In the 2010-2015 funding cycle, the UCI ADRC is supporting the following three major projects.
Neuroimaging of Hippocampal Subfields in Older Adults & MCI
Project Leader: Craig Stark, Ph.D.
This project focuses on the collection of a comprehensive set of behavioral and high-resolution neuroimaging data from (1) healthy elderly individuals, (2) elderly individuals with diagnosed amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and (3) elderly individuals with milder impairments who do not reach criteria for an MCI diagnosis, but are nevertheless impaired on memory tests. These data are used to test several key predictions of a neurocognitive model of age-related memory impairment.
Astrocyte-Related Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Altered Neuronal Plasticity in Down Syndrome
Project Leader: Jorge Busciglio, Ph.D.
The goal of this project is to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with abnormal astrocyte function and their role in altered structural and functional plasticity in the Down’s syndrome (DS) brain. Experiments will gather a wealth of information on novel aspects of DS structural and functional plasticity, which may be closely associated with the early and rapid transition to Alzheimer’s disease that occurs in most individuals with DS. The expectation is to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat neurodegeneration and cognitive decline, not only in older DS individuals but also in the larger population affected by sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.
Neural Stem Cells to Treat and Model Alzheimer’s Disease
Project Leader: Mathew Blurton-Jones, Ph.D.
The proposed studies build upon preliminary data to investigate the long-term benefit of neural stem cell transplantation as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. By generating and studying induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from Alzheimer’s disease and control subjects, the goal is to examine the utility of stem cells to model sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. The proposed studies thus have relevance to both the potential future treatment and future study of Alzheimer’s disease.
These projects connect extensively with work of other ADRC investigators to build an exciting and productive research environment directed at elucidating the triggers and features of as well as ultimately treatments for cognitive decline and development of Alzheimer’s disease.