Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc.

Frank P. Smith Professor of Neurosurgery
Co-Director, Center for Translational Neuromedicine
University of Rochester

Professor of Glial Cell Biology
University of Copenhagen

Dr. Nedergaard is Professor of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in Rochester, NY. She is also Professor of Glial Cell Biology and Co-Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her multiple interests range from basic research on neuron-glia interactions to their role in aging, small vessel disease, seizure disorders and cerebral blood flow. Foremost amongst her discoveries is the identification of the glymphatic system, a brain equivalent of the lymphatic system within which cerebrospinal fluid diffuses rapidly and mixes with interstitial fluids, thereby filtering metabolic byproducts that accumulate due to neuronal activity. Most recently, she published a landmark study in Science showing that the glymphatic system dramatically expands during sleep compared to waking – brain cleaning and detoxification is thus greatly facilitated during sleep, providing a novel and direct explanation for what we all generally consider sleep’s restorative effect.

Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Will Restoration of Normal Glymphatic Function Slow Progression of Cognitive Decline and Amyloid Plaques in a Murine Alzheimer Model?

This proposal will map glymphatic function as a function of aging in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. We also will test the hypothesis that exercise and improved sleep can slow the progression of cognitive decline by improving glymphatic clearance.