Understanding Neurodegeneration at the Molecular Level

An Interview with Dr. Caleb Finch

Kimby N. Barton, MSc
Associate Editor,
Geriatrics & Aging

This month we are pleased to present, as part of our Biology of Aging series, an interview with Dr. Caleb Finch, a world-renowned gerontologist. Dr. Finch has received most of the major awards in biogerontology, and since 1984, has directed the US National Institute of Aging funded, Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Probably one of Dr. Finch's most significant discoveries was that the brain makes messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for several inflammatory mediators, known as complement factors, that were previously believed to be absent from the brain. In addition, he disproved a longstanding belief that the activity of mRNAs globally decreases with increasing age.

Dr. Finch's current research is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of aging in the brain, and the selectivity of neurodegeneration. His research team is analyzing the transcriptional control, in the brain, of complement factors and other mRNAs that are known to change during aging and with neurodegenerative disease. I was afforded the opportunity to ask Dr. Finch some questions regarding his recent research and major developments in the field of aging.