Tracy Young-Pearse PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School

Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases
Department of Neurology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Mailing address:
ARCND Brigham and Women’s Hospital
60 Fenwood Rd.
Hale Bldg. for Transformative Medicine, 10016 O
Boston, MA 02115

Phone: 617-525-5783
Fax: 617-525-5200
email: tyoung (at) rics . bwh . harvard . edu

Administrative associate:
Joan Swan
jhswan (at) rics . bwh . harvard . edu

Tracy Young-Pearse is an Associate Professor in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the Department of Neurology.  She received her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College in her hometown of Saratoga Springs, NY.  She then went on to enter the Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) program at Harvard Medical School, where she received her Ph.D. in Genetics in the lab of Constance Cepko. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dennis Selkoe before starting her own lab in 2010. In 2019 she became the co-director of the Human Nervous System Diseases Program of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Young-Pearse’s lab uses cell and molecular approaches to study the functions of genes involved in neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases. Her lab has published numerous studies in top tier scientific journals, which have helped to shape the field’s understanding of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness. 

The Young-Pearse lab aims to understand the functions of genes that are responsible for  neurodegenerative and developmental disorders of the human brain such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. The lab uses a variety of molecular and biochemical techniques in conjunction with modeling in rodents and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to understand the normal and pathological functions of genes involved in these disorders. Their work has dramatically advanced our understanding of how mutations in the genes APP and PSEN1 lead to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and why some regions of the brain are protected in the disease while others are severely affected. More recently, her lab is dissecting the pathways that determine cognitive resilience with age versus cognitive decline and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Through the work of a separate arm of the lab, a series of studies has provided insights into the effects of mutations in the gene DISC1, a gene mutated in families affected by bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, on human brain development. Because of these and other important contributions to the field, she is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in modeling human nervous system diseases through stem cell technology.