Can Gene Editing Be The Key to Treating Alzheimers?

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Saani Kulkarni


Commonly known as the most complex part of the human body, the brain contains millions of neurons, each with the ability to send and receive unique messages utilizing electrochemical signals. However, in individuals with Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative diseases, the typical function of neurons is impaired greatly. The lifespan of a neuron is dependent upon 3 primary factors: communication, metabolism, and its ability to repair itself. Without proper signaling, neurons are unable to access their target cells and gain access to necessary trophic factors. Moreover, neurons require adequate nutrients and chemicals to operate, gaining their energy through oxygen and glucose from the blood; the lack of these necessities will result in the death of the neuron. They must also be able to maintain a healthy state throughout their lifespan; while other human body cells may die quickly, neurons are observed to be able to live beyond 100 years of age in the human body.

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Author Biography

Saani Kulkarni, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Saani Kulkarni is a rising junior majoring in Bioengineering with a minor in Computer Science. Outside of academics, she is passionate about learning from different cultures and travel, choosing to further her knowledge by working as a Global Engineering Ambassador for the school. She hopes to combine her interest in neuroscience with her skills in order to promote student awareness on campus in regard to neurodegenerative disorders.