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Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences Section

Mark P. Mattson, PhD, Section Chief

  • The Hormesis Project. This project is aimed at understanding adaptive cellular stress response pathways in neural cells, how they are activated or inhibited by dietary and behavioral factors, and whether activation of such pathways can provide therapeutic benefit in animal models and human subjects. We are elucidating how moderate levels of general stressors (e.g., exercise, dietary energy restriction) or specific stress-inducing chemicals can protect the nervous system against age- and disease-related dysfunction and degeneration.
  • The Neuroplasticity Project. This project involves investigations of signaling mechanisms that regulate stem cell self-renewal, neurogenesis, neurite outgrowth, synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival. This project has evolved from discoveries made in my laboratory during the past 3 decades which revealed roles for neurodegenerative disease-related proteins (e.g., APP, presenilin-1, DJ-1, TNF, and TLRs) in neural plasticity, and vice-versa (e.g., glutamate, BDNF and Notch).
  • The Energy Metabolism Project. This project aims to understand how energy intake, energy expenditure, and diabetes affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease. These studies include both basic science and translational research components, are integrated with the other 3 CMNS projects, and include multiple collaborations with other NIA IRP investigators.
  • The Alzheimer’s Disease Project. This project includes both a basic science component (discovery of molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction and death) and a translational component (preclinical and clinical evaluation of novel interventions).