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Project title Synaptic and dendritic dysfunction in Alzheimer‘s disease: computational and experimental neuroscience perspectives in understanding the dynamics of neurodegenerative processes
Time of implementation 01.06. - 30.11.2018.
Involved countries and institutions

1. Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lithuania)

2. Justus-Liebig-University (Germany)
Aim(s) of the project

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by progressive memory loss, cognitive decline, impairment of language, decision making and social skills. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia affecting over 46 million people worldwide and estimated to triple by the year 2050. It has a long preclinical stage, and before any clinical symptoms appear, pathological processes are observed in hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Specifically, beta-amyloid peptides accumulate forming extracellular neuritic plaques leading to progressive dendritic atrophy, synaptic and neuronal loss. In addition, cholinergic neuromodulation, essential for memory formation and learning, is heavily impaired.  Alzheimer’s disease can’t be prevented, halted and cured yet, and new interdisciplinary ways are urgently needed for the understanding and treatment of this devastating disease.

Theoretical/computational neuroscience is a modern tool to integrate available neuroscience knowledge and provide insights into the dynamics of molecular, cellular and system level mechanisms underlying brain disorders. Computational modeling approach will be used to analyze complex interactions of synaptic dysfunction and dendritic atrophy due to beta-amyloid peptide accumulation, deficient cholinergic neuromodulation in Alzheimer’s disease. Integrated with the newly developed in vitro approaches to specifically dissect brain cell interactions, it will offer a powerful tool to study mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders.

Target group

Direct:

  1. Researchers of the Neuroscience Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (15 persons).
  2. Researchers of the 3R Center, Faculty of Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University, Gießen (6).

Indirect:

  1. Students and faculty members of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (more than 300)
    2. Students and faculty members of Justus-Liebig-University Gießen           (more than 500).
Main activities of the project and venue(s) where the project activities will be carried out: 1. Scientific research (theoretical/ computational modelling of Alzheimer’s disease) in Neuroscience Institute of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania.

2.Scientific research (theoretical/ computational modelling of Alzheimer’s disease and analysis of experimental data) in Justus-Liebig-University, Faculty of Medicine, Gießen, Germany.

3.Two research visits:

German researchers to Neuroscience Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (19.-22.09.2018.).

Lithuanian researchers to Justus-Liebig-University, Faculty of Medicine, Gießen, Germany (16.-19.10.2018.).

Public events in the frame of the project

20. September

Interdisciplinary workshop “Understanding the dynamics of diseases: integrating computational and experimental neuroscience” in Neuroscience Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania.

Program of the conference

 

17. October, 14.00

Institute of Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, Seminar Room, Justus-Liebig-University, Rudolf-Buchheim-Str.6, Gießen, Germany  

Seminar "Learning deficits induced by synaptic and dendritic dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease"