Alon Zaslaver
Alon Zaslaver - PhD
The New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer's Disease - 2015
Alon Zaslaver

Alon Zaslaver - PhD

Senior Lecturer - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Israel


The New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer's Disease - 2015

Synaptic failure in AD during aging-associated proteostasis collapse

It is well known that aging and Alzheimer disease are intertwined processes. Moreover, during aging, cell control over its proteins deteriorates (termed proteostasis collapse), possibly augmenting Alzheimer’s disease progression. Thus aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and proteostasis collapse form an intricate threesome problem in neural cells, causing neurons to fail to properly communicate with one another. This predicament is known as synaptic failure. But while synaptic failure is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and aging, little is known about its underlying mechanisms.

Dr. Zaslaver’s group will systematically analyze the effect of each of these three processes on synaptic activity using C. elegans worms as the animal model system. Because C. elegans worms consist of 302 neurons and their wiring map is available, the group will be able to characterize synaptic activity in living, behaving animals with a single neuron resolution—a type of study often missing in the aging and Alzheimer’s disease field. To do this they will use optogenetic and calcium imaging tools to light-activate individual pre-synaptic neurons and measure activity from post-synaptic neurons. They will perform these measurements over the course of animal aging as Alzheimer’s disease develops.

Dr. Zaslaver hopes these experiments will shed new light on how Alzheimer’s disease affects neural activity during aging, as well as reveal the key cellular processes in which collapse contributes to these devastating outcomes.

View all grantees for The New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer's Disease in 2015

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