bacteria on myelin formation in the adult brain of mice. The findings have been published in top scientific journals, presented at several meetings around the world and have resulted in the identification of promising molecules that modify disease course in animal models of multiple sclerosis.