Science for the People: Alzheimer’s

sftpThis week Science for the People is learning more about Alzheimer’s disease, from the perspective of a researcher and a patient. We’ll discuss Alzheimer’s and brain degeneration with Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, neurobiologist and researcher at the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Toronto. We’ll also get a first hand account of living with the disease from journalist Greg O’Brien, author of On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

Breaking in Order to Build

Image courtesy of the Journal of Cell Biology
Image of labeled (red) DNA breaks in a single cell courtesy of the Journal of Cell Biology

Do you ever think about how every time you encounter something new your brain adjusts and rewires and makes molecular changes so you can remember this new object in the context of what you already know? I know I do, though that may be a by-product of my neuroscience upbringing. Even if you don’t think about it, it’s happening. Complex changes in the numbers and amounts of gene expression are critical to developing and maintaining memories. And as it turns out, breaking the DNA in your brain cells into pieces is also part of the process.

Continue reading “Breaking in Order to Build”

Coming to news stands. . .


Needless to say (but I’m going to anyway), I am pleased as punch that my lab’s most recent offering unto the body of scientific literature (“Analysis of alternative splicing associated with aging and neurodegeneration in the human brain”) was put on the cover of the current issue of Genome Research. In this paper, we investigated the connections between alternative splicing profiles in the aging brain and in brains suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to note that we were characterizing the alternative splicing differences associated with aging and disease, not identifying splicing changes that cause the diseases or the symptoms. Such questions will require ongoing work, which this study will, hopefully, help guide. Continue reading “Coming to news stands. . .”