UCLA is among the first programs in the world using genomic research, including exome sequencing, to advance care for brain diseases. We are conducting novel research to uncover genetic factors that impact conditions such as movement disorders, dementia, stroke and epilepsy. These efforts will enhance diagnostic capabilities and allow us to develop more effective treatments.
About the Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center
Neurogenomics researchers at UCLA are tackling important research questions. The answers to these questions will advance care for brain diseases. Our Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center (CNRC) brings together renowned experts in areas such as genomics, bioinformatics and molecular neurobiology to accelerate scientific discovery.
Our efforts are reducing the length of time it takes to make an accurate diagnosis. Instead of waiting several years, we sometimes diagnose complex brain diseases in as little as a few weeks. We are now poised to bring new care methods to patients faster than the more siloed approach of the past. Read more: Why UCLA?
Our Neurogenomics Research
Recruiting research participants and collecting biosamples
CNRC researchers are able to recruit research participants at UCLA’s high-volume outpatient neurology clinics. Any interested UCLA neurology patient can participate in CNRC research after completing a simple online consent process. Thousands of patients choose to do so each year.
Performing exome sequencing
- As a genomic technology pioneer, UCLA was among the first programs in the country to use exome sequencing in brain diseases. The exome is the portion of the DNA code where most disease-causing mutations occur.
- CNRC research participants submit an extra sample of blood or saliva during an already-scheduled lab visit. We may use the blood sample to perform a sophisticated form of genomic sequencing known as exome sequencing. Find out more about participating in neurogenomics research.
- This sophisticated form of genomic sequencing allows us to quickly and efficiently analyze the vast amounts of data that lie within our DNA. Learn more about neurogenomics >
Partnering with UCLA’s Institute for Precision Health
- We partner with UCLA’s Institute for Precision Health to develop and maintain a unique neurogenomics biobank. This partnership gives us access to infrastructure and expertise that leads to efficient research studies. Find out more about our Institute for Precision Health.
- For example, we have taken important steps to connect patients’ biosamples with phenotype data from their medical records. These efforts along with a well-organized consent process allow us to bring medically actionable findings back to patients at the individual level. We are one of only a few programs in the country with these capabilities.
Supporting investigator-initiated research
- Genomic sequencing data and UCLA’s expertise in bioinformatics come together to present information in ways that inspire novel research. Scientists from multiple specialties, including genetics and neurobiology, collaborate to further explore mutations and what they mean for people with brain diseases.
Developing new care methods and treatments
- As research yields new care methods and treatments, we bring them to the patients who need them the most. For example, we may find that a patient with refractory epilepsy has a gene mutation that is more responsive to some medications than others.
- We have structured our biobank to easily connect actionable findings to patients who may benefit from them. Our consent process informs us which patients would like to receive this type of information. In most cases, patients will continue seeing the UCLA neurology clinicians they already know and trust.
Learn more about the Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center, including how to become a research participant, by calling us at 310-825-2320.