Dongming Cai

Professor, Director


Dongming Cai, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator. Dr. Cai is a Professor of Neurology at The
University of Minnesota, and a Physician Scientist at The Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
She trained in Neuroscience with Marie Filbin, Ph.D at Hunter College of The City University of
New York, and in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology during postdoctoral research with Nobel
laureate Paul Greengard, Ph.D at The Rockefeller University. Later she received Neurology
Residency training at Yale School of Medicine. Since 2010, she has been a physician scientist
at the Bronx VA and in the Department of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount
Sinai. By combining expertise in basic neuroscience and clinical neurology, her laboratory
studies focus on translating current understanding of disease mechanisms into development of
novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and
other neurodegenerative diseases. She also provides outpatient care for civilians and veterans
with cognitive impairment at St Louis Park Memory Clinic as well as VA GRECC and Neurology
teaching clinics. Dr. Cai has been remarkably productive in terms of scientific publications and
awards. She was authored on many publications in high profile journals such as Neuron,
Molecular Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Molecular Neurodegeneration, and Science
Translational Medicine. She obtained significant research funding from the NIH, Alzheimer’s
Association, and VA Medical System, among others. She has also been on editorial boards of
several journals. Dr. Cai can be reached at or

Research Summary

Our research program has been focused on studying the regulation of brain lipid composition and metabolism by ApoE isoforms in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) pathogenesis. One of our current research projects is to develop preclinical candidates and new chemical scaffolds for AD therapies. More importantly, we will investigate mechanistic actions of newly developed drug candidates in AD which will shed lights on understanding pathways underlying ApoE-associated
AD pathogenesis. In parallel, another major lab focus is to understand the mechanisms underlying ApoE4-associated impairment in phospholipid homeostasis and AD development. We recently characterized a novel regulatory role of a microRNA in the ApoE4-PIP 2 -synj1 pathway. Our current effort is to further evaluate therapeutic and diagnostic implications of thismiRNA in AD. Other projects in the lab are focusing on exploring the interaction between ApoE4
and other risk factors such as traumatic brain injury and female sex in AD development and progression. We also work on investigating the role of ApoE isoforms in injury models such as spinal cord injury. Our research group has close collaboration with Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Department of Neuroscience, Department of Pharmacological Studies in Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.