Learn about aging research at the University of West Florida

Below are some examples of the research that UWF faculty are conducting to improve the lives of older adults

Investigate presenilin, a protein that when mutated has been shown to cause early onset Alzheimer’s disease. UWF researchers are using an animal model to elucidate the mechanisms by which a presenilin protein complex (known as ‘gamma secretase’) forms and how this complex is regulated. The development of gamma secretase inhibitors is an active area of clinical research and by understanding these mechanisms, UWF researchers are providing valuable information for future therapeutic approaches.

Identify and characterize novel biomarkers of neurodegeneration that may be present in blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Using a technique known as biopanning, UWF researchers are using phage-display to analyze blood and CSF samples to identify novel biomarkers linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other neuro-degenerative conditions.

Determine the impact of oxidative stress on the formation of pathological inclusions found in Alzheimer’s disease. Biochemical analysis and the use of cultured neurons has allowed researchers at UWF to begin to understand the molecular pathways the may contribute to the formation of plaques and tangles found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Investigate the use EEG (electroencephalogram) technology to identify the earliest changes in neuronal activity associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Such measures of brain function may be more sensitive to early neuropathological changes than structural neuroimaging techniques and work is expanding in this area in collaboration with other researchers across the country. This technique has other applications that are also being explored with UWF researchers to determine age differences in cognitive and psychomotor abilities and simulated driving.

Measure and understand age stereotypes across the lifespan in middle-aged through old-old adults in the context of how this affects various behaviors. UWF is seeking information from our community about their knowledge of aging as well as assessing life satisfaction among older adults. Such knowledge will help guide future work to improve education of the public at large. This includes the young and the old in order to build a more cohesive and understanding community about aging and growing old in our society.

Rodney Guttmann, Ph.D.
Director, UWF Center on Aging
Professor, Department of Psychology