Biography & Research:
I have been working in the brain aging field for over 19 years. I have special interests in the processes that lead to phenotypical changes in the hippocampus and related areas, resulting in neuronal dysfunction and neurodegenerative disorders. Aging is the leading risk factor for developing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, I have been interested in determining aging factors that lead to cognitive dysfunction and impaired memory, and determining the role these factors play in the development of neurodegeneration. I have a strong background in electrophysiology and ion imaging. I have used these tools to demonstrate changes in neuronal function that are directly related to learning and memory dysfunction in aging. Intracellular calcium regulation is a key factor in determining the integrative role of neurons and neuronal populations. Mechanisms that contribute to its regulation have been worthy targets for treatments reversing, and preventing abnormal memory loss associated with aging. Immunophilins such FK506-binding protein have a strong calcium and neuronal function regulatory role, and manipulating its effectiveness through gene therapy has proved to be an operational means to reverse the negative effects of aging on cognitive function. Increasingly, I have been using more advanced tools such as gene therapy and multi-photon imaging techniques to examine these mechanisms in intact animal models.