Ashley Webb
Ashley Webb - PhD
AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2015
Ashley Webb

Ashley Webb - PhD

Assistant Professor - Brown University
Rhode Island, United States


AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2015

Preservation of adult neural stem cells by the pro-longevity FOXO3 transcription factor during aging

Millions of people worldwide experience aging-related cognitive decline. Many of them have conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke that are exceedingly difficult to treat.

Learning and memory functions are in part supported by a population of adult neural stem cells (NSCs), which can give rise to new neurons through the process of neurogenesis. However, NSCs in the adult brain decline in function with age, resulting in a reduced capacity for the formation of new neurons. This decline is due to both intrinsic changes in the stem cells themselves and degeneration of the surrounding stem cell niche.

Currently, the molecular mechanisms governing the maintenance of NSCs in the adult brain and their deterioration with age are not fully understood. Dr. Webb and her group seek to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that preserve NSCs in the adult brain. Their work will address how a specific transcription factor, FOXO3/DAF-16, functions to maintain adult NSCs and whether manipulation of the processes it controls can improve NSC function.

By better understanding the mechanisms responsible for the reduced formation of new neurons during aging, Dr. Webb hopes to reveal strategies for improving NSC function and production of neurons in the aged or diseased human brain. This, in turn, could improve learning and memory in the elderly, including patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

View all grantees for AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty in 2015

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