Here at Horizon Academic, we believe that beginning to conduct independent research as early on as high school has far-reaching benefits for students in their academic, professional, and personal lives. However, we also recognize that resources tend to be limited so it is our mission to continuously expand and provide opportunities for high schoolers to engage in college-level research. To this end, we are introducing one of the most in-demand, pre-med courses into our Seminar track — Neurodegenerative Diseases: Pathogenesis and Pathophysiology! Offered for the first time in Summer 2023, the course will be instructed by an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com if you'd like to hear more about the instructor's background!
The new neuroscience research program aims to convey theoretical and practical knowledge on the pathophysiology, clinical features, epidemiological aspects, and neurobiological substrates of neurodegenerative diseases and explore the molecular, cellular and network pathways that are connected to the neurology and neuroscience of such diseases. While “neurodegenerative disease” is an umbrella term for a wide range of conditions that influence neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system, the focus will be on Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Traumatic Brain Injury. This course will unravel the complex relationships between the genetics of neurodegeneration, pathomechanisms of disease development, epidemiology, molecular biology, pharmaceutical chemistry, neurobiology, imaging, assessments, and treatment regimens.
Upon completion of this course, students will obtain an overall understanding of neurodegeneration and gain detailed insight into these most common neurodegenerative disorders. The course will first cover foundational topics and then goes relatively in depth in covering the classical and cutting-edge research on the mechanisms that have been discovered to play a role in each of the neurodegenerative diseases to be tackled. Students will also be able to critically evaluate papers from the primary scientific literature.
- Although non-exhaustive, potential research projects may include the following:
- Why is it important to study neurodegenerative diseases and what are the most common neurodegenerative diseases?
- What are the basic cellular and circuit processes that are affected by each of the neurodegenerative diseases that the course will tackle?
- What are the molecular mechanisms that underlie the different neurodegenerative diseases and what are the molecular pathologies in each?
- How are biomarkers used in neurodegenerative disease diagnosis, and why are new biomarkers needed for such diseases?
- What are the common mechanisms and strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases?
- What are the current diagnostic methods and criteria as placed within the recent developments in neuropathology?
- How do the etiopathogenetic factors vary across the different neurodegenerative diseases?
- Why are we not better at treating neurodegenerative diseases?
- How are the neuropathological and multisystem neurodegeneration processes different across the different neurodegenerative diseases?
- How can we increase access to neurodegenerative diseases treatments?
- Can we use gene editing to study neurodegeneration? Can CRISPR be used as genetic therapy?
- Why are current treatments considered ineffective? How can we develop new therapies for these disorders?
- Can we reverse neurodegeneration? What would be some of the strategies for this?
- How does our lifestyle impact our risk for developing neurodegenerative disease? Exercise, diet, education, social connection - how do all of these factors impact our disease risk? Are lifestyle modifications effective for disease prevention?