Why do discovery research? Why not just jump straight to making a pill, isn’t that the point?
New therapeutic approaches do not divine out of thin air. A mountain of individual facts must first be discovered and then understood before we can even approach a new way of treating human disease. We are in the business of discovering new facts. That means engaging in hypothesis driven research and following up on our observations to determine what is happening at the molecular level (because proteins rule the world and so of course that’s where we are focused!) to explain everything from individual cellular events to organismal behavior.
The brain is a beautiful and complex organ. How is it that a lump of cells in your skull can make it so that when you smell cookies, you “see” your grandma’s face in your mind? Or… that same lump of cells allows you to navigate EVEN without your GPS, often without even thinking very hard about it. Our brains are beautiful, complex organs that hold many more discoveries than we can even imagine. These discoveries must be made for us to understand our brains and to treat the neurodegenerative disorders that threaten our loved ones, healthcare systems, and societies. If by some miracle, you don’t know someone who has been touched by neurodegeneration, count yourself lucky and brace for the inevitable. Advanced age is the single greatest risk factor for the development of any of the neurodegenerative disease we know about and we need an army of scientists and clinicians working together to discover the facts and develop new therapies.
The King lab is a neuroscience lab that uses cellular and molecular approaches to discover new facts about normal brain aging. In this context, greater knowledge of the healthy system will allow us to identify interventional break points from normal aging to target therapeutically. We use both cell culture and animal models to study proteins critical to brain aging in an effort to understand their effect on cell, circuit, and brain function.