Undergraduate Research & Scholarships


Improving Cognition in Alzheimer's Disease through Light Stimulation

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is a clear relationship between reduced cognitive ability, asynchronous brain wave oscillations, and neuroinflammation. Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, no longer efficiently target and clear amyloid-beta, leading to an accumulation of plaques that disrupt neuronal communication. This summer, my mentor and I are interested in manipulating oscillatory activity at the gamma wave frequency associated with optimal cognition (40Hz), as a target for therapeutic intervention. We will test a new invisible light-flicker technology on a mouse model of AD that pilot data suggests will synchronize brain wave activity and neuronal firing to induce healthy neuroimmune system functioning. We predict that with 40Hz stimulation, microglia will better function in clearing amyloid-beta plaque accumulation and improve cognition. By employing quantitative PCR, we will isolate microglia and characterize their cytokine profiles to increase our understanding of how non-invasive sensory stimuli can induce large-scale changes in neurophysiology. This research merges science and technology and will expand our knowledge of AD and shed light on potential approaches for further research in the field.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for supporting my research this summer! I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to explore my interest in neuroscience and develop valuable skills that will help me grow as a student and researcher. This experience is an extraordinary opportunity for me to spearhead change in the field of neuroscience by exploring the complex internal processes that occur during the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Thank you so much again for your generosity and support!
Profile image of Lucy Jiwu
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Madison Browne
Sponsor: Shin Morgan Fund
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