Terrence Christopher Town, PhD
|Title||Visiting Professor of Physiology & Biophysics|
|School||Keck School of Medicine of USC|
|Department||Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute|
|Address||ZNI 321 1501 San Pablo Street|
Health Sciences Campus
Los Angeles California 90033
|Phone||+1 323 442 2492|
The Town lab joined the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute on May 1, 2013. My lab's focus is to develop a treatment for Alzheimer's disease by targeting the body's immune system. Most therapies targeting the disease are thwarted by the blood-brain barrier, a natural mechanism that protects brain cells from entry of peripheral substances, and by the fact that immune responses in the brain are typically muted. However, in laboratory mice programmed to develop Alzheimer's-like disease, my group has shown that certain immune cells can be coaxed into the brain from the circulation, where they attack the damaging sticky plaque buildup that is a defining feature of Alzheimer's disease.
My lab is continuing to pursue this line of research in hopes of developing a next-generation drug for Alzheimer's disease. This work, which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer's Association, and the American Federation for Aging Research, has been published in numerous high-impact peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Immunity, Neuron, PNAS, Trends in Neurosciences, and The Journal of Neuroscience.
My lab revolutionized the field of Alzheimer's disease research by generating the first rat model of the disease that manifests all of the clinico-pathological hallmarks of the human syndrome. Specifically, we made transgenic rats that over-express two mutant human transgenes that are each independently causative of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease: "Swedish" mutant amyloid precursor protein and deltaE9 mutant presenilin-1. Unlike their transgenic mouse cousins that develop "senile" plaques but fail to manifest "tangles" and frank neuronal loss, these transgenic rats-for the first time-develop the full spectrum of Alzheimer pathologies. This makes them an invaluable tool for understanding Alzheimer's disease etiology and for pre-clinical testing of cutting-edge therapeutics.
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