Assistant Professor Erik Bloss, Ph.D., is studying neurological changes in response to exercise and the role specific neurons in the brain.
Exercise has been shown to protect against the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found some exercise benefits at the molecular level, but exactly how it protects brain function and lowers disease risk remains unknown. Assistant Professor Erik Bloss, Ph.D., received a five-year, $3.9M R01 grant to study neurological changes in response to exercise and the role specific neurons in the brain, called ventromedial hypothalamus expressing Steroidogenic Factor 1 (VMH SF-1 neurons), may play. His work will explore how changes in the synaptic inputs to these neurons might physically “store” exercise history as well as the process through which exercise-related activity in VMH neurons drive functional changes in the brain. The work will advance understanding of the beneficial effects of exercise and whether there are potential therapeutic targets for disease intervention.
Grant details: https://reporter.nih.gov/search/6zIdXufvc0GizMwu33XtLA/project-details/10562283
Erik Bloss’s research program: https://www.jax.org/news-and-insights/2019/december/zooming-in-on-the-brain
Research into goal-directed behaviors: https://www.jax.org/news-and-insights/2021/November/tracking-the-neural-circuitry-underlying-behavior