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The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

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Investigating How Stress and Aging Can Lead to Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Stephen Ginsberg of the Center for Dementia Research was a key contributor to a paper recently published in Nature Communications (Inda et al., 2020). This research provides novel evidence of a pathological process underlying Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, and suggests a new potential therapeutic target.

The research team, led by Dr. Gabriela Chiosis from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, shows how stressors can alter protein connectivity in the brain, which in turn can lead to brain circuitry failure in disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers coined a new term to describe this phenomenon: “protein connectivity-based dysfunction” or PCBD. According to Dr. Ginsberg, “Many people who study Alzheimer’s are thinking about circuits in the brain. But there’s no clear understanding of how stressors due to aging and the environment change the way proteins interact. Our research demonstrates that epichaperome formation rewires brain circuitry in Alzheimer’s by enabling proteins to misconnect, leading to downstream PCBD and cognitive decline.” The team further demonstrated a drug that corrected signaling problems between neurons, providing a promising new avenue for treatment.

Read more about this exciting advance in Alzheimer’s research in this Memorial Sloan Kettering blog: Study Reveals a New Way That Stress and Aging Lead to Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Helen Scharfman Receives Basic Science Research Award

Helen Scharfman, PhD, has received the annual Basic Science Research Award from the American Epilepsy Society (AES), in recognition of her distinguished research career which holds promise for the improved understanding and treatment of epilepsy. The award was presented on December 7 at the 2019 AES Annual Meeting in Baltimore, where Dr. Scharfman presented on "Contributing to Basic Research About Epilepsy". Dr. Scharfman is a senior research scientist in the Center for Dementia Research at NKI, where her laboratory focuses on mechanisms that regulate excitability and plasticity in the brain. She has published over 150 articles and edited or co-edited five books. In addition, Dr. Scharfman has been an active contributor to the AES, the Epilepsy Foundation, and the International League Against Epilepsy. She has also served on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal of Neuroscience and Science Translational Medicine, and has been a contributing editor for Epilepsy Currents.

NKI’s Highly Cited Researchers

The Highly Cited Researchers list from the Web of Science Group recognizes the world's most influential researchers of the past decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year. The 2019 list features four scientists affiliated with the Nathan Kline Institute:

Dr. Castellanos is a Senior Research Psychiatrist at NKI and an endowed Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Javitt heads the Schizophrenia Research Program at NKI and is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. LeDoux directs the Emotional Brain Institute (EBI) and is an endowed Professor at NYU. Dr. Milham directs the Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation (C-BIN) at NKI and is Vice President of Research at the Child Mind Institute.

New Book by Joseph LeDoux Explores the Evolution of the Human Mind

Joseph LeDoux, Director of the Emotional Brain Institute, has published a new book titled The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains (Viking, 2019). You can learn more about it by reading Dr. LeDoux's Psychology Today blog, by listening to his interview with Joe Rogan, or by watching his appearance at the Rubin Museum.