Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Tony Wyss-Coray (Neurology & Neurological Sciences) and Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry)
Research Title: Decoding the Blood-Brain Barrier Glycocalyx in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease
Research Description: The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a highly specialized vascular network that protects the brain from neurotoxic factors and maintains brain homeostasis. Lining the luminal surface of the BBB is a substantial layer of glycans, known as the glycocalyx, whose contributions to BBB integrity are poorly understood. Glycocalyx dysregulation has also been implicated in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting that aberrations in this layer may contribute to neurovascular dysfunction and, consequently, poor brain health in these states. Sophia proposes to leverage cutting-edge technologies merged from the fields of neuroscience and glycobiology to make fundamental discoveries about the role of the glycocalyx in supporting BBB function and in neurodegeneration.