Our Research

Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) basic and clinical scientists work together to improve the health of the elderly in Kentucky and beyond through research dedicated to understanding the aging process and age-related brain diseases. Major foci of the center are basic and applied research in Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.

Our overall emphasis is to more effectively bridge the gap between basic research and clinical studies by facilitating translational efforts. We also carefully characterize transitions across the spectrum of cognitive impairment (normal/ preclinical AD/ MCI/ dementia), with focus on definition of early disease.

Faculty Areas of Research Interest

Detailed information about our research studies/grants can be found on faculty homepages. Go to SBCoA Faculty and click on a name.

1.Genetics, SNP, microRNA:Estus, Fardo, Johnson, Lovell, Nelson, Wang
2.Acute Injuries (stroke, TBI):Jicha, Lovell, Morganti, Pettigrew, Van Eldik, Wang
3.Emotion:Blonder, Schmitt
4.Epidemiology:Abner, Kryscio, Moga
5.Normal Aging:Bardach, Jicha, Nelson, Norris, Schmitt
6.Longitudinal Data Analysis:Abner, Fardo, Kryscio
7.Neuropathology:Nelson, Neltner, Wilcock
8.Amyloid Structure/Function:Butterfield, LeVine, P. Murphy
9.TDP and Tau Disorders:Gold, Jicha, Lee, Lovell, Nelson, Selenica, Schmitt
10.Neuroinflammation:Norris, Sompol, Van Eldik, Wilcock
11.Blood Brain Barrier:Hartz
12.Oxidative Stress:Butterfield, LeVine, Lovell, P. Murphy
13.Vascular:Jicha, Lovell, Nelson, Schmitt, Wilcock
14.Synapse, Neuron Function:Norris, Sompol
15.Metabolic:Johnson, Lin, Thibault
16.Prevention:Bardach, Gibson, Jicha, Lovell, Moga, Schmitt, Wilcock
17.Biomarkers (Imaging CSF):Gold, Jiang, LeVine, Lin, Lovell, Van Eldik, Wilcock
18.Therapeutics:LeVine, Van Eldik
19.Clinical Trials:Bardach, Gold, Jiang, Jicha, Van Eldik, Wilcock
20.Outreach, Special Populations:Bardach, Jicha, Schmitt

Multi-Investigator Studies/Grants

UK-Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

(1 P30 AG028383) Linda J. Van Eldik, PhD, PI
The UK-ADRC serves as the focal point for all Alzheimer's disease-related activities at UK by providing an environment and core resources to catalyze research, outreach, education, and clinical programs. The major goal of this project is to build on the existing broad-based Alzheimer's disease program to gain an understanding of pathogenic mechanisms in Alzheimer's disease with the eventual goal of prevention and treatment of the disease.

The UK-ADRC operates the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Clinic, the Minority Gateway Satellite Clinic, and the Telemedicine Cognitive Clinic to diagnose and care for individuals with cognitive problems. Approximately 80,000 Kentuckians and more than 6 million people nationally have Alzheimer's disease.

Stroke Program

L. Creed Pettigrew, MD
Current research includes clinical trials of experimental stroke therapy, preclinical studies of factors affecting blood flow to the brain, research on the relationship of stroke to Alzheimer's disease and cognitive change, and studies of the effects of right and left hemisphere stroke on language, communication, and marital interaction.

Aging Of Frontal Structure & Function in Down Syndrome and Dementia

(1R01HD064993) Co-PIs: Elizabeth Head, PhD and Frederick A. Schmitt, PhD
The study will identify new ways in which to detect Alzheimer's disease in adults with Down syndrome (DS) by monitoring changes in cognitive function, measuring brain changes by magnetic resonance imaging, and profiling patterns of proteins in the plasma. In parallel, autopsy studies of brain samples will help us to understand how non-invasive cognitive, imaging, and blood measures reflect the development of Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome. Treatments for Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome will be more effective if the disease is detected early and identifying biomarkers will greatly facilitate the development of therapeutics. Link to NIH abstract.