Please tell me about the research you’re currently doing in Dr. Greengard’s lab. What is the nature of the research? What are you targeting?
Dr. Victor Bustos: I’m investigating why Alzheimer’s disease appears when people get older. There is a protein in nerve cells called presenilin that undergoes changes with aging. I think some of these changes could explain why aging is the main risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. So, the target I’m studying is presenilin.
If you had to sum up your work in a few sentences, what would you say?
Dr. Victor Bustos: I use cells growing in culture and genetically engineered animal models to investigate the changes that occur with aging. One of the things I do is to modify these changes using biochemical and genetic methods. Then, I determine whether the models will get Alzheimer’s disease.
What results have you discovered thus far from your research, or what do you expect to find?
Dr. Victor Bustos: I have discovered a change in the molecule presenilin that I believe is a contributing factor for Alzheimer’s disease in elderly people.
What impact might your work have on Alzheimer’s diagnosis or treatment in the future?
Dr. Victor Bustos: I think it will allow us to find drugs that will target presenilin, or other molecules that are regulated by it. This will block the effects of aging so that Alzheimer’s can be avoided.
What directions can you see your work taking in the future?
Dr. Victor Bustos: I think it will open up new avenues for research into aging and have impact on different diseases that are age-dependent.