About Gemma Casadesus
The main goal of Dr. Casadesus’ Research program is to understand how, at a cellular and molecular level, age-related or lifestyle-mediated changes in hormones receptor signaling impact brain health and drive increased risk for AD. Current interests focus on understanding the mechanistic impact of age-related reproductive hormone dysregulation in females and lifestyle-related metabolic dysregulation (obesity/T2D) on endpoints including but not limited to neuronal plasticity, cellular metabolism and stress, and learning & memory function and signaling. Another current interest in the laboratory is to identify underlying genomic signatures that confer sexually dimorphic protection or increased risk for AD. The ultimate objective of the laboratory is to develop therapeutic interventions that will foster healthy brain aging and slow or forestall AD development.
Dr. Gemma Casadesus earned her Ph.D. in 2003 from Tufts University for her work investigating the impact of polyphenolic-rich diets on aging brain neurochemistry, plasticity, and cognition. After her postdoctoral training in the Pathology department at Case Western Reserve University, studying oxidative stress and hormone dysregulation mechanisms on AD pathogenesis, Dr. Casadesus was recruited to the Department of Neurosciences at the same institution, where she remained as tenure track faculty and founding director of the CWRU rodent behavior core until 2013. In 2014, she joined Kent State University’s Biological Sciences department as Associate and Full professor until joining the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2020.
The central hypothesis that drives the work in the Casadesus laboratory is that age-related dysregulation of fundamental physiological processes precedes and/or underlies the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Based on this hypothesis the primary aim is to identify the mechanistic basis underlying age-related/lifestyle conditions that confer increased AD risk (or protection) to develop novel and better targeted disease-delaying therapeutic strategies.
A current major interest in the laboratory is to understand how dysregulation of specific hormones due to aging or lifestyle choices, impact neuronal structure and plasticity, cellular metabolism, and cognition. The Casadesus laboratory is also interested in identifying the genomic signatures that may explain sex-specific vulnerability or protection to these hormone changes. Particular focus is placed on understanding the roles of under-studied reproductive and metabolic hormones, their receptors, and neuroendocrine circuits. These include but are not limited to luteinizing hormone and amylin in the context of menopause and obesity/T2D.
To address such questions, our laboratory employs a broad range of in vivo and in vitro techniques, spanning from behavioral phenotyping assays, standard biochemical measures, and confocal imaging, to systems neuroscience approaches (transcriptomics) and cutting-edge gene editing techniques using CRISPR/Cas9 and virus delivery approaches.
- Integrative neuroscience
- Metabolic syndrome
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Neuropathology of Neurodegenerative diseases
- Sex Differences