vascular signaling plasticity
Neuroplasticty is the basis of our ability to learn and remember, and is fundamental to our ability to solve complex problems. The strength of synaptic connections between neurons is adjusted based on our experiences, and the changes that neurons undergo during this process are energetically costly. We are exploring processes occurring in parallel in the vasculature during this process, which reprogram blood flow delivery mechanisms to meet continually fluctuating neuronal metabolic needs. We refer to this phenomenon as 'vascular signaling plasticity'.
Our goal is to understand how the amount of energy delivered via the blood is continually updated to underpin the energy demanding processes of neuroplasticity. We are developing a range of novel tools to image various aspects of newly discovered mechanisms through which the vasculature contributes to this process, and we ultimately aim to develop a novel brain endothelial gene therapy that could ultimately be used to protect or restore vascular function, blood flow, and brain function in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients.
This aspect of our work is funded through the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, which was awarded to Dr. Longden in August 2020, and an American Heart Association Innovative Project Award.
You can read more about the types of experiments we do by clicking on the images below.
If you are interested in learning more and potentially joining us, please get in touch!