Stephen Gomperts, M.D., Ph.D.

Physician Investigator (Cl)
Neurology, Mass General Research Institute
Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
MD UC San Francisco School of Medicine 2001
PhD UC San Francisco 1999
alpha-synuclein; alzheimer's disease; amyloid beta-peptides; basic systems neuroscience; corticobasal ganglionic degeneration; dementia with lewy bodies; hippocampal memory processing; hippocampus; lewy bodies; lewy body disease; mild cognitive impairment; neurophysiology; neuroprotection; parkinson disease; pet imaging; progressive supranuclear palsy; synapses; tau proteins; therapeutic development

Dr. Gomperts's research program focuses on Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Alzheimer's disease. In the lab, he combines neurophysiology and translational modeling to advance understanding and develop novel therapeutic strategies for these diseases. In human studies, he is working to understand the causes of cognitive impairment and neurodegeneration that arise in these diseases. 

A major focus of investigation is hippocampal systems function and its failure and rescue in these neurodegenerative diseases. To dissect how populations of neurons in the hippocampus represent information, encode new memories, and coordinate with other brain structures, his laboratory employs dynamic calcium imaging and high density multi-electrode recording in freely behaving animals. To determine how these processes are impaired in neurodegenerative diseases, their studies contrast normal animals with animal models of disease. Their research has shown that amyloid plaques disrupt normal systems function differentially across the sleep-wake cycle. Translational strategies include circuit-based optogenetics and innovative pharmacological approaches targeting disease-relevant neuroprotective and pathologic cascades.

Another major focus of Dr. Gomperts’ laboratory is to develop strategies to harness endogenous mechanisms of neuroprotection to develop new therapies for these diseases. These include recent efforts to identify and exploit small molecules that may mediate the reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease with certain environmental exposures. Such molecules may have broad therapeutic potential.

Dr. Gomperts’ laboratory findings inform his group's human studies, which include clinical trials, EEG studies, and PET molecular imaging targeting pathogenic processes, including amyloid, tau, and alpha-synuclein, among others.