Brain Aging, Memory & Cognition

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Brain aging can contribute to decline in many cognitive functions and increase risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. With expertise in areas such as learning and memory, physiology and neuroplasticity, our researchers seek strategies and interventions that promote resiliency and protect cognition in older adults.

Summary

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Scientists in the Brain Aging, Memory & Cognition program coalesce around three central research program areas that include: 1) Biomarkers, Risk Factors and Discovery, 2) Neurophysiology and Functional Brain Mapping, and 3) Intervention. The Biomarkers, Risk Factors and Discovery research program is focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying cognitive decline, and on identifying key genetic and modifiable lifestyle factors that are predictors of decline and increase the probability of developing comorbid age-related diseases. The Neurophysiology and Functional Brain Mapping research program is focused on visualization, and analyses of brain activity in conjunction with cognitive processing and behavior. The Intervention program is focused on both preclinical and clinical assessment of potential therapeutics for preventing, halting or reversing cognitive decline.

Research highlights include:

  • Identification of genetic and modifiable lifestyle factors that influence one’s resilience or vulnerability to cognitive decline
  • Mechanistic studies of cognition that bridge levels of analysis from single molecules to complex behaviors
  • Identification of simple biological or behavioral biomarkers that can be used to predict and/or track cognitive decline
  • Investigations of co-morbidities that increase influence risk of cognitive decline
  • Discovery of new therapeutic targets that hold promise for clinical intervention in aging and memory disorders

Affiliated UF Centers

Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory (CAM)

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Led by Drs. Jen Bizon and Ron Cohen, the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory (CAM) is a multidisciplinary University of Florida research center focused on brain aging and cognition. CAM researchers come from numerous departments and colleges and possess diverse expertise in neurobiology of aging, neuroplasticity, physiology, behavior and clinical intervention. With strengths in both preclinical discovery-based research and clinical science, CAM researchers are dedicated to the translation of leading-edge discoveries about brain aging into interventions that will preserve cognitive function and improve the quality of lives for older adults. As a world-class research center, CAM is also a fertile training ground for those interested in preclinical or translational research careers focused on preventing or reversing age-related cognitive decline.

Specialized Training Opportunities

NIA T32 Clinical and Translational Training Program in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related dementias (ADRD)

Co-directed by Drs. Jada Lewis and Jen Bizon, this NIA-funded program supports 4-6 predoctoral students a year. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects over 5 million people in the U.S., inducing profound memory decline, behavioral and language problems. Trainees appointed in the ADRD T32 program will receive two years of support to engage in a specialized training program focused on gaining the knowledge and support necessary to tackle the complexities presented by AD and related neurodegenerative diseases.

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NIA T32 Research Training in Non -Pharmacological Interventions for Cognition in Aging, MCI, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Co-directed by Drs. Michael Marsiske and Adam Woods, this NIA-funded program supports four predoctoral students a year. Cognitive decline associated with normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating for older adults and their families. Trainees appointed to this T32 receive two years of support and engage in a specialized training program focused on methods to assess treatments that prevent or slow cognitive decline in aging.

Dr. woods

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