This column will offer PhD students the opportunity to pursue research within memory processes and the most frequent neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, and α-synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple systems atrophy. These neurodegenerative disorders share common features: abnormal protein aggregation, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation, and microvascular changes. The type and location of specific protein pathologies and other pathogenic factors may help to differentiate into separate underlying etiologies using biomarkers, incl. neuroimaging, genetic and biofluid markers. Early diagnosis is crucial for personalized counselling and pharmacological treatment (precision medicine). Currently, there are no disease-modifying treatments for these fatal disorders.
This column aims to understand the complex mechanistic interplay between the pathobiology specific for the disorder (e.g., amyloid, tau, α-synuclein) and pathogenic factors such as aging, inflammation, genetic susceptibility, microbiota and external triggering factors. Improved knowledge in these fields is crucial in order to develop more accessible diagnostic biomarkers, effective personalized treatments, and prevention strategies. Impairment of memory is key to many neurodegenerative disorders, and this column will also study various forms of memory processes spanning from episodic to declarative memory, as well as autobiographical memory, and from memory consolidation to memory extinction.
The Neurodegenerative Diseases research column offers a wide range of methodologies and resources bridging basic and clinical science, including epidemiological research, health data science, cell and animal models, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, circuit mapping, drug target validation, and state-of-the-art clinical neuroimaging and fluid biomarker studies of patients.