Department of Pharmacology
Sarah C. Hopp, PhD
Research focuses on microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, and how these cells are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. Microglia changes during aging, in Alzheimer’s disease and chronic neuroinflammation. A main research objective is to understand how these changes contribute to the initiation and progression of neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits. One line of research focuses on microglia interaction with tau pathology. Misfolded tau accumulates and spreads during Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies, and recent evidence from the laboratory suggests that microglia contribute to the spread of tau pathology via dysfunctional degradation of tau.
A second line of research focuses on how microglia intracellular calcium dysregulation in the context of Alzheimer’s pathology alters normal microglia processes and contributes to their dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. A particular interest is differentiating cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous effects of manipulating microglia in vivo. A variety of methods are utilized to address these research goals including transgenic animal models, behavior analyses, cell culture, imaging, protein biochemistry, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and pharmacological and genetic manipulation of microglia-specific pathways.
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