The medical, social, and economic impact of age-related diseases is immense, and is increasing rapidly as life-expectancy is extended and the average age of the population shifts upward. Aging is associated with increased risk of developing disorders such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases, which are due to protein misfolding and aggregation in the brain. At a mechanistic level, these disorders are related to alterations in key physiological, cellular and molecular pathways, including those related to metabolism, cellular proliferation, inflammation, neuronal plasticity, protein folding and quality control, and protein trafficking and degradation. The Department of Biochemistry offers graduate students exciting opportunities to study these processes in the context of age-related diseases using a variety of cellular and animal systems.
Faculty conducting research in these areas: