What will you be working on next in your own research projects and at Brackolab? [Oliver]
The vascular network and brain blood flow are both crucial to supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients to exert proper function, and the aim of my lab at the University of Miami will be to understand this concept in the context of neurodegenerative disease.
One line of research will elucidate common and specific mechanisms of vascular dysfunction and cognitive decline in neurodegenerative disease. Specifically, I am interested if brain blood flow reductions also contribute to other forms of dementia, such as Frontotemporal dementia, and – if accurate – if the underlying mechanism is capillary stalling or if additional, diseasespecific, factors are in play.
In a second line of research I focus on the molecular basis of vasculature plugging. A similar phenomenon was also observed in other diseases and organs, and one crucial factor that may unify them is vascular inflammation. My current hypothesis is that increased vascular inflammation will cause cells to block the vessels and infiltrate the brain, causing reduced oxygen supply (hypoxia), a leaky bloodbrain barrier, and ultimately blood flow reductions.
This viscous cycle may accelerate the disease progression and contribute to cognitive impairment.
Treating vascular inflammation and consequently brain blood flow reductions may open up new routes to therapeutics that could slow disease progression in patients with different forms of dementia.