There are significant changes in our bodies and brains as we age. Declining muscle force and power lead to mobility disability and impaired quality of life. Skeletal muscles undergo a natural process of denervation and reinnervation, and with aging, the former overcomes the latter. However, the mechanisms that eventually destabilize the NMJ with age, including post-synaptic terminal fragmentation, shrinkage, and simplification, are unknown. Our perceptual experiences also change, resulting from changes in myelination and functional connectivity throughout the brain, but especially within areas associated with sensory and higher-order cognitive function. We use a combination of clinical, statistical, and basic science approaches to better understand the mechanistic bases of these changes, identify the factors that predict them, and test new interventional strategies to prevent or reverse age-related decline in neurological function.

Associated Faculty

+ indicates accepting MS students, * indicates accepting PhD students

Carol A. Shively+*
Research Interests: Social stress effects on disease susceptibility including depression, coronary artery atherosclerosis, visceral obesity and metabolic syndrome using nonhuman primate models

Paul J. Laurienti*
Research Interests: Brain; Nerve Net; Attention; Aging; Auditory Perception

Kimberly Francis Raab-Graham*
Research Interests: Local protein synthesis, depression, autism, alcohol use disorder, Alzheimer's disease, ion channels, GABAB receptors, mTORC1, calcium imaging, proteomics

Osvaldo Delbono+*
Research Interests: Role of ion channels in aging neuromuscular system

Tao Ma +*
Research Interests: Alzheimer's, Aging

Samuel Lockhart+*
Research Interests: Aging; tau Proteins; Positron-Emission Tomography; Cognition

Allyn Howlett+
Research Interests: Neuropharmacology, Signal transduction Cell Biology, Cannabinoid Receptors, Endocannabinoids

Timothy Michael Hughes+
Research Interests: Epidemiology and prevention

Ramon Casanova+
Research Interests: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Artificial Intelligence; Alzheimer Disease, Brain; Diabetic Retinopathy

Gretchen Brenes
Research Interests: Depression, Anxiety Disorders, OCD

Jonathan H. Burdette
Research Interests: Exercise, Aneurysm

Christopher T. Whitlow
Research Interests: Networks, TBI, Migraine, Alzheimer's

Laura Baker
Research Interests: 
Alzheimer's disease, insulin, growth hormone-related hormone, cognition

Sean L. Simpson
Research Interests: Networks, biostatistics, complexity and imaging

Christina Elizabeth Hugenschmidt
Research Interests: Aging, diabetes, neuroscience behavior, radiology, imaging, nuclear medicine

Suzanne Craft
Research Interests: Alzheimer Disease, Insulin, Insulin Resistance; Hypoglycemic Agents, Cognition Disorders