Aging Mind and Brain and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative disease in mouse

The Aging Mind and Brain Initiative (AMBI) faculty — together with faculty studying neurodegenerative diseases — form a highly multidisciplinary and multidimensional team.

Collectively, their research spans the life sciences, behavioral, sciences, social sciences, engineering, medical sciences, human factors, biostatics, and biomedical ethics in 11 departments in six colleges. While AMBI has well-established leadership, there is great value and synergy in combining faculty interested in neurodegenerative diseases into a cohesive workforce that is mutually beneficial. Combining these researchers with conceptual overlap in their projects lends itself to a higher level of innovation and productivity.

The individual research programs described here fall broadly into four categories related to disruptions in molecular and cell biology, as well as disrupted systems and their downstream effects. Institutional research strengths are aggregated largely in the study of cellular demise and optimizing health, with an opportunity for more of a critical mass in areas of neuronal viability and neurogenesis (i.e., particularly via research described in themes two and three below).

Four themes for innovation in neurodegenerative and brain aging research are affiliated with the UI Center on Aging (CoA):

  1. Understanding and intercepting neuronal demise
  2. Enhancing neuronal function and viability
  3. Introducing and facilitating neurogenesis
  4. Optimizing aging brain health and improving quality of life

Insights generated by AMBI are rapidly translated by CoA into outreach.