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Dr. Paula C. Bickford is the lead investigator. As most neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s develop as we age, it is important to understand these diseases in the context of aging. It is becoming clear that the “environment” of the aged brain has a profound effect on the function of the brain and its regenerative response to Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) such as tauopathies. One of the major contributors to this aging “environment” is an activation of the innate immune system. Microglia are one of the main cells in the brain that contribute to inflammation. Microglia constantly sense the environment and respond to the blend of signals received. Our focus is to understand how microglia change with age and how they respond to various pathological insults such as tau, synuclein and brain injury. One main approach used it proteomics at the regional level in many models of neurodegenerative diseases. A second area of focus is how stem cell derived exosomes can regulate innate immune function and thus serve as therapeutics for many age-related neuropathologies.