SERTA: Healthy Brain Ageing Centre
The Healthy Brain Ageing Centre (HBAC) study how glial cells in the brain and molecular processes affect normal brain ageing, cognitive function and brain disease including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), meningitis and other CNS infections.
Glial cells are the most abundant cell of the human brain, ensheathing neurons and the vasculature. Glial cells do not only help maintain neuronal signaling, but actively influence synaptic transmission and also hold a regenerative potential. Based on evidence accrued in a number of laboratories including our own, glial cells now emerge as cells that strongly impact on brain ageing and brain dysfunction leading to disease.
The primary hypothesis of HBAC is that malfunction of glial cells triggers molecular processes leading to age-related brain disease. The goal of our studies is to discover and characterize new aspects of brain signaling and DNA repair with a focus on glia cells.
The HBAC takes research on glia in a completely new direction, by adapting to glial research a number of novel technologies that have provided significant breakthroughs including next generation live imaging using 2 photon fluorescence-/ super resolution microscopy, mass spectrometry (MS) focusing on post translational modifications (PTMs), and MS-based imaging. This targeted use of advanced interdisciplinary and convergent technology from various disciplines will enable a new profiling of human material, animal models and bacteria. The pathogenesis of CNS infections and AD will be addressed and microbes will also be used as model systems. Building on recent discoveries, including those on small RNAs and exosomes, the project offers to unleash important synergies by convergently spanning multiple disciplines in the life sciences.
HBAC will thus serve as a nexus for coupling optogenetics, microbiology, nanobiology, bio-/neuroinformatics, live imaging and structural biology to in-depth analyses of glia cell function in health, ageing, and disease, correlated with clinical human brain imaging and cognitive testing. Thereby, HBAC discoveries will in a translational manner identify fundamental brain functions that can form the basis for novel intervention strategies, promoting healthy longevity. This new knowledge is as relevant for the healthy brain and normal ageing as for neurodegeneration and brain diseases. The long term objective is to accomplish new diagnostics and treatment for brain diseases.
The SERTA HBAC at UiO has its origin in the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience (CMBN), a former Centre of Excellence 2003-2012 as well as being a SFFIII finalist 2013. HBAC now has the challenge and privilege to further develop this innovative project.
The consortium is a collaboration between University of Oslo - Institute of Clinical Medicine/Institute of Basic Medical Sciences/NCMM and Oslo University Hospital.
In addition, the consortium collaborates with Nevro Clinic AHUS, The Norwegian Node of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and Department of Psychology, UiO.