Astrocytes in cognition: Potential targets for neurodegenerative diseases
Lori Newman (Psychological Science)
Over the last century, the role of neurons in communicating information has been the focus of the majority of neuroscience research due to their unique electrical capabilities allowing for easy analysis of their activity. The other cells in the brain, known as glial cells were mostly thought of as support for the neurons, literally deriving their name from the Greek for glue, as they were merely thought to hold the brain together. Recently, a focus on the role of glial cells, particularly astrocytes in brain function has begun to emerge as a potential new target for therapeutics after finding that subtle manipulations of astrocytic function can greatly affect learning and memory (Newman, Korol & Gold, 2011). The purpose of this URSI project is to understand the basic science behind the role of astrocytes in providing metabolic resources during cognition. Using pharmacological manipulations specific to astrocytes, we will explore what effects manipulation of glycogen breakdown has on executive function. This project is ongoing and is expected to span multiple semesters. Students interested in neuroscience, medicine, or psychology are encouraged to apply.
Experience working with animal models is preferred.
How should students express interest in this project?
Please clearly describe in your application any experiences that you feel are relevant to the project. You do not need to contact me prior to submitting an application. I will reach out to students for interviews after the applications are in.