Michael E. Ward, M.D., Ph.D.

Investigator

Inherited Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit

NINDS

Building 35, Room 2A-209
35 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3704

301-594-6017

wardme@nih.gov

Research Topics

My group studies inherited age-related neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on discovering overlapping mechanisms of autosomal-dominant frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Many of the genes responsible for inherited FTD are now known, but we understand relatively little about how mutations in these genes cause disease or the functional relationship of these genes to each other. We recently discovered that patients with FTD caused by GRN mutations develop a striking lysosomal storage disease phenotype. Interestingly, a number of other FTD-related genes encode proteins involved in endocytic trafficking, suggesting the existence of converging disease mechanisms. To identify such mechanisms, we employ a combination of unbiased proteomic techniques, cellular and biochemical studies in human iPSC-derived neurons, disease models in mice, and translational studies in human subjects. Our expectation is that these studies will ultimately reveal central disease mechanisms of FTD and serve as a foundation for the development of effective disease-modifying therapies.

Biography

Dr. Ward received his B.S. from Kenyon College in 1999 and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. As a graduate student, he worked in Yi Rao’s lab and studied the regulation of cell migration during neurodevelopment. Following a neurology residency at the University of California in San Francisco, he sub-specialized in behavioral neurology and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Li Gan’s lab studying basic mechanisms of frontotemporal dementia. As a fellow he received an American Brain Foundation CRTF award and a NIH K08 career development award. In 2015 he joined the NINDS as an Assistant Clinical Investigator. His research focuses on identifying intersecting mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, with an ultimate goal of developing targeted, disease-modifying therapies for affected patients.

Selected Publications

  1. Fernandopulle MS, Prestil R, Grunseich C, Wang C, Gan L, Ward ME. Transcription Factor-Mediated Differentiation of Human iPSCs into Neurons. Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2018;79(1):e51.

  2. Wang C, Ward ME, Chen R, Liu K, Tracy TE, Chen X, Xie M, Sohn PD, Ludwig C, Meyer-Franke A, Karch CM, Ding S, Gan L. Scalable Production of iPSC-Derived Human Neurons to Identify Tau-Lowering Compounds by High-Content Screening. Stem Cell Reports. 2017;9(4):1221-1233.

  3. Ward ME, Chen R, Huang HY, Ludwig C, Telpoukhovskaia M, Taubes A, Boudin H, Minami SS, Reichert M, Albrecht P, Gelfand JM, Cruz-Herranz A, Cordano C, Alavi MV, Leslie S, Seeley WW, Miller BL, Bigio E, Mesulam MM, Bogyo MS, Mackenzie IR, Staropoli JF, Cotman SL, Huang EJ, Gan L, Green AJ. Individuals with progranulin haploinsufficiency exhibit features of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Sci Transl Med. 2017;9(385).

  4. Ward ME, Gelfand JM, Lui LY, Ou Y, Green AJ, Stone K, Pedula KL, Cummings SR, Yaffe K. Reduced contrast sensitivity among older women is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment. Ann Neurol. 2018;83(4):730-738.

  5. Willsey AJ, Morris MT, Wang S, Willsey HR, Sun N, Teerikorpi N, Baum TB, Cagney G, Bender KJ, Desai TA, Srivastava D, Davis GW, Doudna J, Chang E, Sohal V, Lowenstein DH, Li H, Agard D, Keiser MJ, Shoichet B, von Zastrow M, Mucke L, Finkbeiner S, Gan L, Sestan N, Ward ME, Huttenhain R, Nowakowski TJ, Bellen HJ, Frank LM, Khokha MK, Lifton RP, Kampmann M, Ideker T, State MW, Krogan NJ. The Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative: A Convergent Systems Biological Approach to Illuminating Key Molecular Pathways in Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Cell. 2018;174(3):505-520.


This page was last updated on August 30th, 2018