My research is focused on elucidating novel signaling mechanisms regulating neuronal survival and neurite and dendritic spine status. This research has led to the development of novel non-peptide small molecules to target neurotrophin (NT) receptors, including p75NTR, TrkB, and TrkC. My team published the first work, using synthetic peptides, establishing the proof of concept that small ligands corresponding to specific NT domains could function as ligands of NT receptors and augment their signaling. In current studies with numerous collaborators, our non-peptide small molecule ligands are demonstrating morphological and behavioral efficacy in pre-clinical models of Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Rett syndrome, Down’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Based on Alzheimer’s-related pre-clinical testing, one of our p75NTR ligands is scheduled for phase I clinical testing. Evaluating the effectiveness of our small molecule ligands in preventing degeneration in Parkinson’s disease is an important next step in validating the targeting of NT receptors with small molecule ligands as disease-modifying strategies for multiple neurodegenerative disorders.