Our lab focuses on the early markers for Alzheimer’s disease and how various genetic and environmental risk factors influence early progression in mouse models. Aging is the greatest risk factor for late onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD); so investigating the genetic changes that occur with age in key cell types (astrocytes) is critical. APOE4, an allelic variant of the APOE gene, is the largest genetic risk factor for LOAD. There are three genetic variants of the APOE gene that have differing levels of risk or protection to LOAD. I would like to better understand how these gene variants function, within the astrocyte cells of the brain, to alter the risk for LOAD. Additionally, many studies have discovered that environmental factors, such as diet and exercise, also alter the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. My project will tease apart how diet and exercise affect age and genetic contributions (APOE) to help distinguish an underlying mechanism to each risk.
BS, Biology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY