Peter Penzes, Nothwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA
Paul Fraser, University of Toronto, Canada
Hengye Man, Boston University, USA
Michael Salter, University of Toronto, Canada
Yu-Tian Wang, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Yizheng Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.
Shumin Duan, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, China
Normal aging impairs cognition, including learning and memories. This impairment is largely due to the changes of synapses rather than a loss of nerve cells in the vulnerable areas of the brain such as the hippocampus, the focal point of a network of cortical areas that are associated with declarative or explicit memory function. A subtle and region-specific alterations in synapses have been identified that are associated with hippocampus-dependent memory and these will be one major focus of discussion.
This advanced Course will provide a comprehensive review of mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity in the central neurons, and how this transmission is altered during aging. Attention will be specifically devoted to age-dependent regulation of synaptic receptors and functions, and how this regulation alters the capacity of learning and memory of normal aging. In addition, the Course will also focus on the most recent studies on the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the synaptic alterations that leave a neuron vulnerable to degeneration and the conditions that promote such vulnerability. This is particularly important with respect to Alzheimer's disease, and stroke damages.
Specific aspects of the modern techniques that have been used to investigate synaptic transmission and plasticity in aging such as optogenetics, and two-photo images will be covered. Additionally, critical discussion will not only focus on the communications between nerve cells but also on communication between glia and nerve cells, its age-dependent changes and its relevance for cognitive problems during aging. Structured discussion sessions and opportunities for informal afternoon and evening gatherings will make the Course a venue particularly suitable for intense interaction with the Faculties.