ADULT NEUROGENESIS IN THE AGING BRAIN
The constitutive generation of new neurons is now a well-established feature of the adult mammalian brain. Adult neurogenesis occurs throughout life but how these new neurons make connections in the midst of a mature established network of connectivity is not known. My laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that determine connectivity of newborn neurons in the aging brain.
Approach: We use conditional molecular genetics with advanced histological and ultrastructural proteomics and state-of-the-art microscopy to understand the developmental timing and spatial arrangement of new connections by adult born neurons and to identify molecular pathways that govern their formation.
Impact: Adult neurogenesis has an impact on cognitive behavior particularly learning and memory. Understanding how these cells integrate into brain circuitry is therefore going to identify possible ways in which we could influence this behavior, particularly in aged brains where there is often a reduction in the capacity for learning and memory.