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Non-Canonical Pathways Towards Rescue from Neurodegenerative States

Award Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Awards (Cycle 1)
Focus Area Neurodegeneration

Project Description

Neurodegeneration research has mainly focused on the brain and the compromised neurons and circuits. Nevertheless, evidence points to roles for body-to-brain connections (via peripheral nervous system and/or a compromised blood-brain-barrier, BBB) and inflammation mediated by non-neuronal brain cells. We plan to focus on (1) understanding the role of the periphery in propagating neurodegeneration; and (2) engineering non-invasive gene-delivery tools that specifically target non-neuronal brain cells relevant to neurodegeneration, such as immune cells and brain endothelial cells comprising the vasculature, since an impaired BBB can initiate and/or precipitate neurodegeneration. We will also contribute methods that enable the biodistribution of systemically delivered molecules (such as whole-body tissue-clearing and labeling) to aid understanding and prevention of neurodegeneration.


Viviana Gradinaru, PhD
Viviana Gradinaru, PhD