vascular contributions to brain plasticity
Neuroplasticty is the basis of our ability to learn and remember, and is fundamental to our ability to solve complex problems and to think. 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 the contributions of blood flow and the vasculature to this process, with the goal of understanding how the energy provided via the blood underpins 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 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.
We are actively seeking graduate students and postdocs to work on these exciting projects. If you are interested in learning more about this research and potentially joining us, please get in touch!