CCN Colloquium: "The role of CD8+ T cells in unhealthy diet-induced memory deficits in aged rats"
My laboratory focuses on the vulnerabilities of the normal aging brain that, when challenged, lead to long-lasting memory deficits. My lab has examined various triggers such as bacterial infection, surgery, and unhealthy diets that induce exaggerated and prolonged neuroinflammation in the aged brain. My lab has identified sensitized microglia as playing a key role in this exaggerated response. I have demonstrated that this potentiated neuroinflammatory response causes robust inhibition of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, two molecular mechanisms critical to forming long-term memories. Furthermore, I have demonstrated that behavioral interventions such as exercise and reducing saturated fats from the diet can mitigate the exaggerated inflammatory response in the brain, and protect memory function.