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University of Texas Medical Branch
Areas of Interest:
Alzheimer Disease and related disorders, Amyloid beta and Tau oligomers, synaptic dysfunction, cognitive resilience
Biography & Research:
Giulio Taglialatela earned his MS in biological sciences in 1984 and his PhD in pharmacology in 1988, both at the University of Rome La Sapienza in Italy. He was appointed a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) at UTMB in 1988 and completed his training in 1990. He came back to UTMB in 1993 as a research assistant professor and rose through the ranks to his appointment as a tenured professor in the Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology in 2011. In 2014, Dr. Taglialatela became the vice chair for research of the Department of Neurology and the director of the UTMB Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, and was endowed as the Lawrence J. Del Papa Distinguished Chair in Neurodegenerative Disease Research. While maintaining a continuously NIH-funded research laboratory in the past 20+ years, he has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, delivered invited talks at national and international institutions and scientific meetings. He served on several national and international grant review panels, and served as a permanent appointed member and chair of the Clinical Neuroscience & Neurodegeneration study section at the National Institutes of Health. The existence of individuals who remain cognitively intact despite the presence of neuropathology normally associated with fully symptomatic AD suggests that there is an intrinsic way for the human brain to resist (or significantly delay) the events that lead to cognitive impairment in AD. Understanding the involved cellular mechanism(s) would thus reveal a very effective target to develop a novel therapeutic concept centered on inducing cognitive resistance in affected patients. With this ultimate goal in mind, the main research focus of Dr. Taglialatela’s group is to determine the molecular basis of brain/cognitive resilience in the face of AD pathology and to explore approaches to induce such resistance in anyone affected by the disease. Dr. Taglialatela’s group uses autopsy human brains, transgenic animal models and in vitro neuronal systems to interrogate basic molecular mechanisms of synaptic/neuronal resilience and focus on calcineurin inhibitors, neural stem cell derived exosomes (and their miRNA content) and near-infrared light as viable approaches to elicit it.