Michael King, Ph.D.
My interests are broadly focused on degeneration in the brain, its functional consequences, and the development of therapeutic strategies that can counteract pathological processes and promote restorative mechanisms. Current projects involve developing models and therapeutics for the major dementing neuropathologies associated with aging: strokes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
We have twenty years of experience developing and using adeno-associated viral vector technology to make preclinical gene delivery models of inherited and sporadic tauopathies and inherited amyloidopathies, as well as age-related memory dysfunction. We have also used this gene transfer approach to try to counteract tau, amyloid, injury, and memory-related pathology by discrete intracranial expression of degradative enzymes and neurotrophic factors. Previous studies related to memory and aging include a comprehensive electrophysiological analysis of hippocampal synaptic function and plasticity across the lifespan of adult rats prior to the age when mnemonic dysfunction emerges.
The laboratory has expertise in a variety of anatomical techniques, including stereology and quantitative histometry, and also employs behavioral assays of cognitive and motor performance. Biochemical and molecular analyses of protein and gene expression and intracellular signal transduction complement anatomical, behavioral, and electrophysiological methods. Active collaborations include studies on simulated blast shock-induced brain injury, septohippocampal development, stereotypy related to environmental impoverishment, the development of epilepsy, histological validation of phenomena derived from magnetic resonance imaging techniques, and mechanisms relating neuropathology and behavior in localized brain tauopathy.