Franca Cambi, MD, PhD

Veterans Health Foundation

Franca Cambi, MD, PhD

Dr. Cambi is a physician-scientist with clinical expertise in movement disorders and neurogenetics and over 15 years of experience with clinical trials for Parkinson disease. She has conducted several trials supported by the NIH and pharmaceutical companies. Her interest lies mostly on trials that target especially challenging aspects of Parkinson disease, such as disease progression by using novel disease modifying agents and alleviating late motor complications.  In addition, she directs a basic science research program focused on development of mouse models of human diseases that affect the central nervous system white matter. She recently joined the VAPHS in 2014.

Investigator Research Interests


  • Deputy Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  • Staff Neurologist, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  • Professor of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh

What are the 3 most important questions that define your research program?

  1. Does GSK3b signaling regulate oligodendrocyte apoptosis in models of multiple sclerosis?
  2. Do FUS deficient oligodendrocytes contribute to neurological deficits in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Frontotemporal lobe dementia?
  3. Can downstream targets of GSK3b and FUS in oligodendrocytes be exploited for neuroprotection?

What are five key words that best describe your areas of interest?

  1. Oligodendrocytes
  2. Axo-glia interactions
  3. Apoptosis
  5. Multiple sclerosis

What are up to 5 technologies, models, methods, analytical approaches or other forms of expertise that characterize your research program?

  1. Generation of conditional knockout mice
  2. Behavioral studies
  3. Gene expression profiling
  4. Primary oligodendrocyte cultures
  5. Confocal microscopy