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Senior Investigator

Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D.

Laboratory of Neurogenetics
Building 35 Room 1A-1000
35 Convent Drive
Bethesda MD 20892
Office: (301) 451-7606


traynorb@mail.nih.gov

Dr. Bryan J. Traynor is a Neurologist and an Investigator at the National Institute on Aging, where he has been the Chief of the Neuromuscular Diseases Research Unit at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics since 2009. His laboratory is focused on unraveling the genetic etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other neuromuscular disorders.

Dr. Traynor received his medical degree (MB, BCh, BAO) from University College Dublin medical school in 1993, a Medical Doctorate (MD) in the epidemiology and genetics of ALS from University College Dublin in 2000, a Masters in Medical Science (MMSc) on drug discovery and clinical trial design from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) on the Genetics of ALS from University College Dublin in 2012. He has been a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (MRCPI) since 1996.



Dr. Traynor is best known for his work aimed at understanding the genetic etiology of ALS. His laboratory published the first genome-wide association study of ALS (2007); was the first to identify an association signal for ALS on the short arm of chromosome 9 in the Finnish founder population (2010); and discovered that mutations in the VCP and MATR3 genes are responsible for a significant fraction of familial ALS (2010, 2014). 

In 2011, he led the international consortium that identified a pathogenic hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene as the underlying mutation in a large proportion of familial ALS and frontotemporal dementia, as well as the more common, sporadic forms of both neurodegenerative diseases. His team also demonstrated that the same mutation is present in ~1% of patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (2012).

Dr. Traynor has over 160 publications in various professional journals including New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Neuron, Annals of Neurology, Neurology, Lancet Neurology, Human Molecular Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 

He is a member of the Scientific Review Committee of The ALS Association, the Integration Panel for the Congressionally Directed Department of Defense Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program, and the Genetics Human Disease NIH Study Section. He chairs the Integration Panel for the Congressionally Directed Department of Defense ALS Research Program and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry and Neurobiology of Aging. 

Dr. Traynor is also the recipient of the NIA Director’s Award (2011), the NIH Director’s Award (2012), the John W. Griffin Innovator Award (2012), the Derek Denny Brown Neurological Scholar Award (2012), and the Diamond Award (2013), and the Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research (2013).


Staff Image
  • Yevgeniya Abramzon, DNP, CRNP, Lt, USPHS
    Graduate Student

  • Amr Al-Saif, M.D.
    Research Fellow

  • Karissa Arthur, B.S.
    Special Volunteer

  • Ruth Chia, Ph.D.
    Research Fellow

  • Janel Johnson, Ph.D.
    Biologist

  • Alberto Rivera, B.S.
    IRTA

  • 1) Singleton AB, Traynor BJ (2015)
  • For complex disease genetics, collaboration drives progress
  • Science , 347(6229), 1422-3
  • 2) Renton AE, Pliner HA, Provenzano C, Evoli A, Ricciardi R, Nalls MA, Marangi G, Abramzon Y, Arepalli S, Chong S, Hernandez DG, Johnson JO, Bartoccioni E, Scuderi F, Maestri M, Gibbs JR, Errichiello E, Chiò A, Restagno G, Sabatelli M, Macek M, Scholz SW, Corse A, Chaudhry V, Benatar M, Barohn RJ, McVey A, Pasnoor M, Dimachkie MM, Rowin J, Kissel J, Freimer M, Kaminski HJ, Sanders DB, Lipscomb B, Massey JM, Chopra M, Howard JF Jr, Koopman WJ, Nicolle MW, Pascuzzi RM, Pestronk A, Wulf C, Florence J, Blackmore D, Soloway A, Siddiqi Z, Muppidi S, Wolfe G, Richman D, Mezei MM, Jiwa T, Oger J, Drachman DB, Traynor BJ (2015)
  • A genome-wide association study of myasthenia gravis
  • JAMA Neurology, 72(4), 396-404
  • 3) Renton AE, Chiò A, Traynor BJ (2014)
  • State-of-play in ALS genetics
  • Nature Neuroscience , 17, 17-23
  • 4) Johnson JO, Pioro EP, Boehringer A, Chia R, Feit H, Renton AE, Pliner HA, Abramzon Y, Marangi G, Winborn BJ, Gibbs JR, Nalls MA, Morgan S, Shoai M, Hardy J, Pittman A, Orrell RW, Malaspina A, Sidle KC, Fratta P, Harms MB, Baloh RH, Pestronk A, Weihl CC, Rogaeva E, Zinman L, Drory VE, Borghero G, Mora G, Calvo A, Rothstein JD, ITALSGEN, Drepper C, Sendtner M, Singleton AB, Taylor JP, Cookson MR, Restagno G, Sabatelli M, Bowser R, Chiò A, Traynor BJ (2014)
  • Mutations in the Matrin 3 gene cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Nature Neuroscience , 17, 664-666
  • 5) Majounie E, Abramzon Y, Renton AE, Perry R, Bassett SS, Pletnikova S, Troncoso JC, Hardy J, Singleton AB, Traynor BJ (2012)
  • Repeat Expansion in C9ORF72 in Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • New England Journal of Medicine, 366, 283-284
  • 6) Majounie E, Renton AE, Mok K, Dopper EG, Waite A, Rollinson S, Chiò A, Restagno G, Nicolaou N, Simon-Sanchez J, van Swieten JC, Abramzon Y, Johnson JO, Sendtner M, Pamphlett R, Orrell RW, Mead S, Sidle KC, Houlden H, Rohrer JD, Morrison KE, Pall H, Talbot K, Ansorge O; Chromosome 9-ALS/FTD Consortium; French research network on FTLD/FTLD/ALS; ITALSGEN Consortium, Hernandez DG, Arepalli S, Sabatell (2012)
  • Frequency of the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia: a cross-sectional study
  • Lancet Neurology, 11, 323-330
  • 7) Chiò A (ex equo), Borghero G (ex equo), Restagno G (ex equo), Mora G (ex equo), Drepper C (ex equo), Traynor BJ (ex equo), Sendtner M, Brunetti M, Ossola I, Calvo A, Pugliatti M, Sotgiu A, Murru MR, Marrosu MG, Marrosu F, Marinou K, Mandrioli J, Sola P, Caponnetto C, Mancardi G, Mandich P, La Bella V, Spataro R, Conte A, Monsurrò MR, Tedeschi G, Pisano F, Bartolomei I, Salvi F, Pinter GL, Simone I (2012)
  • Clinical characteristics of familial ALS patients carrying the pathogenic GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion of the C9ORF72 gene
  • Brain, 135, 784-793
  • 8) Cooper-Knock J, Hewitt C, Robin Highley J, Brockington A, Milano A, Man S, Martindale J, Hartley J, Walsh T, Gelsthorpe C, Baxter L, Forster G, Fox M, Bury J, Mok K, McDermott CJ, Traynor BJ, Kirby J, Wharton SB, Ince PG, Hardy J, Shaw PJ (2012)
  • Clinico-pathological features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with expansions in C9ORF72
  • Brain, 135, 751-761
  • 9) Abramzon Y, Johnson JO, Scholz SW, Taylor JP, Brunetti M, Calvo A, Mandrioli J, Benatar M, Mora G, Restagno G, Chiò A, Traynor BJ (2012)
  • Valosin-containing protein (VCP) mutations in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Neurobiology of Aging [Epub ahead of print]
  • 10) Renton AE, Majounie E, Waite A, Simón-Sánchez J, Rollinson S, Gibbs JR, Schymick JC, Laaksovirta H, van Swieten JC, Myllykangas L, Kalimo H, Paetau A, Abramzon Y, Remes AM, Kaganovich A, Scholz SW, Duckworth J, Ding J, Harmer DW, Hernandez DG, Johnson JO, Mok K, Ryten M, Trabzuni D, Guerreiro RJ, Orrell RW, Neal J, Murray A, Pearson J, Jansen IE, Sondervan D, Seelaar H, Blake D, Young K, Halliwell (2011)
  • A Hexanucleotide Repeat Expansion in C9ORF72 Is the Cause of Chromosome 9p21-Linked ALS-FTD
  • Neuron, 72, 257-68
  • 11) Chiò A, Borghero G, Pugliatti M, Ticca A, Calvo A, Moglia C, Mutani R, Brunetti M, Ossola I, Marrosu MG, Murru MR, Floris G, Cannas A, Parish LD, Cossu P, Abramzon Y, Johnson JO, Arepalli S, Chong S, Hernandez DG, ITALSGEN, Traynor BJ (ex equo), and Restagno G (ex equo) (2011)
  • A large proportion of ALS cases in Sardinia are due to a single founder mutation of the TARDBP gene
  • Archives of Neurology, 68, 594-598
  • 12) Lai S, Abramzona Y, Schymick JC, Stephane DA, Dunckley T, Dillman A, Cookson M, Calvo A, Battistini S, Giannini F, Caponnetto C, Mancardi GL, Spataro R, Monsurro MR, Tedeschi G, Marinou K, Sabatelli M, Conte A, Mandrioli J, Sola P, Salvi F, Bartolomei I, Lombardo F, the ITALSGEN consortium, Mora G, Restagno G, Chiò A, and Traynor BJ (2011)
  • FUS mutations in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Neurobiology of Aging, 32, 550.e1-4
  • 13) Chiò A, Calvo A, Moglia C, Ossola I, Brunetti M, Sbaiz L, Lai SL, Abramzon Y, Traynor BJ (ex equo), and Restagno G (ex equo) (2011)
  • A de novo missense mutation of the FUS gene in a "true" sporadic ALS case
  • Neurobiology of Aging, 32, 553.e23-6
  • 14) Hernandez DG, Nalls MA, Gibbs JR, Arepalli S, van der Brug M, Chong S, Moore M, Longo DL, Cookson MR, Traynor BJ, Singleton AB (2011)
  • Distinct DNA methylation changes highly correlated with chronological age in the human brain
  • Human Molecular Genetics, 20, 1164-1172
  • 15) Johnson JO, Mandrioli J, Benatar M, Abramzon Y, Van Deerlin VM, Trojanowski JQ, Gibbs JR, Brunetti M, Gronka S, Wuu J, Ding J, McCluskey L, Martinez-Lage M, Falcone D, Hernandez DG, Arepalli S, Chong S, Schymick JC, Rothstein J, Landi F, Wang M, Calvo A, Mora G, Sabatelli M, Monsurrò MR, Battistini S, Salvi F, Spataro R, Sola P, Borghero G, ITALSGEN, Galassi G, Scholz SW, Taylor JP, Restagno G, Ch (2010)
  • Exome sequencing reveals VCP mutations as a cause of familial ALS
  • Neuron, 68, 857-864
  • 16) Logroscino G (ex equo), Traynor BJ (ex equo), Hardiman O, Chiò A, Mitchell D, Swingler RJ, Millul A, Benn E, and Beghi E (2010)
  • Incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Europe
  • Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 81, 385-390
  • 17) Gibbs JR, van der Brug MP, Hernandez DG, Traynor BJ, Nalls MA, Lai SL, Arepalli S, Dillman A, Rafferty IP, Troncoso J, Johnson R, Zielke HR, Ferrucci L, Longo DL, Cookson MR, and Singleton AB (2010)
  • Abundant quantitative trait loci exist for DNA methylation and gene expression in human brain
  • PLoS Genetics 6, e1000952, PMC2869317
  • 18) Traynor BJ, Nalls M, Lai SL, Gibbs JR, Schymick J, Arepalli S, Hernandez D, van der Brug MP, Johnson JO, Dillman A, Cookson M, Singleton AB, Moglia C, Calvo A, Restagno G, Mora G, and Chiò A (2010)
  • KIFAP3 has no effect on survival in a population-based cohort of ALS patients
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 107, 12335-12338 PMC2901467
  • 19) Laaksovirta H, Peuralinna T, Schymick JC, Scholz SW, Lai S-L, Myllykangas L, Sulkava R, Jansson L, Hernandez DG, Gibbs JR, Nalls MA, Heckerman D, Tienari PJ, and Traynor BJ (2010)
  • Chromosome 9p21 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Finland: a genome-wide association study
  • Lancet Neurology, 9, 978-985
  • 20) Traynor BJ and Singleton AB (2010)
  • Nature versus Nurture: death of a dogma, and the road ahead
  • Neuron, 68, 196-200
  • 21) Chiò A, Schymick JC, Restagno G, Scholz SW, Lombardo F, Lai SL, Mora G, Fung HC, Britton A, Arepalli S, Gibbs JR, Nalls M, Berger S, Kwee LC, Oddone EZ, Ding J, Crews C, Rafferty I, Washecka N, Hernandez D, Ferrucci L, Bandinelli S, Guralnik J, Macciardi F, Torri F, Lupoli S, Chanock SJ, Thomas G, Hunter DJ, Gieger C, Wichmann HE, Calvo A, Mutani R, Battistini S, Giannini F, Caponnetto C, Mancardi (2009)
  • A two-stage genome-wide association study of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Human Molecular Genetics, 18, 1524-1532. PMC2664150
  • 22) Chiò A, Restagno G, Brunetti M, Ossola I, Calvo A, Mora G, Sabatelli M, Monsurrò MR, Battistini S, Mandrioli J, Salvi F, Spataro R, Schymick J, Traynor BJ, La Bella V, and the ITALSGEN Consortium (2009)
  • Two Italian kindreds with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis due to FUS mutation
  • Neurobiology of Aging, 30, 1272-1275. PMC2771748
  • 23) Cronin S, Berger S, Ding J, Schymick JC, Washecka N, Hernandez DG, Greenway MJ, Bradley DG, Traynor BJ, and Hardiman O (2008)
  • A genome-wide association study of sporadic ALS in a homogenous Irish population
  • Human Molecular Genetics, 17, 768-774
  • 24) Jakobsson M, Scholz SW, Scheet P, Gibbs JR, VanLiere JM, Fung HC, Szpiech ZA, Degnan JH, Wang K, Guerreiro R, Bras JM, Schymick JC, Hernandez DG, Traynor BJ, Simon-Sanchez J, Matarin M, Britton A, van de Leemput J, Rafferty I, Bucan M, Cann HM, Hardy JA, Rosenberg NA, and Singleton AB (2008)
  • Genotype, haplotype and copy-number variation in worldwide human populations
  • Nature, 451, 998-1003
  • 25) Guerreiro RJ, Schymick JC, Crews C, Singleton A, Hardy J, and Traynor BJ (2008)
  • TDP-43 Is Not a Common Cause of Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • PLoS ONE, 3, e2450. PMC2408729.
  • 26) Chiò A, Traynor BJ, Lombardo F, Fimognari M, Calvo A, Ghiglione P, Mutani R, and Restagno G (2008)
  • Prevalence of SOD1 mutations in the Italian ALS population
  • Neurology, 12, 533-537
  • 27) Schymick J, Scholz SW, Fung HC, Britton A, Arepelli S, Gibbs JR, Lombardi F, Matarin M, Kasperaviciute D, Hernandez DG, Crews C, Bruijn L, Rothstein J, Mora G, Restagno G, Chiò A, Singleton A, Hardy J, and Traynor BJ (2007)
  • Genome-wide genotyping in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neurologically normal controls
  • Lancet Neurology, 6, 322-328
  • 28) Cronin S, Hardiman O, and Traynor BJ (2007)
  • Ethnic variation in the incidence of ALS: a systematic review
  • Neurology, 68, 1002-1007
  • 29) Schymick JC, Talbot K, and Traynor BJ (2007)
  • Genetics of Sporadic ALS
  • Human Molecular Genetics, 16, R233-242
  • 30) Traynor BJ, Bruijn L, Conwit R, Beal F, O’Neill G, Fagan SC, and Cudkowicz ME (2006)
  • Neuroprotective agents for clinical trials in ALS: A systematic assessment
  • Neurology, 67, 20-27
  • 31) Traynor BJ, Alexander M, Corr B, Frost E, and Hardiman O (2003)
  • Effect of multi-disciplinary ALS clinic on ALS survival: A population-based study, 1996 - 2001
  • Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 74, 1258-1261. PMC1738639.
  • 32) Alexander MD, Traynor BJ, N Miller, Corr B, Frost E, S McQuaid, FM Brett, A Green, and Hardiman O (2002)
  • “True” Sporadic ALS associated with a novel SOD1 mutation.
  • Annals of Neurology, 52, 680-683
  • 33) Traynor BJ, Codd MB, Corr B, C Forde, Frost E, and Hardiman O (2000)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mimic syndromes: a population-based study
  • Archives of Neurology, 57, 109-113
  • 34) Traynor BJ, Codd MB, Corr B, Forde C, Frost E, and Hardiman O (2000)
  • Clinical features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis according to the El Escorial and Airlie House diagnostic criteria: A population-based study
  • Archives of Neurology, 57, 1171-1176
  • 35) Traynor BJ, Codd MB, Corr B, Forde C, Frost E, and Hardiman O (1999)
  • Incidence and prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Ireland, 1995-1997: A population-based study.
  • Neurology, 52, 504-509
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