Brain Health

A Systems Approach to Brain Health

“Brain health is the cornerstone of personal wellness, especially as we age. We need to monitor, preserve and improve the health of our most important organ throughout life.”

-Dr. Nathan Price, ISB associate director and professor



Many neurological conditions are difficult, if not impossible, to cure. This is especially true in the late stages of disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is one such debilitating condition that currently has no cure, and has stymied researchers at every turn.

Prevention and early detection are crucial to identify these conditions at the earliest possible stage.



ISB, along with a collaborative network of partners, is pioneering a multimodal approach that combines personal data, lifestyle factors, cognitive training and systems medicine — and is rigorously testing these new approaches in clinical trials. This approach is critical to prevent, slow, and even reverse many neurological conditions before they become irreversible.

To date, our researchers:

  • Use deep phenotyping  to create personal, dense, dynamic data (PD3) clouds in the hopes of identifying neurological conditions even before symptoms appear.
  • Are collaborating in a clinical trial exploring the effects of health coaching and brain training exercises on cognitive function for patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Developed partnerships to improve brain plasticity through cognitive training.
  • Secured grant funding from several institutions, including multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, to enable a systems approach to tackling neurological conditions and identifying treatment possibilities.
  • Collaborated with a team that showed potential infectious agent-connection with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Identify disease-perturbed networks through systems analysis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.





ISB is leading analytics associated with a large consortia for Alzheimer’s disease, such as the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP-AD), an effort funded by both the National Institutes of Health and a precompetitive consortium of pharmaceutical companies devoted to immediate global and free data sharing to advance the research community.  These efforts provide novel drug targets for developing network-informed approaches to Alzheimer’s treatments.


ISB is among several organizations conducting Coaching for Cognition in Alzheimer’s (COCOA), a clinical trial testing how health coaching affects the cognitive function of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and analyzing longitudinal, multi-omic data to explore transitions in cognitive function over time. Participants are currently being enrolled in the trial.



  • Price, Nathan D., Andrew T. Magis, John C. Earls, Gustavo Glusman, Roie Levy, Christopher Lausted, Daniel T. McDonald, et al. 2017. “A Wellness Study of 108 Individuals Using Personal, Dense, Dynamic Data Clouds.” Nature Biotechnology.
  • Chakrabarty P, Li A, Ladd TB, Strickland MR, Koller EJ, Burgess JD, Funk CC, Cruz PE, Allen M, Yaroshenko M, Wang X, Younkin C, Reddy J, Lohrer B, Mehrke L, Moore BD, Liu X, Ceballos-Diaz C, Rosario AM, Medway C, Janus C, Li HD, Dickson DW, Giasson BI, Price ND, Younkin SG, Ertekin-Taner N, Golde TE. 2018. “TLR5 decoy receptor as a novel anti-amyloid therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Experimental Medicine.
  • Readhead B, Haure-Mirande JV, Funk CC, Richards MA, Shannon P, Haroutunian V, Sano M, Liang WS, Beckmann ND, Price ND, Reiman EM, Schadt EE, Ehrlich ME, Gandy S, Dudley JT. 2018. “Multiscale Analysis of Independent Alzheimer’s Cohorts Finds Disruption of Molecular, Genetic, and Clinical Networks of Human Herpesvirus.” Neuron.
  • Ament SA, Pearl JR, Cantle JP, Bragg RM, Skene PJ, Coffey SR, Bergey DE, Wheeler VC, MacDonald ME, Baliga NS, Rosinski J, Hood LE, Carroll JB, Price ND. 2018. “Transcriptional regulatory networks underlying gene expression changes in Huntington’s disease.” Molecular Systems Biology.
  • Chakrabarty P, Li A, Ceballos-Diaz C, Eddy JA, Funk CC, Moore B, DiNunno N, Rosario AM, Cruz PE, Verbeeck C, Sacino A, Nix S, Janus C, Price ND, Das P, Golde TE. 2015. “IL-10 alters immunoproteostasis in APP mice, increasing plaque burden and worsening cognitive behavior.” Neuron.
  • Ament SA, Pearl JR, Grindeland A, St Claire J, Earls JC, Kovalenko M, Gillis T, Mysore J, Gusella JF, Lee JM, Kwak S, Howland D, Lee MY, Baxter D, Scherler K, Wang K, Geman D, Carroll JB, MacDonald ME, Carlson G, Wheeler VC, Price ND, Hood LE. 2017. “High resolution time-course mapping of early transcriptomatic, molecular and cellular phenotypes in Huntington’s disease CAG knock-in mice across multiple genetic backgrounds.” Human Microbial Genetics.
  • Ko Y, Ament SA, Eddy JA, Caballero J, Earls JC, Hood L, Price ND. 2013. “Cell type-specific genes show striking and distinct patterns of spatial expression in the mouse brain.” PNAS.



ISB’s multi-pronged and collaborative approach to brain health is unique. We have made great strides in early identification of neurological conditions, and our collaborations are showing great promise in a research arena that has thus far resulted in failure.

However, our work is far from done. Your support is crucial to our quest of to dial in methods for identifying people with neurological conditions and

For more information, please contact:

Nick Newcombe | 206.732.1287 |