Traumatic Synaptic Injury and its Impact on AD

2017 Seed Grant
Terrance Kummer, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University in Saint Louis

Traumatic brain injury is the leading global cause of death and disability for adolescents and younger adults, and also the best-established acquired risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurological disability in both conditions results from the breakdown of circuits in the brain. Although injury to synapses, the points where neurons communicate with each other, is central to Alzheimer’s disease, the loci of traumatic circuit injury are less well-known. This study asks whether injury to synapses is an important part of circuit breakdown in traumatic brain injury, and whether such injury might predispose the brain to further, Alzheimer’s-induced loss of synapses. If this study is successful, it will shed light on the connections between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease, thereby pointing the way to future treatments.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…