Assistant Professor Avi Avital
We are establishing a pre-clinical testing facility for assessing neurodegeneration in animal models of Alzheimer’s diseases and other neurodegenerative diseases. Explicitly, we aim to examine a broad spectrum of relevant behaviors that are impaired in neurodegenerative diseases such as; attention, learning and memory, motor performance, emotional and social behavior.
One of our focuses is to study new animal models related to D-serine, a crucial activator of NMDA receptors. Since dysfunction of NMDAR was found in neurodegenerative diseases and specifically in AD, our study will focus on the possible role of the transporter ASCT1 in D-serine regulation by comparing the performance of WT to ASCT1-KO mice in the above mentioned behavioral categories. In the second phase of the study, in order to better understand the role of ASCT1 in AD, we will explore the neural activity and plasticity by electrophysiological recording, using a telemetric recording in the brain regions relevant to those behaviors that will yield the most significant difference between WT and ASCT1-KO mice.