A) Adult hippocampal neurogenesis
Until now, it was believed that the number of neurons only decrease as we age. However, in these last years, we got evidence that contradicts that established theory. We learned that in the hippocampus, a part of the brain related to memory, new neurons are always being born and changing, even in adults.
Through the use of mice and monkeys, we are conducting research to physiologically and biochemically understand the phenomenon of neurogenesis. Furthermore, our results show that this neurogenesis in the hippocampus is related to learning and memory.
As it is known that hippocampal neurons fade away at an exponential rate as we reach old age, we aim to a way to improve the rate of neurogenesis in the aging brain, and in doing so, improve the brain health of our aging society.
B) Neuronal Regeneration
In an aging society like ours, diseases and complications related to old age are starting to become a serious social problem. As we age, the risk of neurological disorders such as ischemia or Alzheimer’s disease gets higher.
The goal of our research is to find a way to restore functionality to damaged areas of the brain, through the use of techniques that induce the phenomenon of neurogenesis in adult brains. By using mice and monkey ischemia models, we are aim to understand the foundation of neurogenesis.
C) Prevention of the effects of aging on the brain
As we age, for some reason our brains start to lose their functionality. Why is that so? In order to answer that question, we are conducting research with aged animals.
Maybe the reason for that change is in the brain cells themselves, or maybe the blood vessels in the brain have something to do with it? To understand that, we are carrying out an analysis using brain imaging techniques.
As we age, some changes occur in the blood vessels in our brain, as evidenced by the hardening of arteries, and with that, the risk of thrombosis and embolism tend to increase. To learn how to prevent the closing of small blood vessels in the brain, the reason for lacunar brain infarcts, we are researching this phenomenon using animal models.
D) Elucidation of the role of hippocampal neuronal circuitry on memory
Our knowledge and emotions are a product of the inner workings of our brains. As neuroscientists, we believe the brain is an organ that works close to our hearts.
When our brains work, billions of neurons start exchanging information at a lightning-fast speed, and as such, it could be easily compared to a computer. However, there are great differences that set brains apart from computers. For instance, the cells in our brains are constantly changing. And so far, no one has ever heard of a computer with a microchip capable of changing itself
Having the hippocampal neuronal circuitry and its role on memory as our theme, and trying to evaluate this phenomenon from a cellular point of view, we aim to elucidate the brain functionalities as derived from the changes and responsiveness of brain cells.