The McKee Lab’s research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and motor neuron diseases with a primary focus on the role of trauma and acquired injuries. The pathological research uses immunocytochemical, molecular, neuroanatomical and quantitative morphological methods performed on human central nervous system tissue and transgenic mouse models of human neurodegenerative disease. Clinically, our research team conducts comprehensive post-mortem psychological autopsies with the family and loved ones of donors. Dr. McKee’s work has been essential in establishing the neuropathological diagnostic criteria for multiple diseases, including CTE and for microvascular injury.
Currently, our work centers on the acute and long-term consequences of repetitive head injury and the role of trauma in initiating neurodegeneration. This work is addressed both pathologically and clinically through the National Institute of Health funded UNITE study (Understanding Neurologic Injury and Traumatic Encephalopathy), which is a retrospective analysis of, professional and amateur athletes, Veterans and other individuals who sustained cumulative repetitive traumatic brain injury(s) (TBI) before passing away. In addition, Dr. McKee and her team also do neuropathological analysis at the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Framingham Heart Study, and the Centenarian Study.