The UVA Brain Institute has offered seed funding for two key cross-grounds collaborative research projects in Alzheimer's Disease in 2019, with the purpose of bringing neuroscience investigators together to tackle important questions and perform transformative work that will differentiate our research enterprise. These initiatives require diverse expertise, and involve investigative teams from a variety of disciplines and/or Schools across grounds.
Jamie Morris, PhD
Epigenetic aging is associated with cognitive decline and intrinsic neural connectivity
This project combines cutting-edge epigenetic aging techniques with measures of intrinsic neural network integrity assessed by resting state fMRI in an existing longitudinal study over a 12 year period to test the hypothesis that epigenetic aging is a sensitive biomarker of neural and cognitive change across time. This marker will assist in the identification of the neural networks most sensitive to age-related change and how such change may lead to cognitive decline and dementia in both healthy and disordered populations.
Ammasi Periasamy, MS PhD
In vivo, 2-Photon Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging to Track Metabolic Changes in Live Alzheimer's Disease Model Mouse Brains
This project will use nutrient-induced changes in mitochondrial signaling in mouse models as part of a 6-9 month in vivo imaging assay, which integrates adaptive optics for increased depth and signal to noise ratios, to help define the connection between Alzheimer’s Disease and metabolic disorders. By determining if diseased mice show impaired nutrient-induced mitochondrial activity over 3 months, this project will demonstrate the feasibility of monitoring mitochondrial activity in vivo for normal and pathological brain conditions, as well as identify AβO-dependent and tau-dependent steps by which nutrient-induced mitochondrial activity may be disrupted.