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Research Opportunities for Residents

The Basic Science Division within the Department of Anesthesia wishes to invite faculty or residents to participate in a research project examining potential mechanisms for post-operative cognitive dysfunction after anesthesia. Postoperative cognitive dysfunction in the elderly is a common occurrence. Patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) are particularly at risk for the development of postoperative cognitive dysfunction. There are also studies suggesting that exposure to anesthesia may increase the risk of AD. 

Intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles composed of cleaved and hyperphosphorylated tau are a pathological hallmark of the Alzheimer disease (AD)brain. The abnormal cleavage and hyperphosphorylation of tau is a pivotal event in the neurodegenerative process in AD. However, it is not clear how these pathological forms of tau facilitate neuronal cell dysfunction and death. Recent studies have shown in mouse models that exposure to anesthetics results in persistent increases in tau phosphorylation, however the mechanisms involved remain unclear, and have been suggested to be due to the hypothermia rather than the anesthesia per se. 

In this project a cellular model approach will be used to determine whether anesthesia alone, hypothermia alone or the combination of the two effect tau phosphorylation and function. Analyses will involve immunocytochemistry, immunoblotting, cell viability measures and fractionation assays.Johnson lab

Research Funding


R56NS094086: The degradation of tau by selective autophagy

NS098769 – The degradation of tau by selective autophagy

AG060627 - Tau protein turnover and mitochondrial stress responses

PubMed Publication List