Young blood for old brains
Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Cal. USA
Host: Christian Brander, IrsiCaixa
Date and time: | 15.00
Venue: Auditorium, IJC Building, Campus Can Ruti
The Wyss-Coray research team studies brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. The team is studying how circulatory blood factors can modulate brain structure and function and how factors from young organisms can rejuvenate old brains. They are trying to understand the molecular basis of the systemic communication with the brain by employing a combination of genetic, cell biology, and -omics approaches in killifish, mice, and humans and through the development of bio-orthogonal tools for the in vivo labeling of proteins.
Current investigation in the group include three main areas.
Myeloid cell dysfunction in brain aging and neurodegeneration
Global transcriptional or epigenetic studies of aging point to major changes in myeloid cell or macrophage function across multiple tissues. Research centres on the basis of this cellular dysfunction and whether reprogramming and rejuvenating this lineage can slow or reverse brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, frontotemporal dementia, or ALS.
Proteomics of aging and neurodegeneration
To understand brain aging and neurodegeneration at an organismal level the group uses focused proteomic screens based on the idea that changes in secreted factors that communicate between cells (the "communicome"), could inform us about the physiological and pathophysiological state of the organism and provide potential new mechanistic insight. They are also increasingly using unbiased mass spectrometry to study aging, neurodegeneration, and rejuvenation, and are developing bio-orthogonal tools to label defined subsets of the proteome in vivo.
An organismal approach to understanding brain aging and neurodegeneration
Ageing, which is fundamental to neurodegeneration and dementia, affects every organ in the body and seems to be encoded partly in a blood-based signature. Indeed, factors in the circulation have been shown to modulate ageing and to rejuvenate numerous organs, including the brain. The group aims to discover such factors, identify their origins, and understand their functions to learn not only about basic mechanisms of aging and neurodegeneration, but also to develop new therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools for Alzheimer's and related diseases.
Dr Wyss-Coray's research has attracted a lot of media attention, due to interest in aging and particularly due to the possibility of discovering valid methods of rejuvenation for humans. He is an experienced and charismatic speaker, who is well practised in speaking to a wide range of audiences.