Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Young blood for old brains
Abstract: Brain aging leads to cognitive decline and is the main risk factor for sporadic forms of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. While brain cell and tissue intrinsic factors are likely key determinants of the aging process recent studies from our lab and others document a remarkable susceptibility of the brain to circulatory factors. Thus, blood borne factors from young mice or humans are sufficient to slow aspects of brain aging and improve cognitive function in old mice, and vice versa, factors from old mice are detrimental for young mice and impair cognition. We are trying to understand the molecular basis of these observations and explore their relevance for neurodegeneration and potential application towards therapies.
Bio: Tony Wyss-Coray is a professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, the Co-Director of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and the Associate Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the Palo Alto VA. His lab investigates the role of immune responses in brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. His most recent studies have shown that circulatory factors can modulate neurogenesis, neuroimmunity, and cognitive function in mice and that blood-derived factors from young mice or humans can rejuvenate the aging mouse brain. These findings were voted 2nd place Breakthrough of the Year in 2014 by Science Magazine and presented in talks at Global TED, the World Economic Forum, and Google Zeitgeist. Wyss-Coray is the co-founder of Alkahest, a company developing plasma-based therapies to counter age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The Wyss-Coray lab is now trying to understand the molecular basis of this systemic communication with the brain by employing a combination of –omics approaches and through the development of bioorthogonal tools for the in vivo labeling of proteins.