Stefano L. Sensi

University of California, USA

The focus of the research of the Molecular Neurology Unit that I direct concerns the area of ionic dys/homeostasis and neuronal death, with a specific emphasis on excitotoxic conditions resulting from glutamate receptor over-activation. Glutamate is the most widespread neurotransmitter in the brain and when released in excessive amounts during ischemia, ALS, or Alzheimer’s disease is potently neurotoxic. Key factors leading to neuronal death after glutamate receptor over-activation are loss of intracellular homeostasis for divalent ions including calcium and zinc, alterations in mitochondrial function, and consequent generation of oxidative stress as well activation of apoptotic, necrotic, and autophagic pathways . The Molecular Neurology Unit employs “state of the art” ionic imaging and electrophysiological techniques to provide critical insights into changes in the intracellular environment of living neurons that are undergoing excitotoxic challenges in the context of experimental models of ALS, cerebral ischemia, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Our unit is also involved “in vivo” studies aimed at finding neuroprotective strategies for ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease. In recent years we have also employed pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological approaches to delay cognitive decline in aging individuals. The techniques employed in these studies range from DTI to fMRI imaging. Our studies have helped to clarify cardinal steps of neuronal death signaling and have been and continue to be published in leading international journals in neuroscience. Present Positions: Head of the Molecular Neurology Unit, Center for Excellence on Aging, University “G. d’ Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Italy Associate Professor in Rehabilitative Neurology and Psychiatry, University “G. d’ Annunzio” Associate Adjunct Professor in Neurology and Pharmacology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA

Biography Updated on 15 March 2012

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