Michael R. Nichols
Final Abstract for URS Program
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia characterized by the impairment of at least two brain functions such as memory loss and judgement. AD is a progressive illness that can last as many as 20 years. AD is largely considered to be caused by the formation of extracellular amyloid plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. A better understanding of the structure and function of these plaques may lead to clearer understanding of the disease. To analyze amyloid plaques, aggregation assays are often used. During these assays we begin with monomer and place the sample in biological conditions to see how long it takes for the monomer to aggregate. A key component of these assays is a tracer molecule such as Thioflavin T. The tracer molecule allows us to determine when the monomer has begun to aggregate. I have been analyzing a new fluorescent dye to determine if it may be a better fit for amyloid beta aggregation assays.