Inside AFAR
Inside AFAR

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Mar 9
12:20 pm

Grantee Spotlight Interview: Alon Zaslaver View MoreBACK

AFAR’s grant programs in the biology of aging are central to our mission to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research. At leading institutions nationwide, our grantees hard work, ingenuity, and leadership are advancing cutting-edge research that will help us all live healthier, longer. AFAR grantees are making this the age of aging better.

In this Grantee Spotlight interview, Alon Zaslaver, PhD, shares what inspired him to enter the field of aging research and what impact he hopes his research will make thanks to AFAR’s support. 

Alon Zaslaver, PhD

Senior Lecturer,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2015 New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer's Disease



What inspired you to get into aging research?

Scientifically, I find the aging field to be both fascinating and challenging. Virtually all biological systems go weary during aging. This poses a tough perplexing challenge for us as scientists to first understand what underlies these devastating changes and then come up with ways that may alleviate these processes.

How will AFAR’s support further your research at this point in your career?

During my career I have been working in the Systems Biology field combining experimental and computational approaches to study basic scientific questions. Thus, working outside of the aging and AD field, I hope that the AFAR award will not only support my new research but will also provide the required framework to enter the field by meeting and interacting with relevant scientists thereby allowing me to further deepen my ties and contribution in  the field.

What’s exciting about your research’s potential impact?

In my lab we use C. elegans worms as the model system. These worms consist of 302 neurons and their wiring map is available. This means that we can study hoe aging and Alzheimer-related processes affect the neural system in an unprecedented single neuron resolution. Such focused single neuron and single synapse studies are often missing in the aging and AD field. Moreover, our methodologies provide accurate quantitative measurements of activity of single neurons. Thus, we hope to decipher very early predicaments of aging and AD much before they are usually observed in clinical specimens or when working with other animals models such as mice.

In three sentences, how would you describe your research?

It is known that aging and Alzheimer disease affect brain functions such as learning and memory abilities. But what is the interplay between aging and AD to hae such consequences? Is memory deficit caused primarily by aging or AD or both? Moreover, what is the exact effect of each of these processes on single the units of the brains – the neurons?