The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) provides an annual fellowship program for faculty within the college to collaborate in research with existing college centers. This year, a new center was created within the college: the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research Center (ADRC).
The formal R401 approval for designation as a center is expected later this year, but research to advance the mission of the center is already underway. This includes a new fellowship opportunity within the College, specifically for the ADRC.
Mona Buhusi is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University and is the inaugural recipient of the CEHS-ADRC fellowship. She is an active researcher in the Neuroscience program, studying the mechanisms by which brain cells communicate with one another.
Communication between healthy neurons is complex; cells receive specific signals and respond appropriately by modifying their activity. Disease or pathology can develop when the connections or communications between neurons are abnormal.
During her fellowship, Buhusi will study mice that carry three gene mutations known to cause Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Just as in humans, these mice will develop the key pathologies seen in Alzheimer’s disease, which include the presence of beta amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Buhusi will examine how aspects of neural communication at different ages in the mouse lifespan are related to the development of future Alzheimer’s plagues and tangles.
Buhusi is supported by a team of collaborators: Psychology faculty JoAnn Tschanz and Catalin Buhusi, graduate student Kirsten Hodgson, and undergraduate students Madison Treasure-Areno and Sophia Mouritsen. This team will present their findings to the ADRC and gather data for grants and publications in this area.
Shawn Whiteman, professor in Human Development and Family Studies and associate dean for research in the college, oversees the Office of Research Services, which sponsors the Faculty Fellowship program. “I am delighted that Dr. Mona Buhusi was selected as the inaugural CEHS-ADRC Faculty Fellow,” Whiteman said. “Her proposed work and collaboration with Drs. Tschanz and Buhusi will provide new insights into intercellular communication as a pathway of progression of Alzheimer’s Disease pathology as well as new potential targets for pharmacological therapies. This work is innovative and clearly advances the research mission of the ADRC and the CEHS more broadly.”
In addition to support from the College and the ADRC, Buhusi also received support from the Department of Psychology to pursue this fellowship.
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