Gabor Geza Kovacs

Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology


Toronto General Hospital: University Health Network (UHN)
200 Elizabeth St., Lab Medicine Program, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 2C4
Research Interests
Artificial Intelligence, Brain & Neuroscience, Molecular & Cell Biology
Clinical Interests
Pathology: Neuropathology
Appointment Status

Dr Kovacs is Professor at the  Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Consultant Neuropathologist at the Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network and Principal Investigator at the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Disease.

He is also a Senior Scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute, Faculty, Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson's Disease and Co-Director of the Rossy Program for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Research.

Dr Kovacs completed his medical training at the Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary where he received qualifications in Neurology (1998) and Neuropathology (2003) and a PhD in Neuroscience (2002).

From 2004-2007 Dr. Kovacs was the Head of the Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Budapest, Hungary.

From 2007- 2019 he was an Associate Professor at the Institute of Neurology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

He was the leader of the Hungarian (2007-2019) and Austrian (2011-2019) Reference Center for Human Prion Diseases.

Dr Kovacs has also received training at the Indiana University (2007) and University of Pennsylvania (2016 and 2017) as visiting professor/scholar.  

His major research interest is the neuropathology of neurodegenerative diseases.

He has published more than 260 peer-reviewed papers with H-index of 45, and edited two books on Neuropathology.

Dr Kovacs‘ aim is to add his expertise in the neuropathology of neurodegenerative diseases to enhance the excellent Neuropathology team at LMP, to probe the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative proteinopathies using state-of the-art methodologies and to facilitate collaborative research on neurodegenerative disorders at the Krembil Brain Institute and Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Disease.

Research Synopsis

Using specialized microscopy and morphometric methods together with biochemical and genetic evaluations of human brain tissue samples our aim is to evaluate selective cellular and protein vulnerability patterns in human neurodegenerative conditions with movement disorders and cognitive decline and brain aging.

Our research studies are supported by the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease and the Rossy Program for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Research Research and comprise a human neuropathology-based research program of diseases with progressive neurodegeneration with a clinical manifestation of movement disorders and cognitive decline. Our laboratory collaborates with basic researchers, neuroscientists, and clinicians to approach these conditions from multiple perspectives.

We are interested in discovering the pathologic mechanisms underlying nerve cell death and in particular determining reasons for the selective vulnerability of particular  nerve cell groups in certain neurodegenerative diseases.

We study disease associated proteins such as alpha-synucleinin alpha-synucleinopathies including Parkinsons`s disease and multiple system atrophy, and tau in tauopathies such as:

  • progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
  • corticobasal degeneration (CBD)
  • Pick's disease
  • globular glial tauopathies
  • and various further genetic, sporadic and acquired disease conditions.

Our work involves extensive use of neuropathologically, clinically, and genetically characterized human brain tissues provided for research purposes housed at our site, as well as samples collected prospectively.

We perform state-of the-art morphology-based research using specialized microscopes and modern laboratory techniques to probe the neuropathological, biochemical and genetic properties of neurodegenerative disease associated proteinopathies.

Recent Publications

Forrest SL, Kril JJ, Wagner S, Hönigschnabl S, Reiner A, Fischer P, Kovacs GG. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Is Absent From a European Community-Based  Aging Cohort While Cortical Aging-Related Tau Astrogliopathy (ARTAG) Is Highly Prevalent. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2019 May 1;78(5):398-405. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlz017. PubMed PMID: 30939193.

Kresl P, Rahimi J, Gelpi E, Aldecoa I, Ricken G, Danics K, Keller E, Kovacs GG. Accumulation of prion protein in the vagus nerve in creutzfeldt-jakob disease. Ann Neurol. 2019 May;85(5):782-787. doi: 10.1002/ana.25451. Epub 2019 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 30801763.

Kovacs GG. Are comorbidities compatible with a molecular pathological classification of neurodegenerative diseases? Curr Opin Neurol. 2019 Apr;32(2):279-291. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000664. PubMed PMID: 30672825.

Kovacs GG, Xie SX, Robinson JL, Lee EB, Smith DH, Schuck T, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ. Sequential stages and distribution patterns of aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) in the human brain. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2018 Jun 11;6(1):50. doi: 10.1186/s40478-018-0552-y. PubMed PMID: 29891013; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5996526.

Puska G, Lutz MI, Molnar K, Regelsberger G, Ricken G, Pirker W, Laszlo L, Kovacs GG. Lysosomal response in relation to α-synuclein pathology differs between Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy. Neurobiol Dis. 2018 Jun;114:140-152. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.02.019. Epub 2018 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 29505813.

Kovacs GG, Andreasson U, Liman V, Regelsberger G, Lutz MI, Danics K, Keller E, Zetterberg H, Blennow K. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid tau and neurofilament concentrations in rapidly progressive neurological syndromes: a neuropathology-based cohort. Eur J Neurol. 2017 Nov;24(11):1326-e77. doi: 10.1111/ene.13389. Epub 2017 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 28816001.

Kovacs GG, Robinson JL, Xie SX, Lee EB, Grossman M, Wolk DA, Irwin DJ, Weintraub D, Kim CF, Schuck T, Yousef A, Wagner ST, Suh E, Van Deerlin VM, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ. Evaluating the Patterns of Aging-Related Tau Astrogliopathy Unravels Novel Insights Into Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2017 Apr 1;76(4):270-288. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlx007. PubMed PMID: 28340083; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6251691.

Ling H, Kovacs GG, Vonsattel JP, Davey K, Mok KY, Hardy J, Morris HR, Warner TT, Holton JL, Revesz T. Astrogliopathy predominates the earliest stage of corticobasal degeneration pathology. Brain. 2016 Dec;139(Pt 12):3237-3252. Epub 2016 Oct 25. PubMed PMID: 27797812.

Rohan Z, Milenkovic I, Lutz MI, Matej R, Kovacs GG. Shared and Distinct Patterns of Oligodendroglial Response in α-Synucleinopathies and Tauopathies. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016 Dec 1;75(12):1100-1109. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlw087. PubMed PMID: 27678346.

Kovacs GG, Rahimi J, Ströbel T, Lutz MI, Regelsberger G, Streichenberger N, Perret-Liaudet A, Höftberger R, Liberski PP, Budka H, Sikorska B. Tau pathology in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease revisited. Brain Pathol. 2017 May;27(3):332-344. doi: 10.1111/bpa.12411. Epub 2016 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: 27377321.

Gelpi E, Höftberger R, Graus F, Ling H, Holton JL, Dawson T, Popovic M, Pretnar-Oblak J, Högl B, Schmutzhard E, Poewe W, Ricken G, Santamaria J, Dalmau J, Budka H, Revesz T, Kovacs GG. Neuropathological criteria of anti-IgLON5-related tauopathy. Acta Neuropathol. 2016 Oct;132(4):531-43. doi: 10.1007/s00401-016-1591-8. Epub 2016 Jun 29. PubMed PMID: 27358064; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5023728.

Kovacs GG, Lutz MI, Ricken G, Ströbel T, Höftberger R, Preusser M, Regelsberger G, Hönigschnabl S, Reiner A, Fischer P, Budka H, Hainfellner JA. Dura mater is a potential source of Aβ seeds. Acta Neuropathol. 2016 Jun;131(6):911-23. doi: 10.1007/s00401-016-1565-x. Epub 2016 Mar 25. PubMed PMID: 27016065; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4865536.

Kovacs GG, Ferrer I, Grinberg LT, Alafuzoff I, Attems J, Budka H, Cairns NJ, Crary JF, Duyckaerts C, Ghetti B, Halliday GM, et al.  Aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG): harmonized evaluation strategy. Acta Neuropathol. 2016 Jan;131(1):87-102. doi: 10.1007/s00401-015-1509-x. PMID: 26659578; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4879001.

Kovacs GG, Horvath MC, Majtenyi K, Lutz MI, Hurd YL, Keller E. Heroin abuse exaggerates age-related deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau and p62-positive inclusions. Neurobiol Aging. 2015 Nov;36(11):3100-3107. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2015.07.018. Epub 2015 Jul 17. PubMed PMID: 26254956; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4609594.

Kovacs GG, Breydo L, Green R, Kis V, Puska G, Lőrincz P, Perju-Dumbrava L, Giera R, Pirker W, Lutz M, Lachmann I, Budka H, Uversky VN, Molnár K, László L. Intracellular processing of disease-associated α-synuclein in the human brain suggests prion-like cell-to-cell spread. Neurobiol Dis. 2014 Sep;69:76-92. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2014.05.020. Epub 2014 May 27. PubMed PMID: 24878508.