Botanicals and Molecular Neuroresiliency

Dr. Pasinetti received a competitive award from the NIH for $10 million for five years to conduct research under his leadership in the Department of Neurology.

The goal of the Research Projects of this Botanical Center is to understand mechanistically the potential role of certain botanical dietary supplements, in particular polyphenols, to promote resilience against psychological stress (Project 1) and sleep disorder induced cognitive impairment (Project 2), and to clarify the role of gastrointestinal microflora (microbiome) in transgenic gnotobiotic mice at the genomic level (Project 3). Ultimately, these studies will provide the mechanistic basis of how to promote cognitive and psychological health. The Center will support these three major projects through interdisciplinary collaborative efforts from the Department of Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine, and in collaboration with Rutgers University and the University of North Texas. The Center research will potentially lead to safe and efficacious treatments of dietary polyphenols to promote resilience in response to stressful conditions.

The Center also includes three Research Cores. Support from the three Research Cores is critical for the successful execution of individual Research Projects. The Administrative/Statistical Core A provides oversight/coordination, in addition to Biostatistical and Educational/Training support, for the Center activities. The Biosynthetic Component of Core B will generate biosynthetic polyphenol botanical metabolites to support all in vitro bioactivity and mechanistic studies by the Research Projects. Additionally, the Bioanalytical Component of Core B will monitor the bioavailability of polyphenols in genetically modified/gnotobiotic mice carrying select commensal microbes to explore the role of the microbiome in polyphenol bioavailability and eventually, efficacy of treatment conducted by the Research Project. Moreover, the Bioanalytical Component of Core B will provide critical support by monitoring the bioavailability of specific bioactive polyphenols following treatments. The Behavioral and Electrophysiology Core C will operate by providing behavioral phenotyping and electrophysiological support for all the studies proposed in the Research Projects, which are fundamental aspects for assessment of efficacy following polyphenol treatments in the experimental animals being tested.