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Rosalyn Moran, PhD
Neurotransmitter and Ion Channel Asymmetries: Does Experience-Dependent Accrual and Loss Over the Lifespan Predispose Us to Neurodegenerative Disease?
Senior Research Associate, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University College London
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Emerging evidence from animal models of neurodegenerative disease points to a spread of pathological markers through synaptic connections in brain networks. In this talk, Dr. Moran will outline an experiential hypothesis of cortical aging and how it predicts that particular (layer- and region-specific) cortical pathways will be overactive, while other pathways will be underactive, with progressing age. Dr. Moran will outline how these pathways are distinct in terms of their neurophysiology and anatomical origin, and how these distinctions may be assayed using a model-based imaging approach in humans, in vivo.
Dr. Moran will also present a proposed set of human pharmacological neuroimaging experiments. This set comprises behavioral paradigms that are designed to activate networks known to be vulnerable in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Characterizing these networks across the lifespan of a healthy cohort and in early pathological groups may elucidate potential biomarkers and therapies for neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Moran will present some preliminary data that show age-related decreases in GABA-receptor activity and increases in long-range, top-down connections originating in deep cortical laminae consistent with the theory.
About the Speaker:
After earning a doctorate in electronic engineering from University College Dublin, Dr. Rosalyn Moral undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.