Gizem Donmez on Brain Aging

Brain aging is associated with many biological, physiological and pathological changes. Aging affects the structure and function of our brains. These age-related changes lead to a decline in learning and memory together with psychological changes. Most importantly, aging is the major risk factor for almost all of the neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases. 1 in 3 people over age 80 have Alzheimer’s Disease. Unfortunately, there is still no cure or effective treatment for these diseases.

Age-related neurodegeneration can be genetic or sporadic. More than 90 % of the cases in population are sporadic. However, most of the scientific research is based on genetic neurodegenerative disorders and is conducted using model organisms that are genetically-engineered to carry neurodegenerative diseases. Understanding the molecular pathways and genes associated with age-related neurodegeneration will help us design therapeutics to find cure for these disorders.

Aging was shown to be regulated by molecular and genetic pathways rather than just simple wear and tear. Since aging is the major cause for neurodegeneration, by interfering with these molecular pathways that control aging, we believe that brain aging and as a result neurodegenerative disorders could be delayed or prevented. My research also focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of that regulate brain aging.


2) Donmez G. (2012) The neurobiology of sirtuins and their role in neurodegeneration. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Sep;33(9):494-501. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Jun 30. Review.

3) Donmez G. (2013) Sirtuins as possible targets in neurodegenerative diseases. Curr Drug Targets. 2013 Jun 1;14(6):644-7.


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