Stanford University

Rejuvenating the Aging Brain - Genetic Dissection of Synaptic Adhesion Molecules on Promoting Synapse Formation

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Aging is a global process, resulting in disrupted homeostatic function and a loss of neurogenic capacity in the mammalian brain. Synapses serve as the fundamental computational units in the brain that mediate rapid point-to-point communication between neurons, and thereby connect neurons into circuits. When aging is associated with brain functions, synapses are among the first structures affected. While the underlying mechanism of how aging contributes to synapses remains an enigma, developing potential antiaging therapies are out of our reach.

The mission of this project is to understand how synapse dynamically changes with advancing aging. I will use cutting-edge genetic techniques to dissect synaptic adhesion molecules that are essential for synapse formation and address several central questions regarding the natural aging process and neurodegenerative diseases. These studies will provide a novel mechanism to develop innovative therapeutic strategies based on this new concept of rejuvenation.