Carney Institute for Brain Science
Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research

zebrafish larvae in microplates

FDA-approved drugs, including drugs for heart disease and cancer, may be repurposed for the treatment of brain disorders. This cost-effective approach can facilitate new use of drugs that have already passed phase 1 clinical trials to assess safety. However, it is difficult to predict how specific drugs affect neural function in the brain. 

The laboratory of Robbert Creton teamed up with the laboratory of Jill Kreiling and the Center for Computation and Visualization (CCV) to screen drug libraries for effects on behavior. The studies were carried out using zebrafish larvae, which can be imaged in microplates. The team developed novel methodologies for high-throughput analyses of behavior and examined drug-induced behavioral profiles by hierarchical cluster analysis. On April 21st 2022, the group reported the discovery of a new class of FDA-approved drugs with cyclosporine A (CsA) type behavioral profiles ( While further preclinical studies are needed, these CsA-type drugs are promising candidates for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Project Leads

  • Robbert Creton, Professor of Medical Science (Research), Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Research)
  • Jill Kreiling, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry (Research)

Other contributors

  • Sara Tucker Edmister, Research Assistant (now at the USDA)
  • Thaís Del Rosario Hernández, Research Assistant
  • Rahma Ibrahim, Undergraduate Student
  • Cameron A. Brown, Masters Student
  • Sayali V. Gore, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Rohit Kakodkar, PhD, Research Software Engineer, CCV